Following its acquisition of SolarCity, Elon Musk says Tesla will start work on a new type of solar panel which doesn't just attach to roofs, but is the roof. Musk, the chairman of SolarCity and chief executive of electric car maker Tesla, sat on SolarCity's conference call for its second quarter financial results on 9 August.
During the call, SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive said the company had two new products on the way, which would arrive before the end of the year, close to when the merger with Tesla is expected to be completed.
Musk then jumped in and described one of the new products as "a solar roof, as opposed to modules on a roof."
The Tesla boss added: "I think this is really a fundamental part of achieving differentiated product strategy, where you have a beautiful roof. It's not a thing on the roof. It is the roof."
This will be welcome news to homeowners who want to produce their own electricity, but are conscious of the negative aesthetic effect solar panels have on most buildings. The new products will not impact on SolarCity's current solar panel business, the company said.
Musk says he sees a "huge" market for the new solar roof, with Rive adding that that five million new house roofs are installed every year in the US alone. SolarCity sees a near future where homeowners looking at replacing their roof would have the option of buying one with solar panels embedded into it.
Although it was not explicitly mentioned on the call, SolarCity and Tesla could also partner with building companies to have the roofs installed on new-builds, too. This looks like a likely part of Musk's plan to bring Tesla and SolarCity together, producing one energy company which provides power for your home and car, as well as a means of producing the electricity.