Like some kind of 21st century Willy Wonka, audacious entrepreneur Elon Musk chose a prime spot on the Universal Studios Hollywood backlot tour to unveil his latest attempt to energize an industry — roofs that generate solar power but look like no other.
Musk, the chief executive of Tesla Motors and chairman of SolarCity, showcased a line of high-design solar roof tiles that would replace clunky solar panels and tie into an upgraded version of the Tesla wall-mounted battery for those times when the sun doesn’t shine. The glass solar shingles resemble French slate, Tuscan barrel tile or more conventional roofing materials with a textured or smooth surface.
“The key is to make solar look good,” Musk said during the product introduction staged on the old set of ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” series, where he had re-roofed four of the Wisteria Lane houses. “If this is done right, all roofs will have solar.”
The move comes as California’s solar industry grapples with slowing growth and other challenges despite aggressive state mandates to boost the use of renewable energy.
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