Last week, Elon Musk unveiled Tesla’s latest development, solar roofing tiles. As expected, Musk’s latest unveiling has received a lot of coverage, most hailing this new development and the unification of Musk’s grand plan of having homes 100% powered by clean energy.
Most interesting of all was a piece on Bloomberg Newsweek titled No One Saw Tesla’s Solar Roof Coming.
Not So Fast Bloomberg. Someone did not only see this coming, but had actually built it. Strauss Energy in Kenya makes Solar Roofing Tiles. Think a less zannier version of what Musk unveiled. But the concept is exactemento, minus the camouflage.
Strauss Energy resulted from a Masters in Engineering dissertation by Tony Nyagah, who co-founded the company and is currently the CEO. The company has been developing the concept in the last three years, although it was registered in 2007.
They commission their first pilot in March at a primary school in Murang’a.
However, they have been active on the startup/VC circuit, trying to raise capital and creating awareness of their product; some of the competitions they have been taken part in include the Challenge Cup Festival in Washington DC last year , and the GIST Tech-I Pitch competition held in Palo Alto during this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit.
Strauss’ solar tiles are 600 millimeters by 500 millimeters, and can each generate up to 35 watts of power at 100 percent efficiency.
Tesla’s product is zannier(of course), and Musk’s strategy of combining the product to his electric car vision makes it grander. He is basically building an ecosystem, which is better strategically in a scenario where the product could have been targeting a niche within an already niche market.
The tiles were the first product to be unveiled jointly by Tesla and Solar Century, which, if Musk gets his way will soon merge.
Strauss works to lighting up a big portion of the Kenya, where only 30% have access to reliable energy, and the rest of the continent.