SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) has quite an ambitious goal. The struggling solar firm wants to replace five million rooftops with solar shingles. As part of a new product announced last month, SolarCity plans to target five million U.S. homes with its new integrated solar rooftops. If successful, this initiative will certainly make a dramatic dent in the rooftop market.
SolarCity Corp is Targeting Your Rooftop
SolarCity isn’t only installing solar rooftops. Elon Musk, Lyndon Rive and the rest of SolarCity want the firm’s solar panels to be your rooftop as well. Today, one million households have solar panels. So nabbing an additional five million households would be quite the feat to achieve in the coming years.
The London Guardian is reporting that Musk is talking about the look and the longevity of such a plan. Musk notes that solar rooftops can look better, last longer and save households more money. He believes that solar shingles can serve as a remedy to some of the more dire problems that are regularly associated with solar energy.
Although most observers say this would be an expensive ordeal, Musk thinks either replacing or installing solar shingles shouldn’t be that much costlier than using regular roofing materials.
Despite Musk’s positive outlook, experts still argue that the firm will need to keep costs down. This is especially true if SolarCity wants five million US households with solar shingles.
Here is what one expert told the British newspaper:
“What [the company is] talking about is a paradigm shift, not just a small leap,” said Scott Franklin, owner of Lumos Solar, which specializes in solar panel architecture and design. “SolarCity is known for being a low-cost, fast installer. Now they’re talking about developing an entirely new product and becoming roofers? In terms of cost, they’re going from selling solar leases to telling somebody they have to replace an entire roof. That’s a dramatic cost difference.”
Moreover, it was recently reported that the Dow Chemical Company had to stop selling its inventory of solar shingles because consumers were not interested in them. Apparently they were more expensive and were actually less efficient than conventional solar panels.
With that being said, the costs and price-tags don’t seem to phase SolarCity or Musk. At least for the moment. SolarCity is looking to complete its merger with Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) very soon.
Investors don’t seem to be too pleased, though. Not only are they sour on the merger, they don’t seem too enthusiastic about this plan. SolarCity shares are down more than 25 percent over the last 30 days.
A Brief Look at SolarCity Corp’s Solar Rooftops
Speaking during a conference call last month, Musk unveiled one of two new SolarCity products. The other product is set to be showcased later this year. It’s supposed to be a game changer, too.
Musk noted that SolarCity will both develop and sell the rooftops integrated with solar panels. This would make it vastly different than simply selling or installing modules on rooftops around the U.S.
CEO Lyndon Rive told investors that by designing a solar rooftop it makes SolarCity stand out in the marketplace. By moving ahead with this plan, the firm can launch a new market. Also, this can help SolarCity become more competitive in the solar market – it has been losing market share over the last 18 months as solar technology has become more affordable.
In addition, the product could be achieved if SolarCity partners with major home builders down the line.
The solar rooftop is expected to be developed at its new 1 GW factor in Buffalo.