– This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on May 11, Thursday.
Welcome to CNBC Business Daily, I'm Qian Chen.
Tesla said Wednesday that the first two styles of its solar roof will be priced at about $21.85 per square foot.
Tesla said it is releasing the first two styles of the glass tiles - "black glass smooth" and "textured" versions - out of the four planned styles the company has shown off to the public.
A curved, reddish "Tuscan" style and a style that resembles slate rock tiles are expected "in early 2018," according to Tesla.
That price is slightly lower than the $24.50 per square foot that Consumer Reports had expected. Their prediction had been based on Tesla achieving a competitive price to conventional roofing materials, such as asphalt, once savings from electricity bills were factored in over the roof's expected lifetime.
Many had expressed skepticism that Tesla's product would be as affordable as the company claimed. But after the release of the pricing, Tesla shares closed up more than 1.2 percent Wednesday.
Tesla's recent decision to scrap the door-to-door sales common in the solar energy industry also may end up serving as an advantage, according to analysts -- for now, Tesla is taking orders online. Analysts said that one of the biggest hindrances to residential solar was the cost of selling it and installing it, so getting rid of that door-to-door sales force is definitely a step in the right direction.
However, Musk's annoucement comes during an interesting, even trying, time for some U.S. solar companies. A recent report from GTM Research said the second half of 2016 showed the first significant decline for U.S. solar companies. The report forecasts the residential segment to grow 9% this year, while the growth rate was 19% in 2016. With prices falling and demand staggering, many of the sector's leading companies have been struggling.
For Tesla, one of the obvious barriers to achieving that is cost, and whether there is demand for a solar roof still remains something of an open question.
CNBC's Qian Chen, reporting from Singapore.