It’s another evolutionary step on the road to what Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk sees as a future powered mostly by Tesla – from solar tiles, to Powerwall battery storage and a Tesla electric vehicle in every garage.

Tesla says solar tiles complete its plan to become a sun to vehicle energy company.

How does Powerwall 2 stack up?

Powerwall 2 is double the capacity of the original 7 kWh Powerwall system released to the Australian market about nine months ago. It is more in line with what a household with a 5 kilowatt solar system would be after.

Image of a brown box on a wall It would be well placed for greater interaction with the grid in terms of selecting when to charge or discharge. Assuming it was $10,000 AUD installed (based on proposed US pricing) you could charge or discharge with a price differential of 20c/kWh, (based on the difference between peak and off peak tariffs or cost of solar energy) you are probably looking at about a thirteen year payback. That still doesn’t stack up as you would want a seven year to ten year payback at least to meet product warranties.

That said, there will be some households where the price differential or usage pattern could achieve a quicker payback and therefore now make this the first battery to potentially achieve grid cost parity.

Powerwall 2 is expected to hit the Australian market next year.

Solar tiles

Tesla’s new solar tiles are impressive. Not only functional, they also look cool and what they do well, is the integration into the roof without compromising style.

Tesla says the top of the tile is made from textured glass and allows sunlight to pass through from above into a standard solar cell. And they claim with almost no loss in efficiency.

Image of Elon Musk showing a solar roof tile

The benefit of solar tiles is the ability to cover your whole roof surface with them. However, they are much less efficient than standard rooftop solar PV systems.

For Queensland though, it seems tiled rooves are in the minority and more so as you move away from the south east corner. Compared to iron or colorbond rooves, roof tiles are more expensive and require additional installation bracing and therefore costs to meet construction codes in cyclone prone areas.

That said, solar tiles definitely increase the viability of going off grid or improving self-reliance. The tiles can be more aesthetically pleasing, and could help drive costs down over time as it avoids the need to pay for both a roof and solar panels to get a solar PV system.

It’s unlikely Tesla’s solar tiles are going to displace traditional solar PV systems any time soon. However like all Tesla products, it’s potentially a “disruptive” product and could well be a game changer.

As to their availability in Queensland and whether they could be used on houses and comply with the cyclone building standards in the tropics – well that remains to be seen.

It is early days but Tesla’s solar tiles are definitely one for your watch list.

We’re interested in your feedback. If you would like to comment on this article please contact talkingenergy@ergon.com.au