Home > Home > Want solar panels but hate their look? Tesla…

Want solar panels but hate their look? Tesla announces low-profile panels

Why it matters to you

If solar panels are in your future, Tesla is developing a new, sleeker panel that blends into your roof.

Tesla boosted its solar catalog with new panels that blend into your roof with no visible hardware. The low-profile panels will be manufactured by Panasonic in Buffalo, New York, at Tesla’s Gigafactory 2 starting this summer, Tesla told Electrek. The new panels will be exclusively for Tesla’s distribution.

The panels are rated at 325 watts and will be in addition to, not a replacement for the 160- to 250-watt panels Tesla has available from other manufacturers. Full specifications are not yet available but Electrek cited other 325-watt panels Panasonic currently manufactures with 21.76 percent module efficiency ratings and 25-year power output warranties.

According to Tesla, the new panels will “exceed industry standards for durability and lifespan.”

Tesla’s new solar panels will achieve their sleeker, low-profile look with integrated front skirts. The skirts help conceal the panel mounting hardware so the whole installation does not draw attention to itself.

Old-style solar panels with their bulky, industrial appearance and time-consuming installation technologies gave Tesla’s Solar Systems Product Design team a ripe opportunity to rewrite the rule book for roof-top solar.

Daniel Flanigan, the team’s senior director, was a co-founder of Zep, a company SolarCity purchased before last year’s SolarCity acquisition by Tesla. Zep’s original team, many of whom still work with Flanigan, worked on mounting systems focused on faster, better looking, and less expensive solar panel system installations.

Tesla’s strategy in building a mega company around the concept of renewable energy has been in improving each of the component parts technically and aesthetically with a constant emphasis on cost efficiency. Tesla’s focus on aesthetics for solar panels plays well with what had previously been ugly, cumbersome solar boxes. The masterful aspect of the new panels is they not only look better than older models, they are also designed to ease and speed up installation.

Tesla wants to add solar energy harvesting to every home. The vision includes Tesla solar roofs announced last fall for new or replacement roofs and the low-profile panels for roofs that don’t need replacement to collect the sun’s energy. The further extension of the energy vision is connecting a Tesla Powerwall in every home to store the energy harvested by the solar roofs or panels.