Skip to main content

Startup’s solar roof is cheaper, more efficient, and easier to install than Tesla’s solar tiles

solar roof cheaper than tesla wr 6 2 17 1072x715
Image used with permission by copyright holder
The solar roofing competition is heating up, and one company in particular is looking to challenge Tesla head-on. Californian upstart Forward Labs has its own solar roof design, and not only is it cheaper than Tesla’s — it allegedly installs in half the time, too.

Technologically speaking, Forward Labs’s solar roof is slightly different than Tesla’s. The startup’s innovative design uses monocrystalline solar cells, which have a higher energy density than most other solar products. As such, these solar cells can achieve 19-watts per square foot compared to 11W per square foot for other solar cells.

Aesthetically, the overall design of the Forward Labs roof is notably different from Tesla’s as well. The Tesla roof is designed to mimic the classic rooftop shingle model, with each solar shingle made from three basic layers: a solar cell, a masking film, and a top layer of tempered glass. Conversely, Forward Labs’s design uses a single, fully-integrated standing-seam metal design with a similar tempered glass top layer.

While Tesla uses a a film to disguise the cells from onlookers (and pesky neighborhood associations), Forward Labs’ five-layer build comes with an “optimal chromatic cloaking” layer below the tempered glass. The roof is available in eight colors at the moment, however the chromatic layer means virtually any color is possible.

Forward Labs CEO, Zach Taylor, recently stated that his company’s solar roof will cost $8.50 per square foot for the roof (plus $3.25 per watt for the solar). And while many solar roofs can take nearly a week to install, the Forward Labs roof can be up and running in just a few days — or so the company claims. Most importantly, the final product will supposedly cost on average about one third less than Tesla’s solar roof.

Time will tell if these bold claims turn out to be true, but in the meantime, Forward Labs is currently taking preorders, and plans to launch the roof officially sometime in 2018.

This article was originally published with a photo of a house that did not have a solar roof. There are no photographs of Forward Labs’ solar roof at this time.

Editors' Recommendations

Dallon Adams
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Dallon Adams is a graduate of the University of Louisville and currently lives in Portland, OR. In his free time, Dallon…
Meet the game-changing pitching robot that can perfectly mimic any human throw
baseball hitter swings and misses

Who’s your favorite baseball pitcher? Shane McClanahan? Sandy Alcantara? Justin Verlander? Whoever you said, two of the top sports-tech companies in the U.S. -- Rapsodo and Trajekt Sports -- have teamed up to build a robot version of them, and the results are reportedly uncannily accurate.

Okay, so we’re not talking about walking-talking-pitching standalone robots, as great a sci-fi-tinged MLB ad as that would be. However, Rapsodo and Trajekt have combined their considerable powers to throw a slew of different technologies at the problem of building a machine that's able to accurately simulate the pitching style of whichever player you want to practice batting against -- and they may just have pulled it off, too.

Read more
The best portable power stations
EcoFlow DELTA 2 on table at campsite for quick charging.

Affordable and efficient portable power is a necessity these days, keeping our electronic devices operational while on the go. But there are literally dozens of options to choose from, making it abundantly difficult to decide which mobile charging solution is best for you. We've sorted through countless portable power options and came up with six of the best portable power stations to keep your smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other gadgets functioning while living off the grid.
The best overall: Jackery Explorer 1000

Jackery has been a mainstay in the portable power market for several years, and today, the company continues to set the standard. With three AC outlets, two USB-A, and two USB-C plugs, you'll have plenty of options for keeping your gadgets charged.

Read more
CES 2023: HD Hyundai’s Avikus is an A.I. for autonomous boat and marine navigation
Demonstration of NeuBoat level 2 autonomous navigation system at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

This content was produced in partnership with HD Hyundai.
Autonomous vehicle navigation technology is certainly nothing new and has been in the works for the better part of a decade at this point. But one of the most common forms we see and hear about is the type used to control steering in road-based vehicles. That's not the only place where technology can make a huge difference. Autonomous driving systems can offer incredible benefits to boats and marine vehicles, too, which is precisely why HD Hyundai has unveiled its Avikus AI technology -- for marine and watercraft vehicles.

More recently, HD Hyundai participated in the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, to demo its NeuBoat level 2 autonomous navigation system for recreational boats. The name mashes together the words "neuron" and "boat" and is quite fitting since the Avikus' A.I. navigation tech is a core component of the solution, it will handle self-recognition, real-time decisions, and controls when on the water. Of course, there are a lot of things happening behind the scenes with HD Hyundai's autonomous navigation solution, which we'll dive into below -- HD Hyundai will also be introducing more about the tech at CES 2023.

Read more