Tesla is the leader in electric vehicle manufacturing, but they decided to go into the solar market in 2016. This was a surprise to many. How did Tesla become involved with solar? What is the solar market share that surprised everyone?
In 2016 Tesla, the leading EV manufacturer, purchased SolarCity, once the leading solar energy company. After Tesla bought out SolarCity, they hoped to gain shares in the solar energy market quickly. This did not happen as they hoped, with Tesla dropping to third place in the solar industry by 2019.
How did this buyout come about? How has it affected Tesla, and the future of solar? We will further investigate the Tesla solar market share with SolarCity, as well as their partnership with other companies, to learn more about Tesla’s solar vision.
The Tesla Solar Share No One Saw Coming
Elon Musk has a vision of switching the world to solar energy quicker. In 2016 he bought out his cousins, Peter and Lyndon Rives, SolarCity company. SolarCity had been ranked the number one solar distributor until this transaction.
SolarCity had run into financial troubles. They were offering a zero down lease option on their solar panels and equipment. The money loss was due to having to buy the equipment and hardware as well as maintain the systems they were placing on homes. When Tesla bought out SolarCity, Tesla took on their debt.
The debt accumulation did not deter Tesla in the slightest. The company took everyone by storm when Elon Musk “unveiled” the new solar roof. This was not an ordinary solar roof.
The homes looked just like any other brand new, upscale home, with gleaming Spanish tile rooftops. Musk announced that those tiles were solar.
SolarCity Shares Drop
It was too little too late. Even though Tesla had merged with Solarcity and unveiled the first glass roof solar system, sales began to plummet. CNBC explains this drop in shares took place shortly after Elon Musk announced it would offer 2.8 billion, in June of 2016, to SolarCity. After the announcement, SolarCity’s shares fell forty-three percent.
As it became known that SolarCity was in financial woes, shareholders became worried, and angry. The fact that Tesla’s buyout of SolarCity was a bailout for Musk and his cousins did not go unnoticed. Since 2016 the price of SolarCity shares have plummeted.
Tesla’s Glass Solar Roof
To bring in more sales and revenue from SolarCity, Elon Musk unveiled the glass solar roof panels. It seemed it would revolutionize the solar industry with the unique option of hidden solar.
Even though Tesla’s roof tiles were elegantly beautiful, people were slow to warm up to the idea. The roof tiles were expensive and still in the prototype phase. These also were not the first solar roof tiles to be presented to the public.
Dow Chemical Company had also made solar roof tiles in 2011, according to the Clean Energy Authority. By 2016, Green Tech Media reported the DOW chemical company’s powerhouse solar shingles had failed and DOW had decided to discontinue the roof system.
To make matters worse, this was just the prototype for Tesla’s SolarCity glass roof. Those that wanted to invest and have the glass roof installed on their homes needed to place a one-thousand dollar deposit on the system while they waited for the product and installation of the solar roof.
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Tesla Sued over SolarCity Buyout
Things have continued to keep Tesla struggling to reinstate SolarCity as the number one solar company. Even with other modifications to the solar business and mergers with companies such as
- Panasonic to produce solar cells
- Home Depot to display and help sell the solar systems in 2018
- Sunrun to install Tesla powerwall2 battery systems
- Numerous companies across the country to be trained and deployed to re-roof homes with Tesla solar glass panels.
Shareholders were severely disenchanted by Elon Musk buying out SolarCity and have sued Tesla, claiming “Tesla directors breached their fiduciary duties to shareholders…” according to ABC News.
This was due to shareholders feeling Elon Musk was misleading them with the SolarCity buyout since it was not disclosed that SolarCity was in financial trouble. Tesla has settled this lawsuit, agreeing, in 2020, to pay sixty million dollars plus almost seventeen million in legal fees and expenses.
Tesla Solar Shares in the Wake of Negative Publicity?
Even with the problems, Tesla SolarCity has faced since 2016, solar shares are predicted to rise.The Motley Fool reports that on April 12, 2021, Tesla saw a NASDAQ increase of four percent. Predicted shares could rise to more than a thousand dollars within the year.
This is definitely good news for Tesla and Tesla shareholders. It looks as though the hard work may pay off shortly.
Why did Musk Decide to Buy SolarCity?
Elon Musk’s decision to buy out SolarCity was not only a bailout for his cousins, and himself as he was the largest shareholder in the company). He has had a vision of merging the solar business with the electric vehicle business for a very long time. In fact, he was talking about solar in 2014.
