“It’s looking quite promising that a solar roof actually costs less than normal roof,” Elon Musk said at a shareholder meeting at which shareholders approved the Tesla/SolarCity merger with an 85% vote. “Before you even take the value of electricity into account.”
That “Before you even take the value…” part is a pretty big deal. In October when SolarCity’s solar roof tiles were unveiled, Musk said the cost would compete with comparable roofing tiles, once the value of the electricity they generate is taken into account.
At yesterday’s meeting Musk spoke about how Tesla is reducing costs by eliminating inefficiencies in an “incredibly inefficient” supply chain. And by reducing weight and increasing durability (with tempered glass which is less susceptible to damage) Tesla is able to package more tiles in less space. Those types of savings help offset the higher cost of solar roof tile materials and manufacturing.
It’s important to note though that when Musk compares the cost of solar roofing tiles to those for a “normal roof”, he’s not talking about inexpensive asphalt shingles. He’s comparing Solar City’s solution to similarly positioned traditional roofing materials like slate, clay, and terra cotta.