On October 28, Tesla unveiled its new solar roof tiles. Few of us in attendance, if any, realized the solar roofing tiles were actual functional solar panels until Elon Musk said so. Sure, it’s a neat trick, but what’s the big deal? Why does it matter that Tesla is making a fashion statement when the point is green power and a future where we aren’t so dependent on fossil fuels?
Some people think this is nothing new, because of other similar previous projects, including Dow Chemical’s canned solar shingle project. Others are wary of Tesla’s ability to sway consumers with an expensive solution in terms of up-front installation costs. Still others aren’t clear on Tesla’s goals with this product, or how it fits into the company’s overall strategy relative to its electric vehicles.