Tesla is testing a new version of its solar tiles, but will it arrive in Europe?

Tesla is said to have developed an improved version of its solar tiles. According to well-informed sources, version 3.5 of the concept – called Solar Roof in the United States – is currently being tested on the roofs of a few company employees. Unveiled in 2016 and put on the market in 2017, the product is still not available in Europe today despite repeated tweets from Elon Musk announcing its upcoming arrival on the “old continent”.

Since their launch in 2016, the solar tiles of Tesla have not had the success hoped for and announced by Elon Musk. At first glance, however, they have many advantages, not the least of which is the aesthetic aspect.

They look like traditional slates or tiles and when they cover the entire roof, as is the purpose of the product, the visual effect is much more “beautiful” than that presented by a roof fitted with traditional photovoltaic panels. In addition, the company claims superior resistance to trade tiles.

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Ignition delays

Initially reserved for a privileged few, employees or customers of the brand, the Solar-Roof had only been placed on a small number of roofs during the first three years of marketing.

In question, a long installation, often spread over more than two weeks and a lack of quality, but above all of profitability, denounced by the first customers. A famous “ignition delay” we could say… but isn’t that a shame for an electric car manufacturer?

The launch in October 2019 of a 3e version (V3) and the announcement on this occasion of a significant price drop were supposed to “boost” sales of the solar roof. But since then, the manufacturer has not officially communicated any information as to the turnover generated by the product.

When announcing its quarterly and annual results, the company does not in fact distinguish the sales of Solar Roof from those of other solar installations, the vast majority of which it produces with conventional photovoltaic panels.

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Suspend installations and test a new version

Last year, Tesla added to its range of solar tiles a more powerful model, with better conversion efficiency. But it seems that the expected results are still not there.

Last July, the Electrek site, which is generally well informed about what is going on with the manufacturer of legendary electric models, revealed that in the second quarter of this year, it had installed 2.5 MW of solar tiles in the United States, the only country where they are marketed. That’s less than 100 rooftops per month…a far cry from the goal of 1,000 Solar Roofs per week trumpeted by Elon Musk in 2019.

The company seems to want to continue improving its product since – still according to Electrek – it has suspended the planning of new installations, while a 3.5 version is currently being tested with a few employees of the company.

At this stage no data has yet filtered on the characteristics that this new model would have, but Electrek understands that the manufacturer continues to emphasize the durability and ease of installation of the Solar Roof.

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Meanwhile, European manufacturers are rubbing their hands

All this does not plead in favor of the imminent arrival of Tesla’s solar tiles in Europe. Their marketing with us was initially planned for 2018, before being postponed several times. In August 2019, Elon Musk had already committed in a tweet – his favorite mode of expression – to launch the product on our continent in 2020.

But it is clear, like Sister Anne, that we saw nothing coming. Of course, we have known for a long time that we should never again trust the predictions and promises of the richest man in the world.

Never mind. Note that several European (and French) manufacturers also manufacture and market solar tiles and that these are quality products. This is notably the case of Edilians, from the French SunStyleDyaqua, Novi-case or the Hungarian company Terràn.

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