A game-changer for residential solar power generation

The sun is able to generate enough energy in an hour to power your home for a year. The hard part is finding a way to capture, store and put that energy to use in an economical and aesthetically-pleasing way.

Alloy Homes has been a leader in the design and construction of energy-efficient homes in the Calgary market, and we’ve completed a number of projects using rooftop solar panels to offset some or most of the power they’ll use day to day. The big issue with solar panels to date has been that they’re large and relatively unsightly. It’s a challenge to integrate them seamlessly into the architecture of a home.  The best strategy has been to minimize their visual impact by concealing them from high visibility areas. 

But what if we didn’t need to compromise the aesthetic of our homes to harness the power of the sun?  It seems that the industrial innovators at Tesla may have come up with just the right approach, and it’s an idea that we’re really excited about.

Tesla has been trying to answer the question of how to accelerate the global move towards sustainable forms of energy production. Up until now they've done that by making stylish and high quality electric cars that appeal to average consumers rather than the green market. Last month Tesla announced the launch of a new line of solar roof tiles and a shift towards the home solar market. In collaboration with SolarCity, Tesla is seeking to redefine what solar panels can do in the future the same way they did with cars. 

Elon Musk, Tesla's chief executive, made the announcement at Universal Studios in Los Angeles where homes that had previously been used for the show Desperate Housewives had their old-style standard roof shingles swapped out for Tesla’s new photovoltaic solar roof tiles. At the product launch Musk noted that solar roof tiles are tougher and longer lasting than conventional roofing materials, look better, offer better insulation and cost less than a normal roof and electricity. The tiles are made in four styles that resemble traditional roofing materials: Textured glass, slate glass, smooth glass and Tuscan glass. They’re made with glass because of its durability and transparency use hydrographic printing to achieve a very realistic texture that seems opaque from oblique angles but transparent from above as the sun strikes the tiles.   

It’s hoped that the new roof tiles will come to market by the end of 2017. No word yet on availability in the Canadian market but we’ll be first in line when they’re ready.

Alloy has incorporated green features including solar panels into several of our homes. Read more here.

Images courtesy of Tesla.

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