Power from the top: Elon Musk wants to make roofs solar

Elon Musk thinking solar roofs

We’ve all seen solar panels on roofs. Maybe they’re to heat a pool or provide extra energy to the home from the sun. Often, they look like extremely shiny black panels fastened to a roof. Not terribly aesthetically pleasing, but functional.

Entrepreneur and high-tech investor Elon Musk, of Tesla fame, wants to take the solar roof panel idea a step further through SolarCity, a company his Tesla company is in the process of buying in a $2.6 billion stock offer agreed upon by both companies, now awaiting approval.

The idea is to make roofs out of solar cells rather than placing solar panels atop an existing roof. Musk noted that people install millions of new roofs every year, so when they’re looking for a replacement they should embrace solar power in the process. Musk wants the cells to be able to be customized for design purposes, letting the homeowners have options like they do with roofing materials now. It would make solar cells a core housing component rather than just an add-on, giving people the choice to go solar when building a home or securing a new roof.

The new solar cell roof will most likely be more expensive, but if Musk and SolarCity can come up with a way to bring down heating and cooling costs for consumers, he should have a winning plan. The solar cells haven’t hit production yet and may not until mid-2017, so we may not know the real plan until we hear more details next year. Leave it to Musk to keep pushing the envelope of renewable energies.

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