Tesla gets all the attention lately when it comes to solar roofs, but start-up Forward Labs has been hammering away at their own solar roof technology – and not only is it 33% cheaper that Tesla’s offering, but it can be installed in half of the time. Forward Labs’ design blends right in with traditional roofs, and it’s made of monocrystalline solar cells with a higher density that other solar roofing options
Whereas Tesla’s solar roof is made from individual shingles, Forward Labs’ standing-seam metal roof is made up of one large, layered piece. It has a tempered glass surface, with an “optimal chromatic cloaking” layer right below. The roof comes in 8 colors right now, but thanks to the chromatic layer, any color is technically possible.
Because Forward Labs uses more cost-effective materials, it costs on average 33% less than the Tesla solar roof. According to the CEO, the solar roof will cost $8.50 per square foot for the base roof, plus $3.25 per watt for the solar.
Installation can be done in just a few days – about half of the time as other solar roofs. The system is passively cooled via air gaps below the panels, and if a panel breaks, it can be popped out and replaced by a new one. The roof looks identical to other metal roofs, so it could easily pass a Home Owner’s Association’s muster, and each installation can provide decades of solar power.
Taylor, Forward Labs CEO, told Green Tech Media that the company is aiming to do the right thing for the right reason. In contrast, he believes that Tesla’s design is the “wrong thing for the right reason.” “It’s wrong to devalue people’s houses with something that doesn’t look good. It’s wrong to put holes in roofs; it’s wrong to go to war with homeowner associations; and it’s wrong to try to ram something down people’s throats that they don’t want,” he said.
The company is also working with conventional asphalt shingle companies to recycle removed roofing materials. Forward Labs are currently taking reservations with installation starting next year.