Tesla powering ahead with new solar panel project

10 Apr 2017

Tesla partnered with Panasonic for this solar panel project. Image: Tesla

More than just a car manufacturer, Tesla’s interest in renewable energy sees the company’s solar panel roof project finally show its face.

Harnessing the sun’s energy is a no-brainer, providing customers with affordable, renewable energy to replace humanity’s damaging dependence on fossil fuels.

Tesla, the Elon Musk company best known for its electric vehicles, is one of the more pioneering leaders in this field.

Spending $2.8bn last year on SolarCity, the biggest installer of solar panels in the US, Tesla’s intentions have been clear for some time now.

Today (10 April), the company finally revealed its plans in this space: a new series of solar panels specifically designed to be fitted onto existing roofs, with the help of manufacturer Panasonic.

Tesla’s previous offering in this field was standard solar panels that needed structural renovations to hold them above customers’ roofs. These new panels, however, require far less effort to install, and look slightly different to the predecessors. They are due to be released on the market soon.

Tesla told Electrek that once the new Panasonic module goes into production at Gigafactory 2 this summer, it will be used for all new residential projects going forward.

The automaker’s interest in solar saw it follow up the SolarCity deal with news of an island entirely powered by the sun last year.

The island of Ta’u in American Samoa, located nearly 6,500km off the US west coast, is as remote as they come, with only 600 residents.

Due to its isolation, the islanders relied on diesel fuel to power a number of generators to keep electricity flowing.

However, following a massive construction effort in the space of just one year, the Tesla purchase has managed to completely eliminate Ta’u’s reliance on imported fossil fuels in favour of a 1.4MW solar energy generation facility.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic