Solar panels have been around for a while now. Yet they aren’t a common household item in many parts of the country. One roadblock to widespread adoption is their appearance. For many homeowners, the prospect of covering their roofs in unsightly gridded panels defies aesthetic imperatives despite the financial and environmental benefits. Today, Tesla and SolarCity changed that.
Tesla Gives the People What They Want
Tesla CEO Elon Musk acknowledged this qualm and tackled it hand-in-hand with SolarCity. Together they revealed what can only be described as the most beautiful and efficient roof the world has ever seen. Musk also unveiled the updated Powerwall 2 domestic house battery that aims to make an entirely solar-powered home a reality.
The panels are expected to go into production the summer of 2017. Availability will begin in California. Meanwhile, the Powerwall will head into production this December. It will take a few years before Tesla has the power to run the average home. Nevertheless, the fact that users will eventually have the ability to integrate both these technologies into their homes is a real game changer.
The subtext of this story speaks louder than the reveal itself. The deeper story here is about the future of integrated systems. Just imagine how short a distance away we are from a home with a Tesla car in the garage and a Tesla solar-powered roof connected to an Energy Powerwall that powers the entire house while charging the car. The ability to dream and inspire is possibly the secret to Tesla’s success.
Elon Musk’s Vision of the Future
Elon Musk taps into the connection between technology and environmentalism, exploring new ways of thinking about how we harness energy and affect the world around us. Aside from his brilliant technology, that is what Elon Musk brings to the table that other tech titans fail to do.
As a visionary leader, Musk is empowering people to challenge their mentality about consumption and their belief system about the Earth itself. And this is a pressing issue given that 2016 marks the year when technology became entwined with our home in an unprecedented way, a possible distraction from the ruinous effects of technology for technology’s sake.
That being said, he is no messiah. Elon Musk is one man who albeit is revolutionizing tech and sustainability, but he alone cannot change the world. We must decide what progress and success look like as consumers who, at the end of the day, provide the life blood of companies like Tesla with our purchases and dictate their agendas with our decision-making.
It’s easy to deride this forward movement as fanciful or overblown. A lack of imagination fuels the flames of denial. In 1995, Newsweek published an article about why the Internet will fail. But the digital age is about dreaming big. We have the ability to collaborate at an unprecedented scale and to innovate democratically beyond what was imagined when the Internet first came into existence.
This technology has the potential to spark interest in an otherwise highly segmented product that promises to assuage the detrimental effects of our industrial activity on the planet. Dismiss it your own peril.
And from the business side, Elon Musk is changing the way we think about technology and the environment, and in the process, he is dominating a market share through the power of imagination, much like Steve Jobs did.