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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Elon Musk goes into solar power

Bob Pritchard's Column 

The new Tesla Solar Roof went on sale last Wednesday and Elon Musk’s enthusiasm for the product is amazing, rivalling that of the new Tesla, his Mars colonization, the Hyperloop, AI or his Boring Tunnels company.
 
Musk has always been a huge supporter of solar power. He likes to point out that humanity has a compelling alternative to fossil-fuel energy: the giant fusion reactor in the sky that bathes the planet every day with free power.  Solar also fits into his master plan, which involves eliminating greenhouse-gas emissions by electrifying transportation; backing up the biosphere with SpaceX, which would make humanity a multi-planetary species; and powering it all with solar energy.
 
If you are building a new property or replacing your roof, why not replace it with a roof that generates power and saves you money over the long haul? If you stay in your house for 25 – 30 years you’ll replace your roof at least once. With a traditional roof, at a cost of about $US10,000, you maintain the value of the home, but you don’t necessarily add much to it. The Solar Roof should last  at least twice as long as a traditional roof and it will reduce your electricity costs and, paired with a Tesla Powerpack battery, provide you with backup energy.
 
The up-front costs are high, but a Solar Roof could net a homeowner tens of thousands of dollars over 30 years.  In addition, Musk’s solar roofs look great with four different tile choices for the Solar Roof by 2018. Last week, Musk said for far too long, we’ve been deprived of rooftop beauty  and that Tesla had struggled to find sufficiently beautiful roofs upon which to base its designs.
 
The Solar Roof could be financed through a homeowner’s mortgage (adding, say $US20,000 for an effectively 30-year net savings of around $US5,000, making the roof effectively free). If the home’s value rises in line with the rate of inflation it will become part of an appreciating asset, further enhancing the homeowner’s bottom line and net worth.  In fact, outside of financial instruments, there really aren’t that many ways to buy products that will actually be worth more tomorrow than today.
 
There will be some depreciation with a Solar Roof, and maintenance costs could be a factor. But when the real-estate value of the property is taken into account, a homeowner should come out well ahead.  As Musk said “ In the future we want to look around and see beautiful roofs that draw energy from the sun.”
 
Sounds good to me.
 
The use of solar energy has not been opened up because the oil industry does not own the s

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