With some serious word of mouth behind it, Tesla’s newest venture into solar technology– a combination of hidden solar cells and high-end glass tales they call a “solar roof”– will see its practical application this month in California.


The interest in such an innovative product is easy to understand. Elon Musk’s company breaks ground every time they introduce technology.


While solar panels have increased in popularity over the years, they always served the same purpose: to create usable solar energy. The Tesla roof offers a deluxe, expensive tiling that adds the solar power as almost a bonus. Musk’s marketing it as a replacement for solar panels may mislead customers, as the roof is, in fact, a full, luxury roof.


Despite Musk’s claims that including the solar electricity it will cost “less than a traditional roof”, the Tesla roof will sell for around $65,000 (three times the price of other solar panels) while producing a fraction of the energy per foot. This makes it likely not worth the cost unless one not only wants solar panels but also needs to replace his entire roof.


Meanwhile, with such an ambiguous product description, many customers seem to be holding out until they have more information. In general, growth in the solar industry in California is falling, and the lack of transparency in this case is affecting interest.


The truth is, the Tesla roof is in a category of its own, as a complete high-end roof with solar capabilities. Although the buzz about solar products is good, the misleading way that Musk has marketed the Tesla roof may ultimately damage the solar industry. The ambiguity about this high-end product will likely not convince those interested in solar panels.