Innovation News: Solar Panels That Don’t Stick Out

By Nemo Jin

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"This solar panels help the environment, saves some money—and litters your roof with bulky metal boxes. That’s the dilemma home-solar-panel buyers have faced for years. Tesla’s response: the Solar Roof, a series of tiles designed to blend together while also harnessing the power of the sun. The product line, which will be available next year, is a collaboration between Tesla and SolarCity, a longtime provider of traditional solar panels. (The former is set to acquire the latter.) And although pricing information has not yet been released, SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive is optimistic about Solar Roof’s potential. “It’s addressing a new segment,” he says, referring to the 5 million Americans who install new roofs each year, some of whom might want to go solar." (from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJm-JA47NKc)

How Solar Works

"Every day, light hits your roof's solar panels with photons (particles of sunlight). The solar panel converts those photons into electrons of direct current ("DC") electricity. The electrons flow out of the solar panel and into an inverter and other electrical safety devices. The inverter converts that "DC" power (commonly used in batteries) into alternating current or "AC" power. AC power is the kind of electrical that your television, computer, and toasters use when plugged into the wall outlet. (from http://www.gosolarcalifornia.ca.gov/solar_basics/how.php)

A net energy meter keeps track of the all the power your solar system produces. Any solar energy that you do not use simultaneous with production will go back into the electrical grid through the meter. At night or on cloudy days, when your system is not producing more than your building needs, you will consume electricity from the grid as normal. Your utility will bill you for the "net" consumption for any given billing period and provide you with a dollar credit for any excess during a given period. You can carry your bill credit forward for up to a year."

So, there are 3 parts in this solar roof, the outside one is made up of toughened glass. In the middle, the material is called high-efficiency panel. The inside part is nothing special. Solar roof has a high hardness.`

    

However, the problem is that there is no information available for the price of Tesla’s solar roof and the product is not currently on the market, it is expected in 2017.

Questions about this invention: 

1. What is the price (material, hardness)?

2. How is the roof installed?

3. If the solar panels don't work, will the serviceman get to the house rapidly and repair it?

4. If the solar panels don't work, can the system provides some emergency standby power instead?