Tesla Inc. has begun taking $1,000 deposits for its remarkable solar roof tiles--to be delivered this summer at a price point that could expand the U.S. solar market.

Tesla will begin with production of two of the four styles it unveiled in October: a smooth glass and a textured glass tile. 1 Roofing a 2,000 square-foot home in New York state--with 40 percent coverage of active solar tiles and battery backup for night-time use--would cost about $50,000 after federal tax credits and generate $64,000 in energy over 30 years, according to Tesla's website calculator.

That's more expensive upfront than a typical roof, but less expensive than a typical roof with traditional solar and back-up batteries. The warranty is for the lifetime of your home... Tesla's cost for active solar tiles is about $42 per square foot, "significantly below" BNEF's prior estimate of $68 per square foot, Bromley said. Inactive tiles will cost $11 per square foot.

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