On Monday, Tesla became the most valuable car company in America. The day before, the Californian company headed by Elon Musk unveiled a new “streamline” solar panel to continue its foray into the green energy market.
The slender panels are designed to be aesthetically innocuous and attract customers who would otherwise be put off by shingles or a large blue grid. To achieve the look, invisible mounting hardware and front array skirts allow the panels to appear to float upon the roof.
“I think this is really a fundamental part of achieving differentiated product strategy,” said Musk in Electrek.
Japanese tech giant Panasonic will manufacture the panels at their “Gigafactory 2″ in Buffalo, New York. As part of a deal with Tesla, Musk’s firm will be the only company allowed to use and sell the panels produced there. Tesla and Panasonic have an already established business partnership after the two worked together to produce batteries for Tesla’s electric cars.
The Powerwall from Tesla “seamlessly” integrates with the solar panel system. (Courtesy Tesla)
As for the panels, the well-disguised mounting system was originally developed by fellow Californian firm, Zep Solar. That company, however, was bought out by SolarCity who they themselves were purchased by Tesla. As reported by Techcrunch, Zep co-founder Daniel Flanigan has taken the role of Senior Director of Solar Systems Product Design in Tesla’s engineering department.
If you want an even more discreet solar panel, look, Tesla does that too. Solar panel shingles with textured glass span the whole roof, and like the new panels revealed last week, work with Tesla’s Powerwall battery to power homes “with a completely sustainable energy system.”