Since acquiring SolarCity in 2016, Musk has embodied the desire to see the United States become a solar run country. This vision has expanded to a global vision.
Elon Musk Believes Tesla will Lead Solar Soon
Elon Musk believes Tesla will soon lead the solar industry. The company is working on the seamless integration of the powerwall and the inverter. They are also working on making the installation of the solar system more efficient which will bring costs down.
Elon is quoted in the January 28, 2021 issue of Business Insider, saying “…we’re putting a lot of attention on solar and it is growing rapidly. So I think, it won’t be long before Tesla is, by far, the market leader in solar.” (As of April 14th 2021 Tesla Solar Stock opened at $780 per share, but fell to $734.24).
There is good reason for Musk to believe this will happen. Tesla wants to help the world switch to sustainable energies faster. That is exactly what they are attempting to do around the world.
The Tesla Space believes Tesla will take the lead in solar this year. This is because Tesla’s solar products have finally reached a point of refinement both in productivity and integration to make Tesla solar packages more affordable. Shares are predicted to increase this year.
What Tesla Offers that the Competition Does Not
Tesla’s entire solar system is somewhat unique in comparison to other companies. One of the main items Tesla solar includes is the battery bank. The Tesla battery bank allows consumers to save power and use that power even during outages.
Let’s look at the Tesla solar system and compare it with the competition.
Tesla’s Home Solar Package VS SunRun
SunRun leads Tesla’s SolarCity in solar installation. Sunrun became the largest solar installation distributor when they bought out rival Vivint in 2020. Musk seemed unphased by this merger that lengthened the gap between the rival solar companies.
But Tesla has a relationship with SunRun. They provide Sunrun with the Tesla Powerwall2 battery banks. Is there more to these companies than meets the eye? For now, they are considered rivals in the solar industry.
What Does SunRun Offer
Sunrun is a bit obscure when it comes to products and forward pricing. To determine how much a system will be through them, you must use their “get a quote” tab and fill in your information.
Sunrun offers the installation of solar panels. In most respects, Sunrun encourages leases and PPA or power purchase agreements. This is how they generate revenue. By leasing you the system required for your needs they are able to collect
- Monthly payments from you.
- State incentives from your solar system.
- Federal incentives from your solar system.
Everything you need to run your home on solar is included, but you don’t have the benefit of owning the system.
SunRun Solar Packages
If you buy solar panels from Sunrun, they have three package sizes.
- Small is a four kilowatt system. It will produce four thousand watts of direct current, 300 sq feet of roof space is required.
- Average will have a seven kilowatt system. This will produce seven thousand watts of direct current and cover 500 sq feet.
- Large is a 12 kilowatt system. It will produce twelve thousand watts of direct current and require 900 square feet of space.
You will also get:
- A Tesla powerwall battery system or LG Chem Battery System
- Virtual consultation
- Custom solar designs through their CAD program
- SunRun guarantees that includes 20 years of equipment replacement and repair, and insurance.
- A 25 year warranty can be obtained with their protection plus program for solar owners.
It is difficult to find anything on the actual cost of Sunrun solar panels or systems to productively compare the cost with Tesla.
Sunrun does offer four payment plans. These include
- Monthly lease
- Full lease
- Full purchase
- Monthly loan
Without being able to compare prices, it is difficult to truly compare these two companies. Consumers on Reddit leaned more toward Tesla being the better of the two. However, both companies had customer service issues.
What does Tesla Solar Offer?
Tesla now offers everything needed to run your home on solar. You are able to work directly with the company from the comforts of your home. Tesla SolarCity provides
- A solar roof system called a Solar Glass Roof or PhotoVoltaic panels.
- A lithium battery system called Tesla Powerwall 2.
- And the Tesla Solar Inverter.
- The Tesla App can be downloaded on your phone, and you are able to see how your solar system is working.
This new technology will come with a hefty price tag. Tesla understands that not everyone can outright buy an entire system. They do have loan financing and a rental option for their solar resources.
The V3 solar roof is made to look like flat slate roof tiles. Each tile is fifteen inches by 45 inches, however not all of the tiles have solar cells. The solar celled tiles are spaced between roof tiles that look just like them.
The tiles are some of the most durable on the market with
- Class A Fire Rating. The highest fire rating
- Class F wind rating, meaning these tiles can withstand winds of 110 miles per hour.
- Class 3 Hail Rating
The tiles have a 25 year warranty, according to the Tesla website. This warranty covers
- Life of the roof tile
- Power warranty.
The weatherization and power warranty guarantee power output capabilities and protects against weather damage, such as water.
