Rachel Riddle – Week 10
I believe the transformation towards sustainability goes beyond implementing current responses to global change, and the more fundamental and innovative long-term transformations are needed in order to move towards a lasting sustainable future. This includes a significant shift in the way conventional structures are built in order to reduce their impact on the environment, and I believe implementing fully-integrated solar roof systems into houses is a step in the right direction.
Many people are hesitant to incorporate solar energy into their homes because of the cost, capacity factor, and aesthetic appeal; however, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk unveiled a range of textured glass tiles, styles including Tuscan, Slate, Smooth, and Textured, that include solar cells that are indistinguishable from traditional roofs. The tiles have a special coating, series of micro louvers, on them that prevents viewers from seeing the solar cells at ground level, while the passage of sunlight is still permitted from overhead. These tiles will also be integrated into Tesla’s Powerwall 2 home solar battery solving the capacity factor issue by producing all of the energy needed for one day, and “Musk claims that the solar roof could cost less than than the installation of a traditional roof combined with the cost of electricity from the grid (archdaily).”
My immediate concern with these tiles is the strength aspect, and I’m curious to see how they will respond to the elements, especially hail and snow. Since Tesla is known for being extremely innovative and technologically advanced, it would be interesting to see if they could incorporate technology to better respond to weather and climate like adding heat to melt snow for example. After some further research, I found that Tesla performed a drop test, and Musk stated that the fully-integrated solar roof system is “never going to wear out, it’s made of quartz, it has a quasi-infinite lifetime (Wired).” I find it extremely exciting that Tesla has created such an appealing, affordable, and seamlessly integrated solar roof that I believe will become irresistible in the future hopefully resulting in every roof incorporating solar power.