Tesla has filed a European patent application for its Solar Roof, suggesting that it plans to expand its solar energy product’s reach to international markets in the near future. The application’s title “PACKAGING FOR SOLAR ROOF TILES” not only details the tiles and their packaging, but the complete process of Tesla Solar Roof installation from start to finish.
Tesla targeting growth on the Continent does not come as much of a surprise, however, as Elon Musk recently tweeted, “Looking forward to international expansion later this year :-).” This was in response to Solar Roof installation ramp up occurring throughout the United States.
It is, however, peculiar timing for Tesla to be expanding its Solar Roof service area, as just last year it canceled thousands of customer pre-orders in the U.S., claiming that it was no longer servicing their areas. Also, nightmare stories have popped up in the news recently where homeowners have been unable to acquire needed parts mid-project and have been left with a partially finished tarp-covered roof for months at a time, waiting for follow-up from Tesla. It seems that it would behoove Tesla’s solar energy division to get its own house in order before expanding its reach across the pond.
Increased Solar Roof distribution means increased production, and Tesla appears to be addressing this need with the opening and ramping up of operations at its 1.2 million square-foot Gigafactory 2 facility in Buffalo, New York. Originally a steel manufacturing site, Tesla repurposed the facility to produce solar panels and solar cells. Tesla secured the Gigafactory 2 property when it acquired SolarCity in 2016.
The Tesla Solar Roof is a unique array in the it that completely replaces an existing roof with sunlight collecting solar tiles, as opposed to the traditional method of simply stacking and attaching photovoltaic components on top. Although the European patent doesn’t cover new technology, it expands the intellectual property protections Tesla has already enjoys in the United States to Europe and to those countries who are party to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
We love the Tesla Solar Roof, and think that it will lead the way forward to a future based on electricity generated at home. However, it would be nice to see Tesla make things right here in the United States first and tighten up what is an admittedly bumbling process of getting from the order page to flipping on a light switch and enjoying your self-generated renewable energy.
Tesla: Company Website
European Patent Office: Patent Application