Tesla's South Buffalo plant is now pumping out solar roof tiles

Tesla starts solar roof tile installation process with regular customers, production starts at Gigafactory 2

Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) said it started production of the Solar Roof tiles at its Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, New York in December.

At some point in the near future, the plant will have a capacity of almost 3,000 jobs for the western part of NY and over 5,000 statewide, said the state's Governor Andrew Cuomo back in 2015 when the news was first released.

Tesla said the workforce at the RiverBend factory now is approaching 500 people, although the company declined to say how many people are working for the electric vehicle maker at the facility and how many are working for other companies, such as Panasonic or other suppliers and service providers.

The Tesla roof tiles generate solar energy without the need for additional PV panels. Customers keen to get the tiles were asked to lay down a $1,000 deposit via its website when orders for the product opened in May. Tesla has promised to create 1,460 jobs in Buffalo, with suppliers and service providers bringing another 1,440 jobs to the region.

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The Solar Roof is great product for those who build new homes or need to replace old roof and don't want to use ordinary solar panels. What's more, the fact of Tesla Gigafactory 2 undertaking the production of the Solar Roofs affirms the highly efficient and speedy rollout of the photovoltaic tiles, even matching up very well to Elon Musk's expectations. The company is expecting to start installing the roofs for regular customers over the upcoming months. Tesla notes that this included validating glass tile reliability and weatherization testing.

The solar shingles will be more expensive than conventional roofing as they carry the photovoltaic panels, but not by all that much more, said a finance analyst on Wall Street. The factory is targeted to reach full production by the end of 2019. The plant was originally a project of SolarCity, acquired by Tesla in November 2016.

These particular roof tiles aim to change the way that rooftop solar installations are perceived, as they will be able to produce clean electricity without compromising the "aesthetic" side of the roof replacing conventional bricks with energy-generating ones. This ramp-up seems to be well within Tesla CEO Elon Musk's expectations. With Tesla's recent announcement, however, the timeline for Solar Roof installations has become significantly clearer.

Those changes, however, have caused Tesla's solar business to shrink. That doesn't include what is likely to be a substantial decline in its fourth-quarter deployments.