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As Lloyd reported last month, Tesla is already taking orders for installation of the Tesla solar roof.

Tesla makes it so easy too. You can put a deposit down with a solar roof ordering system that requires only two inputs:

  • which tile style do you want? (the "Tuscan" pictured here, and the "Slate" have later availability dates), and
  • how many powerwall battery systems do you need?
  • Add credit card information and wait. Tesla will get the permits and send an installation team to build an entirely new roof…that is, someday when the production has ramped up and they have found and hired enough installation teams.

    The uncertainty didn’t hold people back though. Within a couple weeks, Tesla sold out the entire first year’s installation capacity. That means a lot of people who want a solar roof will be happy to hear that the project is one step closer to reality.

    The warranty and specifications snapshot Lloyd showed us in May already boasted that the Tesla solar roof would attain the highest "Class A UL 790 Fire rating." The posting of the Roofing assembly Class A certification (dated 25May 2017), and the Building-integrated Photovoltaic Modules and Panels (dated 21 June 2017) completes a necessary step in order get permits. It should also clear hurdles to ramping up manufacturing, now that the product specifications achieving the certification are established.

    The details made available in the UL certificates also shed more light on the many mysteries lurking behind an order – say for 1 smooth roof with 1 powerwall, for example. The fact that only an estimated 40% of the roof will consist of shingles with embedded photovoltaic cells makes the ‘infinity’ guarantee more interesting — replacing the moisture resistant underlayer and less than half of the shingles could be a significant improvement over a standard roof replacement when the limited warranty on power generation and weather tightness expires after 30 years.

    The certifications also outline the precise construction standards – from the butt joint spacing to the electrical specifications – for anyone interested in diving deep into the details. Electrek pulled the full documentation and reports that each solar panel has a 6 watt maximum power; there are two cells per shingle, so they conclude that 20 to 25 shingles provide equivalent power to a standard solar panel.

    Even with this much detail coming to light, the forums remain rife with questions, including Lloyd’s key concern about how these shingles will be wired. It seems we will have to wait still for more proof in the pudding.

    Full disclosure: the author works with UL, but not in the area of product certifications. All information in this article is from public sources.