Tesla’s solar roof tiles stand apart from other integrated solar roofing options in part because they’re camouflaged – you can’t even tell the tiles are collecting solar power. But have you ever wondered what kind of tech it took to make that happen? A new Tesla patent released this week shows how they did it. Here’s a hint: it wasn’t easy.
Tesla worked with Panasonic to create a grid of solar panels that could link together without taking forever to install. On top of that, they had to create the tiles in such a way that they appeared opaque from the street but remained transparent to the sun above – all while still being as efficient as possible. To solve this problem, they created a new kind of glass with small louvers, which make the glass look opaque when viewed from below while keeping it open to sunlight.
The patent application says that each solar tile “includes a backsheet layer, a bottom encapsulant layer adjacent the backsheet layer, a plurality of photovoltaic cells adjacent the bottom encapsulant layer, a top encapsulant layer adjacent the plurality of photovoltaic cells having a plurality of louvers constructed therein to block side view of the plurality of photovoltaic cells, and a top layer adjacent the top encapsulant layer.” If that doesn’t clear things up for you, here’s a picture:
If you want to dive into all the technicalities, you can find the full patent here.
Images via Tesla