Tesla recently obtained a patent for the Solar Roof that was unveiled in late 2016 and is now slowly entering the market.

Tesla Solar Roof drawings

Tesla Solar Roof drawings

The Solar Roof is based on the idea of making the roof from solar tiles, instead of retrofitting conventional roof with solar panels.

Overall costs of the roof and solar are expected to be lower for new homes (or those which require a new roof) and it does have much improved visual appeal.

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The Solar Roof is fully integrated to the building. Moreover, from the ground level, it looks like normal tiles, while from the sky it looks like  solar cells. Despite that, efficiency is just 2% lower than in the case of standard solar panels. Interesting is that the cells are connected in the system through small connectors.

Tesla happened to be the first to commercialize the solar tiles and it's not a trivial achievement, according to the patent application.

The solar cells are produced by Panasonic, who is Tesla's partner at the Gigafactory 2 in New York.

Tesla Solar Roof drawings

Tesla Solar Roof drawings

"“A solar panel includes a backsheet layer, a bottom encapsulant layer adjacent the backsheet layer, a plurality of photovoltaic cells adjacent the bottom encapsulant layer, a top encapsulant layer adjacent the plurality of photovoltaic cells having a plurality of louvers constructed therein to block side view of the plurality of photovoltaic cells, and a top layer adjacent the top encapsulant layer.”"

Tesla Solar Roof drawings

Tesla Solar Roof drawings

Source: Tesla Solar Roof Tile, Electrek