Tesla CEO Elon Musk dropped one other eye-catching tweet this week, this time saying an formidable goal for photo voltaic roof manufacturing that analysts say seems to be unbelievable.
Tesla executives made no point out of the photo voltaic roof in the course of the firm’s second-quarter earnings name final week, however Musk adopted up with a tweet that the corporate can be “spooling up manufacturing line quickly” and hopes to end up about 1,000 photo voltaic roofs per week by the top of this yr.
Progress on Tesla’s photo voltaic roof deployment has up to now been tough to quantify. Throughout the June shareholder assembly, Musk reported that the product was being put in in eight states. However the newest knowledge from investor-owned utilities in California, Tesla’s house base and one in all its largest markets, suggests solely about 31 photo voltaic roofs had been put in in that state via the top of April. Tesla has declined to touch upon the California quantity or on what number of photo voltaic roofs it is at present producing every week.
Austin Perea, a senior photo voltaic analyst at Wooden Mackenzie Energy & Renewables, categorized the 1,000-per-week goal as near-impossible to satisfy, particularly in mild of the comparatively low deployments of the product thus far.
“Elon Musk will put a person on Mars earlier than he produces 1,000 photo voltaic roofs per week by finish of yr,” stated Perea.
California’s new house photo voltaic mandate, which fits into impact in 2020, might present a slight increase to demand for Tesla’s product, Perea stated. However Tesla has already seen wholesome demand for the photo voltaic roof, with manufacturing points remaining the chief bottleneck.
In its most up-to-date filing with the Securities and Alternate Fee, Tesla famous it nonetheless had not accomplished building at its Gigafactory 2 in upstate New York, the place it produces the photo voltaic roof. The corporate plans to scale up manufacturing via 2019 and into 2020.
In April, Greentech Media reported on struggles at that Gigafactory. In Could, Tesla stated it will begin producing sure power storage and electrical automobile merchandise on the plant along with photo voltaic merchandise.
Turmoil and confusion surrounding the photo voltaic roof seems to be leaking into Tesla’s photo voltaic enterprise at a wider scale. In Q3 2018, Sunrun overtook Tesla on residential installations. In Q2 2019, Tesla recorded its lowest quarter when it comes to photo voltaic deployments thus far at 29 megawatts. SolarCity’s deployments peaked at 650 megawatts in 2016, in line with knowledge from WoodMac.
In a Q2 letter to buyers, Tesla stated it’s “within the means of enhancing many features of this enterprise to extend deployments.”
The corporate’s precipitous drop in installations of late implies that if Tesla did obtain its 1,000-per-week aim, photo voltaic roof manufacturing and set up would equate to a good portion of the corporate’s general deployments.
Tesla has made quite a few adjustments to its photo voltaic enterprise in current months, slashing gross sales channels and directing most of its enterprise to on-line purchases. In April, the corporate unveiled extra “large adjustments,” saying it will solely promote residential techniques in increments of four kilowatts. Tesla asserted that the modular method, which additionally delegated some pre-installation work to clients, would scale back techniques prices.
In some areas of its enterprise, Tesla has a monitor file of beating expectations: In July the corporate reached a manufacturing aim of 5,000 Mannequin 3s per week, partly by constructing a further meeting line in a tent (and amid news of underreported office accidents and unsafe situations).
However with its prime place ceded to Sunrun and simply 29 megawatts of photo voltaic deployed within the second quarter, proof seems to be mounting that Tesla’s successes as an automaker could not translate to its photo voltaic enterprise.