Tesla is planning to ramp up installation of its new solar roof, but it needs to figure out a way to reduce installation time.
Now a new patent shows a possible solution by producing and installing solar roof tiles in jointed groups.
At Tesla’s 2019 shareholder’s meeting earlier this year, CEO Elon Musk said Tesla was still working on longevity testing for the new version of its solar roof tiles, Solar Roof V3, and that they are now installing the solar product in 8 states.
The CEO also boasted about the price of the Solar Roof V3 being equivalent to a shingle roof plus electric bill.
The installation is still a big part of the cost and Tesla has been working on making the process simpler in order to reduce the cost.
When first launching the new product, Tesla said that it should take roughly the same time to install as a tile roof installation, which is typically 5-7 days.
Earlier this year, we reported that Tesla Solar Roof installations were still taking about two weeks.
Now Tesla has filed for a patent called ‘Inter-tile support for solar roof tile’, which describes a way to create a joint between the tiles.
“The roof module can include at least a first photovoltaic roof tile, a second photovoltaic roof tile positioned adjacent to the first photovoltaic roof tile, and a spacer coupled to and positioned between the first and second photovoltaic roof tiles. The spacer is configured to facilitate a semi-rigid joint between the first and second photovoltaic roof tiles.”
In the patent application, the company writes that it could manufacture and install a group of tiles together using the “semi-rigid joint”:
“To facilitate scalable production and easy installation of PV roof tiles, a group of tiles can be fabricated together and jointed in a rigid or semi-rigid way. Carefully designed spacers inserted between adjacent tiles are needed to facilitate the jointing of adjacent PV roof tiles.
Earlier this summer, Electrek released a first look at Tesla’s V3 solar roof tile technology with custom fittings and the first real Tesla Solar Roof quote. The price was shockingly high, but Tesla argues that it’s worth it when adding the electricity savings over time.
Last month, Musk said that Tesla plans on ramping up Solar Roof Tile production to 1,000 roofs per week by the end of the year.
If you plan on producing 1,000 solar roofs per week, you need to be able to install 1,000 solar roofs per week.
I don’t think Tesla has anywhere near that capacity right now, especially if it still takes two weeks to install one roof.
Hopefully, a method like this could save them a lot of time, but I am still very skeptical of this ” 1,000 solar roofs per week” figure.
I’d love to be proven wrong though because we definitely need to accelerate solar deployment.