Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has unveiled a line of great-looking, high-design solar roof tiles. He believes the beautiful design will help lure more people into solar energy.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the new design was unveiled during an event at the Universal Studios Hollywood backlot. The new solar roof designs was a joint effort from Tesla and SolarCity.
"The key is to make solar look good," Musk said. "We want you to call your neighbors over and say, 'Check out this sweet roof'."
The chairman of SolarCity and CEO of Tesla is looking to build a personal alternative energy ecosystem that will be connected by software and harmonious design. The alternative energy ecosystem will all be under the Tesla brand name.
The concept of putting solar panels on roofs is not a new idea. Other companies have already attempted this and the results have been mixed, with Dow Chemical Co., recently phasing out its solar shingle business.
Scott McIntyre, the head of a Florida company that installs solar roof systems for commercial buildings, said Musk's announcement is a "marketing ploy to try to increase sales. While I applaud Mr. Musk and have great admiration for him and his technologies, integrated roofs are not particularly new," he said.
McIntyre adds Telsa and SolarCity is basically trying to make solar roof systems "aesthetically attractive." He said that Musk knows how to create hype.
Quartz reports that Musk appears to be using Apple's strategy in transforming the PC market for their solar roof. Apple made PCs a coveted status object by making it aesthetically appealing, similar to what SolarCity is doing now.
Musk said they want the solar roofs to look better and last longer than the conventional roof that has solar panels attached. He also said he wants his solar roofs to provide better insulation and cost less.
The solar shingles will start rolling by summer, Musk said. They will start in California, the largest U.S. solar market.