In November 2016, Tesla CEO Elon Musk gathered a collection of investors, fans, and journalists at the Universal Studios backlot in Los Angeles, California, and revealed his vision of a “solar roof”—that is, tiles with solar cells integrated into them so that they look just like regular roofing tiles, except they produce power.
At the time, SolarCity and Tesla officials said that solar roof installation would begin in summer 2017. Initially, Tesla employees were the only customers, until Tesla reportedly started installing solar roofs for reservation holders in January. Eventually, that seemed to stall, too. Reports indicated that, as of May 31, only 12 solar roof systems had been installed, all in Northern California. In an August shareholder call, Musk said that solar roof installations were finally ramping up, with “several hundred” solar roofs being installed. The company later contacted Ars to clarify that this number included homes that were scheduled for installation, not homes that were actively having a solar roof installed.
Tesla has said that it’s taking time to verify the safety of these solar roofs to make sure they’ll work for decades rather than a dozen years. In the company’s Q2 shareholder letter, Tesla wrote, “We are steadily ramping Solar Roof production in Buffalo and are also continuing to iterate on the product design and production process, learning from our early factory production and field installations. We have deployed Solar Roof on additional homes in Q2 and are gaining valuable feedback from each new installation.” The letter added that Tesla plans to ramp up more toward the end of 2018, so if you’re on the reservation list, you might get lucky soon.