How Much Does the Tesla Solar Roof Cost?
According to The Verge, Tesla’s solar roof will cost around $21.25 per square foot. If you are replacing an existing roof, Tesla
- Deals with the permit process
- Designs the roof with 3D areal modeling taken from satellite photos available online.
- Removes the old roof
- Puts down a waterproof barrier
- Puts the solar shingles on.
- Deals with the inspection process
Tesla Solar Panels
If the glass roof system is too far out of your budget, you may consider Tesla Solar panels.
Tesla solar panels are made by the company Hanwha, and they are called the Q cells. The panels are sleek in design and are low profile. They will fit snugly against your existing roof with a concealed edge.
Tesla solar panels
- Produce 340 watts of electricity
- Measure 68.5 by 40.06 by 1.57 inches, including the black anodized aluminum frame.
- They also have a 25 year warranty.
- They come with the new Tesla inverter.
- Connect to the Tesla App
- Can be placed on any type of roof.
Tesla states the panels “highly efficient.” They will provide peak energy production all year, even on “complicated roof angles.”
How much do Tesla Solar Panels Cost?
Tesla solar panels come in bundles. These bundles come in
- Small: With the small you get 12 panels that will cover 240 square feet of space. These will cost just over $8,000.
- Medium: Contains 24 panels and will cover 480 square feet of your roof. The medium bundle costs $16,400.
- Large: 36 panels are included. This will cover 720 square feet. The large bundle costs $24,600.
- Extra Large: Contains 48 panels and covers 960 square feet of roof space. For the Extra large bundle, it will be $32,800.
The prices do not include installation. However, Tesla offers a price match guarantee. Your other offer must be of panels that are a similar system, and it must be a recent quote. The name on the quote must also match the owner name given to Tesla.
To get your price match guarantee email Tesla at email@example.com. Enter the phrase “Price Match” in the subject bar.
Include in your email:
- The price quote from Tesla
- Your reservation number.
- The price quote from the competitor solar company
What is the Tesla Lithium Battery Bank?
This is Tesla’s solar battery bank. The solar battery bank saves the excess energy from your solar roof. It’s essentially a bank for your energy needs. This energy can be used after dark or during power outages.
The Tesla Powerwall 2 also detects power outages and powers your home like a generator. Unlike a generator, it does not require gasoline or other upkeep, and it is quiet. It can be paired with Tesla solar products or used alone.
When used with solar the powerwall battery bank is used with solar it efficiently reduces your carbon footprint. You can use the stored energy anytime it’s needed. Your entire home can be run on solar and the powerwall.
Unlike the old solar battery banks that used big and unsightly batteries, the Tesla powerwall is sleek and takes up little space. It can be placed indoors or outside. You can pair up to ten of the powerwalls together creating a larger energy bank.
The powerwall2 includes a 10 year warranty. Pair it with the Tesla app and control the energy your home is using, even when you are not home.
How Much Does the Tesla Battery Bank Cost?
According to Solar Reviews the powerwall 3 costs about $12,000. The break down of the cost is as follows:
- One powerwall battery costs $7,000
- Gateway energy management system $1,800.
- Installation approximately $3,000.
Tesla’s Gateway system must be installed in order to have the battery system work as a power bank, and generator. The system must also be paired with an inverter to convert it’s A/C Power to D/C power.
The more powerwall units you buy, the lower the Gateway and installation costs will be. So, if you buy two powerwall2 battery banks, the gateway and installation cost will decrease by $500.
Your savings multiplies if you add solar. You could save $1,500. Tesla now offers these batteries to off-grid homes provided two powerwall units are bought at a time.
How Long Does the Tesla Powerwall 2 Last?
One powerwall 2 will last up to 15 hours when you also have solar. If you just have the powerwall connected to the grid it will last up to 12 hours during a power outage.
The more powerwall packs you have, the longer you will have power during outages. Two powerwalls will provide power for 24 hours or more. This technology is very useful on or off the grid.
*Please note, Tesla discontinued selling powerwall batteries without a solar purchase.
What is the Tesla Solar Inverter?
Tesla’s power inverter is new. It was just unveiled in early 2021. This is a solar inverter that converts the DC power from the powerwall battery pack to AC power.
An inverter is a necessary piece of equipment when utilizing solar and battery. Our homes run on AC, Alternating Current. In order to run the home on solar and/or batteries, the DC current must be converted to AC.
Tesla’s is offering two sizes of inverters to ensure homeowners are able to choose the inverter that is right for their home.
