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Posted: September 06, 2016

SolarCity wants 'solar shingles' on 5 million more roofs

By Ben Lawson

SolarCity wants to persuade 5 million American households to replace their roofs with solar-energy shingles.

Instead of installing panels on top of an existing roof, the company is working on "solar shingles" that would replace a home's roof and absorb solar energy.

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About 1 million Americans have solar panels on their homes, so adding an additional 5 million to that list would be quite the accomplishment.

But the company seems to think the solar shingles can fix some of the biggest problems associated with solar energy.

Elon Musk, the company's chairman, said the solar roofing looks better and lasts longer than normal roofing.

And Musk said installing or replacing the solar shingles shouldn't be much different than when it is for those who use regular roofing materials.

But the company will still need to keep costs down if it wants to see mainstream adoption.

The Dow Chemical Company recently had to discontinue its line of solar shingles because the product wasn't selling -- likely because they were more expensive and less efficient than typical solar panels.

SolarCity isn't talking about the price or energy output of its shingles yet.

Right now, it's in the middle of a merger with Tesla Motors, which could open up the option to package the solar shingles with Tesla products such as the home battery. That could make the adoption process for solar roofing easier and cheaper.


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