Tesla builds tents to conceal Solarglass test houses

A promotional picture of Tesla’s Solar Roof.

Tesla

Tesla is placing up extra tents in Fremont, Calif.

This time they’re “canopy covers” over their photo voltaic check constructions, based on newly issued constructing permits reviewed by CNBC.

Tesla began taking orders for model three of its photo voltaic roof tiles, now generally known as the Solarglass Roof, in October, with CEO Elon Musk saying on the time that some installations have been already underway.

While Musk has hyped the pre-order numbers for his firm’s forthcoming Cybertruck, he has not disclosed what number of households have paid $100 to pre-order the Solarglass Roof, and even the place and when these rooftops could be accessible for set up.

Musk mentioned in October that Tesla had the purpose of attending to 1,000 photo voltaic roofs put in per week as shortly as potential, acknowledging that the corporate wouldn’t be producing the Solarglass roof at that charge for no less than a number of months.

Placing canopies over the photo voltaic check constructions in Fremont ought to assist Tesla evade prying eyes and conduct its analysis and improvement with out rain delays. The permits say the tents might be eliminated in two months.

Tesla constructing allow for canopies over photo voltaic check constructions in Fremont, Calif.

City of Fremont, public information

Tesla is in a race to have its Solarglass rooftops prepared for mass manufacturing and installations in 2020 for a number of causes.

For one, a profitable Solarglass effort may assist the corporate battle a shareholder lawsuit which alleges that Tesla by no means ought to have acquired SolarCity, and that Musk and the board of administrators hid important monetary info, whereas overselling the corporate’s know-how to trick shareholders into approving the deal.

As CNBC beforehand reported Elon Musk staged an event in 2016 exhibiting off SolarCity’s glass, photo voltaic roof tiles. The system was not practical on the time, although Musk introduced the tiles as a working prototype. SolarCity was also insolvent earlier than Tesla acquired it, current court docket filings together with sworn testimony and depositions revealed.

Delivering Solarglass rooftops as promised may additionally assist Tesla capitalize on a brand new constructing requirement in its residence state subsequent 12 months.

The California Energy Commission and California Building Standards Commission have mandated that new houses constructed within the state should embody photo voltaic panels, starting in 2020. Building-integrated photovoltaics, like Tesla’s long-awaited Solarglass Roof, are meant for houses that want a brand new roof, fairly than add-ons like the standard photo voltaic panels, that are additionally bought by Tesla.

Finally, if Tesla is ready to begin manufacturing Solarglass roof tiles in any severe quantity earlier than the tip of the primary quarter of 2020, that would justify a ramp in hiring for its manufacturing facility in Buffalo, New York, the place Tesla had promised to make photo voltaic panels and associated techniques.

The Buffalo manufacturing facility was constructed and funded by $750 million in taxpayer cash, which required Tesla to generate 1,460 jobs in Western New York by April 2020. If Tesla misses that job goal, it face a $41.2 million penalty.

Tesla didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Follow @CNBCtech on Twitter for the latest tech industry news.

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