Tesla starts taking orders for solar roof

Tesla yesterday started booking orders for its transformative new solar roof.

According to commentators, the pricing was competitive, and applied the finishing touch to Elon Musk's vision for a grand unification of his clean-energy ambitions - combining solar power, home batteries, and electric cars.

''These are really the three legs of the stool for a sustainable energy future,'' Musk said. ''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.''

Opening its online store, Tesla started taking $1,000 as deposit for two of four options unveiled in October - smooth black glass and textured-glass roof tiles. From most viewing angles, the slick shingles looked like standard roof materials, but they allowed light to pass through from above onto a solar cell embedded beneath the tempered surface.

The first installations will get underway in the US in June, though orders are being accepted from countries around the world for 2018.

According to commentators, the cost of Tesla's solar roof will go a long way in determining whether it would remain a niche product for the wealthy or potentially unlock a residential solar market that had been slowing in the US.

Tesla said the product, which generated solar energy without the need for traditional rooftop panels, will be more expensive than a conventional roof, but will look better and ultimately pay for itself through reduced electricity costs.

Tesla seeks to accelerate the world's transition to a sustainable energy future by creating products that will be compelling.

After acquiring SolarCity in November, Tesla has  been working to remake a money-losing company that was selling traditional solar systems into a premium energy brand (See: Tesla Motors wins shareholders' approval for acquisition of SolarCity Corp ).

To date, other companies have not had much market success with attempts to incorporate solar technology directly into roof tiles. According to commentators, it remained to be seen whether the products would appeal to consumers as much as Tesla's electric vehicles did.