Over the weekend Tesla quietly added a new section to its site under its Energy channel, "Solar Panels." This isn’t the much ballyhooed Solar Roof and tiles that Tesla unveiled last October, but rather Tesla’s lower-profile approach to solar that seeks to blend solar panels onto a home’s rooftop.
The company already is taking custom quotes for the new offering. It’s also expected to start taking quotes for its Solar Roof starting in April as well. That latter product, however, is designed as a full roofing replacement and thus far it’s just taking pre-order information for the Solar Roof, as it’s done ahead of its other product launches.
The new solar system product uses a totally black solar panel that will be built by Panasonic for Tesla at the SolarCity solar panel Gigafactory in Buffalo, NY. Tesla, which owns SolarCity, partnered with Panasonic to produce its solar panels at the facility. The product also features a low-profile racking and mounting system. Altogether it’s designed to make the solar panels blend into an existing rooftop more directly than many of the systems out there.
The change to the site was first observed by the blog Electrek, which talked with Tesla about the new offering. The company told the blog that the solar panels will be used exclusively for Tesla rooftop installations. It also said that the panels won’t be made available to third-party installers.
The new solar array also is displayed on SolarCity’s site. That Tesla subsidiary, the largest rooftop solar installer in the US, currently uses a variety of solar panels for its residential and commercial solar rooftop installations. “Tesla told Electrek that once the new Panasonic module will go into production at Gigafactory 2 this summer, they will be used for all new residential projects going forward,” wrote Electrek’s Fred Lambert. But the company later clarified that will make somer other solar panels available to customers if they want them.
The solar panels are expected to be 325-watt panels, Lambert said. He observed that Panasonic’s other panels boast a 21.76 percent efficiency rating.
Panasonic isn’t the only solar panel manufacturer to make residential-specific solar panels, however. For instance, SunPower offers residential solar panels that are have black spaces between their solar cells. It’s more efficient solar panels have lighter spots between the cells that help reflect more light onto the cells, increasing their efficiency.Tweet