Elon Musk teases plans for a solar roof that will be 'beautiful and sustainable'

by Kim Megson | 16 Aug 2016

Billionaire inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk has teased his latest innovation: a customisable roof with integrated solar panels.

Two of the billionaire’s companies – electric motor company Tesla and green energy provider SolarCity – are currently undergoing a merger, and the solar roof would be developed by the united firm.

Speaking about this move on an earnings call for SolarCity, Musk elaborated on his plans for the release.

"It's a solar roof as opposed to a module on a roof," he said. "I think this is really a fundamental part of achieving differentiated product strategy, where you have a beautiful roof. It's not a thing on the roof. It is the roof, which is a quite difficult engineering challenge and not something that is available anywhere else."

Musk revealed that solar power capabilities will be built into the roof, with energy stored using an integrated battery unit similar to Tesla’s rechargeable lithium-ion Powerwall product. More details are set to be released by the end of the year if the merger is completed as planned.

While most of the conversation around Musk’s solar roof has focused on its implications for creating sustainable homes, the technology also has repercussions for architects working in the leisure sector.

Musk said the equipment will be scalable and customers will be given custom preferences. The kit will then be sent directly to site for installation. As such, the technology could one day be used for almost any building; from museums to hotels, stadiums and sports centres. It could see developers shifting away from the current trend of placing individual solar panels on top of a pre-existing roof structure.

Last month Musk published an updated masterplan for Tesla on the company’s website in which he outlined his intention to “accelerate the advent of sustainable energy, so that we can imagine far into the future and life is still good.”

“We must at some point achieve a sustainable energy economy or we will run out of fossil fuels to burn and civilization will collapse,” he said. “Given that we must get off fossil fuels anyway and that virtually all scientists agree that dramatically increasing atmospheric and oceanic carbon levels is insane, the faster we achieve sustainability, the better.”

Musk is also known for his engineering proposals, such as for super-fast transport system called Hyperloop. Recently Hyperloop One, one of several companies developing the technology, signed a deal with Arup, AECOM and Bjarke Ingels Group to realise the concept.

Elon Musk  solar roof  Tesla  SolarCity  green energy  sustainability  architecture  design  leisure 
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Billionaire inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk has teased his latest innovation: a customisable roof with integrated solar panels. Two of the billionaire’s companies – electric motor company Tesla and green energy provider SolarCity – are currently undergoing a merger, and the solar roof would be developed by the united firm. Speaking about this move on an earnings call for SolarCity, Musk elaborated on his plans for the release. "It's a
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Elon Musk wants to 'accelerate the advent of sustainable energy' / Heisenberg Media
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