Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) and SolarCity Corp are keenly eyeing rival Forward Labs’ solar roof. The former two are working together on a solar roof. But, it looks “very similar” to the one unveiled by the latter. By the end of this month, Tesla and SolarCity will unveil their solar roof. They will also show the next Powerwall, and a new Tesla charger. Tesla CEO and SolarCity Chairman, Elon Musk has been dropping hints over the solar roof. At the same time, experts have been betting what will the product look like.
Tesla Motors Inc wants to go Forward of ‘Forward’ Labs
Electrek noted that a source with SolarCity’s engineering group broke the news. The solar installer and its child firm Zep Solar are eyeing a recently shown solar roof made by Forward Labs. Zep Solar builds the solar panel equipment. This is because they are working on a “very similar” production in a tie-up with Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), the source said. The product of Forward Labs is an entire roofing system, released with its Kickstarter campaign. It is made to look like the current steel roofing options. It is also made in many styles and colors, Electrek noted. The Country Caller has a video in which the product is shown in action.
Sadly, the firm shut down the campaign just a couple of weeks after starting it. Sunpower Corporation too is eyeing the solar roofing product. It has been in a legal fight with SolarCity on claims of stealing of secret data. There are also claims of corporate spying about future solar cells. Electrek highlighted that solar roofing could prove to be a massive market. Nearly 5 mn new roofs per year are installed in the US. If a household is thinking of replacing its roof, they would not likely put their money in solar panels. This is because they are taking down the existing roof.
But, if solar panels are set up in a roof, the household will likely go for a power-making roof. But, solar installers need some issues solved. For example, how to develop colors for the roof without losing much on the light absorption.
Legal Tussle Scorches the SolarCity Deal
Last month, Tesla said that 4 shareholders filed a lawsuit against the firm’s move. This may lead to delays in the transaction closing. However, the firm never cleared if the upcoming unveiling event scheduled on October 28 will be pushed back or not. A little more than two months ago, it even hosted a conference call to discuss its acquisition of SolarCity Corp.
The two firms had held a call with analysts to defend a proposed deal between the two firms. The call was also to tout the cost synergies that would occur if the two combined. Earlier this year, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) had announced an offer for roughly $2.6 bn. The deal is subject to SEC review and approval from most of the independent shareholders of both firms. It is expected to close in in the fourth quarter.
On the call, the firms said they expect to achieve $150 mn in cost synergies within the first year. Within three to five years, they expect every single system across the two portfolios to include both solar and storage. Elon Musk, who serves as chairman of both firms, said synergies will include the streamlining of production on the backside. There will also be lower customer acquisition costs. Lastly, there will be the chance to tell users about the merits of fusing solar production and storage.