Elon Musk has shown plenty of times in the past that he’s not afraid to go a bit outside the box – or even a bit more. His latest stint came up during a meeting with SolarCity’s investors, where he announced plans to make a solar roof. No, not a roof with solar panels, a roof made of solar panels. According to him, the roof “looks way better” and “lasts far longer than a normal roof.”

SolarCity wants to reinvent the concept of a solar roof, and design a roof made from solar panels, not fitted with solar panels, as seen above. Image in Creative Commons via Wikipedia.

The roof would be integrated with Tesla’s house battery system, allowing the roof to store energy for a longer time. This kind of integration is why Musk has been pushing for a merger between Tesla and SolarCity in the first place. New panel installations have been declining for SolarCity and many other companies in the US, so they hope to target a new class of consumers altogether: people who want to install a new roof.

“There is a huge market segment that is currently inaccessible to SolarCity,” Musk said. The company says there are 5 million roof replacements in the US alone every year.

Of course, a meeting with investors isn’t exactly a public announcement, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting. There was not much insight as to how the system would work, but Musk said that users will be able to customize their own design. According to Engadget, SolarCity’s Peter Rive says the company only started talking about roofing “a couple of weeks ago,” but it’s also going to be a key part of a ramp-up in production around the second quarter of 2017.


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