Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced recently that his company was developing solar shingles to replace traditional shingles, which is actually really freaking cool. That announcement became even more awesome when he revealed this week that new shingles might actually cost less than regular ones.
“The basic proposition would be ‘Would you like a roof that looks better than a normal roof, lasts twice as long, costs less and by the way generates electricity?’” said Musk, according to Bloomberg. “It’s like, why would you get anything else?”
While the shingles will certainly cost a premium when first available, Musk hopes that more affordable shipping costs for a product, one which weighs significantly less than traditional shingles, will bring down the price considerably.
Much of the cost savings Musk is anticipating comes from shipping the materials. Traditional roofing materials are brittle, heavy, and bulky. Shipping costs are high, as is the quantity lost to breakage. The new tempered-glass roof tiles, engineered in Tesla’s new automotive and solar glass division, weigh as little as a fifth of current products and are considerably easier to ship, Musk said.
It’s a bold claim from Musk, but energy-generating shingles that are cheaper than traditional ones could go a long way to revolutionize smart, energy efficient homes.