The short version:
- Many of the components are the same as a traditional roof because the fundamental purpose has not changed.
- Most of the framing of the roof is done with metal instead of shingles.
- PV tiles come pre-wired and pre-mounted in sets of 3 from the factory.
- Roof tiles (non-electricity producing tiles) are also used in areas where a full PV tile won’t fit.
- PV tile groups are wired together, along with required Rapid Shutdown Devices.
Time will tell if the solar roof portion of Elon Musk’s companies will perform like the rest of his endeavors. (Highly anticipated, behind schedule, disruptive to an established industry, with a good dose of genius.) As an owner of a roof-top solar installation, the idea of solar shingles really excites me. However, it would drastically complicate any roof repairs. My hope is that the design of the shingles themselves would reduce needed repairs, and prolong the life of a roof. Unfortunately we are most likely 20 years away from any real-world observations.