Last year I read the book Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future. If you don't know about Elon Musk, I highly recommend the book which takes you from his childhood to today. It is a captivating story of arguably the most successful entrepreneur of his time for his transformation of the automotive and aerospace industries. Last year when Tesla announced that it would buy SolarCity which was highly indebted and burning cash; many analysts questioned the deal. But if you know Elon Musk (even just from the book), you would know never to bet against him. His ambition is inspiring. He wants to fuel the world with clean energy to save the planet; but if he fails, his escape plan is to send us to Mars (seriously). The vision Musk describes with the solar roof is the grand unification of Tesla's clean-energy ambitions, combining solar power, batteries, and electric cars. ”

“These are really the three legs of the stool for a sustainable energy future. Solar power going to a stationary battery pack so you have power at night, and then charging an electric vehicle … you can scale that to all the world’s demand.”

Taking orders today

Tesla began taking $1000 deposits for its new solar roof system, offering an “infinity” warranty for tiles that integrate solar power into roof coverings. Systems will begin installations in California in June and then will spread across the US later in the year.

The cost of a solar roof system is substantial and basically limited to those in search of a completely new roof. Roofing a 2,000 square-foot home in New York state — with 40 percent coverage of active solar tiles and battery backup for night-time use—would cost about $50,000 after federal tax credits and generate $64,000 in energy over 30 years, according to Tesla’s website calculator.

That's more expensive upfront than a typical roof, but less expensive than a typical roof with traditional solar. Plus the warranty is for the lifetime of your home.

“The pricing is better than I expected, better than everyone expected,” said Hugh Bromley, a solar analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance who had been skeptical about the potential market impact of the new product.

In the end, we won't be seeing every house with a Tesla roof in the near future, but we can all dream of that day. Hopefully the cost drops fast enough to make that dream a reality.

“File:Tesla Solar City Roof Tile.jpg” by Bnc319 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0