Tesla began manufacturing solar tiles for solar roof installations in December at the Buffalo, New York, factory that it acquired when it purchased SolarCity in 2016, and the electric vehicle and energy company said it will start installing the tiles on the homes of reservation holders today.
Up until now, solar roof installations have only been available for Tesla employees. In an email, Tesla said that it had completed its pilot installation program, which helped to validate reliability and weatherization testing.
Tesla opened up reservations to the general public last May, which required a $1,000 deposit. The company says it will survey, design, and identify permitting issues for each customer individually, so roof costs will vary widely. In May, SolarCity co-founder and CTO Peter Rive said that inactive tiles would cost about $11 per tile, and active (that is, solar) tiles would cost about $42 per tile. Tesla says it will optimize the mixture of inactive to active tiles based on the amount of sunlight each section of a roof will receive. The company estimated its solar roof to cost about $21.85 per square foot, if 35 percent of the panels are active and the rest are inactive.