In 2016 Elon Musk and Tesla tried to change the way we see solar panels. The goal was to make them durable and stylish by making them smaller. 2 years later, there is not a lot of progress.
As an idea, the Solar Roofs are obviously great. You can get clean energy from solar panels, that you own, without having bulky and ugly devices installed on your roof. Many new solutions make the panels smaller or better integrated into the roof. But Tesla wanted to make roof tiles, that generate electricity. The concept is simple, and there is demand for such tech in the world, but manufacturing tiles to meet the demand appeared to be harder than Elon Musk thought.
It cost Tesla 2.6 billion dollars to buy SolarCity, a huge company experienced in solar panels, and two years later they could only ship the product to a few people. A product that has been delayed, required an upfront payment, and is very expensive compared to the competition.
They report that they want to test the Solar Roofs further to determine whether they are durable and perform well enough. But there are problems with shrinking technologies. Experts compare this, to shrinking pixels and transistors, it gets harder every time you try to reduce the size of transistors from 14nm to 10nm for example. It allows you though to do a lot more in the same space. Solar panels have similar issues and experts say that to mass produce panels so small, the way Tesla promises, they will need a lot engineers.
For now those tiles, are not cost effective, they are not the budget option for someone looking to reduce their energy bill. They are stylish tiles to decorate your roof, with the added benefit that they provide clean energy for your house, and they are durable to last up to 30 years. This will be ideal for many people, since some will just consider this as a decoration, an aesthetic add on to their house. But Elon Musk and his engineers still haven’t found a way to mass produce this technology. Hopefully they will, soon. I think that if we make renewable energy stylish, it will become more common and demand will increase.