Tesla’s 3.8 kilowatt inverter has a power specification of 97.5 percent efficiency with two maximum power point trackers. The 7.6 kilowatt inverter has 4 maximum power point trackers and is also 97.5 percent efficient.
Both of Tesla’s inverters share these specifications:
- Warranty: 12 and a half years
- Installation: The inverter can be installed indoors or outdoors. It has a temperature rating of -22 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Weight: 52 pounds
- Size: 26 inches by 16 inches by 16 inches.
- Certifications: US and International safety standards
US and international safety EMI standards met
- Safety: Tesla inverters have integrated rapid shutdown. Arc fault, and ground fault protection.
Tesla’s inverters are made with smart technology. They connect to WIFI and can be updated over the air by Tesla. You are also able to monitor your system using the Tesla app.
Cost of Tesla’s Home Solar Package
Tesla may have a package deal that is not easily researchable. You can ask them directly at customer support.
Due to the variations of roof designs and sizes, it is not possible to come up with a solid price. However, the cost per square foot for the roof tiles is about twenty-one dollars. The powerwall Battery costs about $12,000. Tesla has not revealed how much the solar inverter will cost.
So if you have a 2,000 square foot roof, you are looking to pay at the least $54,000. This does not include the price of the inverter. The best way to find out is to contact Tesla directly.
Tesla Has Financing Options
The upfront cost of the Tesla Roof Solar System is, well, too expensive. However, Tesla does have financing options.
Depending on your credit, Tesla does offer different types of financing. You could also take out a home equity loan to pay for your Tesla solar roof. Either way, your monthly payments could be lower than your current electric bill.
Tesla’s Rental Option
Tesla also offers a rental program. With this program, they will install a solar system where you live. This includes rentals. While you reside there, you are able to rent the solar from Tesla. Tesla then removes the system when you are finished with it. Though you never actually own the system it could cut your utility bills by quite a bit.
What are the Negatives of Tesla Solar?
There are always some negatives involved. Let’s look at what those are when considering Tesla solar.
Expense. The expense to install Tesla’s glass roof solar system can be very expensive out of pocket. This is especially true if you have an existing roof that will need replacing. It also costs $1000 upfront to reserve the roof.
Time. There could be a very long wait to have the roof installed. Some consumers had a wait time of more than a year after their deposit was made.
You must buy solar. According to Electrek Tesla has stopped selling their powerwall batteries without the purchase of a solar glass roof or solar panel installation. This is disheartening, as the powerwall batteries were a great source of stored electricity for those on the grid without solar.
Poor Customer Service. According to CNBC, Tesla has very poor customer service when it comes to cars. When researching the topic for Tesla’s solar customer service, it was more of the same. Tesla forums and other reviews showed this is the major issue with Tesla. They need better customer service and quicker response times to those in need of repairs.
Tesla will continue it’s Solar Trend with their EV’s
Tesla also plans on making a solar electric van. At first, Elon Musk was against using solar on vehicles. However, his viewpoint has changed as solar technology has progressed. Musk says that a solar powered van “just makes sense.”
The solar EV van is perfect for the first solar powered vehicle due to its flat roof. It sounds as though Musk’s idea for a solar roof on a van would be mobile. He says that when the van is stationary, the panels could be opened like an awning.
This would produce shade for the van and occupants. It would also triple the space for the solar cells. By tripling the space for the solar Elon Musk says the van could potentially get 30 miles per day.
Other Ways Tesla is Changing the World
Through their affordable electric vehicles and their growing solar resources, including plans for solar powered vehicles; Tesla is certainly making a change. They have phenomenal ideas and resources to accomplish the way we view and use electrical power, not just in the United States, but globally. This is good news for our environment.
Bringing electric vehicles to the public was an amazing feat. Finding ways to keep them running without power from fossil fuel has been a bit more challenging. By equipping homes with their solar systems that can also charge the electric vehicle, we begin to see a trend in sustainability.
With all of the new technology in cars and solar, Tesla is also employing more people. This is due to the demand for workers to build the cars and install solar systems. They also need and utilize virtual workers.
Tesla Continues to Surprise with the SolarCity Market Share
It’s been a bumpy road as Tesla has attempted to bring SolarCity back from the brink. However, shares are rising as consumers are able to purchase working solar systems through Tesla. The predictions for Tesla to take the lead in solar this year could come true.
Tesla does need to work hard on their customer service relationships. Tesla will gain the trust and confidence of their shareholders and customers, if they are honest and prompt with their services.