In this article Andrew Turvill investigates:


On 10th May 2017, Tesla announced that their solar roof tiles will be going on sale in the UK in  2018, with installations beginning in the U.S. next month. The tiles were announced in 2016 in conjunction with the launch of Tesla Powerwall, a battery unit that stores the energy from the solar panels. The Powerwall allows one to store solar energy and use it later to power the home. It can also provide an uninterrupted electric supply in the event of a power cut.


Elon Musk’s goal is to seamlessly integrate the electric car with a powerwall and solar roof to provide a solution that is “beautiful and affordable”.

Tesla consider that their glass solar tiles are so durable that they will be sold with a lifetime warranty. That is a warranty for the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first.

They are now taking refundable deposits of £800 to allow people to reserve a space in their order book for the new solar roof system. No pricing has been released and no systems would appear to have been installed in the UK to date.

The tiles will be available in four variants and of these the textured glass tile looks potentially to be a suitable alternative to a traditional slate roof.

Unlike some other arrangements for solar slates such as the Solar Century’s C21E (opposite) or the realistic looking GB-sol slate , it appears that the Tesla tiles can be installed right up to the edge of the roof, avoiding the need to leave a tile or slates margin around the edge of the array.


The system is designed with appearance in mind and one is likely to require a greater area of solar panels to create a similar output to that of regular solar panels to counter the fact that the solar cell only occupies part of the tile.

If  appearance is less of a consideration or space is at premium then a roof integrated system / built-in PV (BIPV) using an “all black” module to replace the tiles or slates may represent a more cost effective option, particularly for new-builds or when you are re-roofing. These blend particularly well with dark slate or concrete tile roofs.

When prices are released people will be able to make an informed judgement on the Tesla system and whether the costs can be justified by the claimed visual improvements.


Author: Andrew Turvill

Pictures courtesy of Tesla and Spirit Solar