Tesla hopes to gain traction for its new Solar Roof by installing the system on its employees' homes, according to TechCrunch.
Much like how the company is rolling out its Model 3 vehicles, the move allows Tesla to continue tests and observations of the first-generation product. Tesla's co-founder and CEO, Elon Musk, said he and co-founder JB Straubel have the roof system on their homes.
The roof will cost an average of $21.85 per square foot, which the company says is less than the cost of a conventional roof over its expected 30-year lifetime.
Details about Tesla's shingle-based Solar Roof system have been slow in coming since the company revealed the product last year.
The tiles received a Class A roofing product classification from Underwriters Laboratories in June, which is expected to accelerate permitting and speed up adoption in the market.
Still, cost will be a major barrier to uptake. Musk anticipates that the average consumer would need to cover about 40% of their roof in photovoltaic shingles and the rest in coordinated, non-active shingles supplied by the company, in order for an installation to be effective. For an 1,800-square-foot home near Fresno, CA, the roof system and companion battery storage pack could cost up to $59,100, Inverse reported, noting that tax credits are applicable through 2021 and perhaps beyond.
An increase in solar mandates could spur greater use and lead to lower costs over time.
So far, however, only a handful of U.S. cities require rooftop solar panels on houses, with all but one of those cities in California. More cities are expected to follow suit, as interest in the technology and the addition of more rooftop solar companies make waves in the market.
Though residential solar is expected to contract this year, the number of residential installations is expected to quadruple to nearly 4 million homes by 2020 as major installers shift their business models from leasing systems to selling them.