Skip to content

Tesla’s SolarCity’s Installations Crash Nearly 40%

May 5, 2017

By Paul Homewood


From Business Insider UK:



Tesla’s SolarCity reported a drop of nearly 40 percent in solar installations for the first quarter on Wednesday, the latest sign of a reversal in fortunes for the once high-flying residential solar industry.

In an earnings report this week, Tesla said it deployed 150 megawatts of solar generation in the first quarter of 2017 compared to 245 MW in the first quarter of last year.

The company, which announced last week it was curatiling door-to-door sales, said it had prioritized higher-margin projects that generate cash up front rather than trying to sell as many installations as possible. But the dramatic drop in sales for a company that had consistently delivered double-digit growth puts it in line with a broad trend affecting the rooftop-solar industry.

Across the sector, installers report more difficulty finding customers. Subsidies have dwindled or been eliminated in some states, and many of the easiest consumers to sell to – environmentally conscious homeowners with disposable income – have already purchased rooftop systems.

"The trendsetters are kind of gone," Tammy Goad, vice president of corporate development for California-based Valley Energy said at a solar industry conference in San Diego on Tuesday.

Stiff competition in the industry has pushed some companies out of the market, or forced them to scale back. One of the nation’s biggest rooftop solar companies, Sungevity, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.

  1. May 5, 2017 6:29 pm

    “At the same time, consumer complaints about high-pressure sales tactics are on the rise, according to government and private agencies. They say that aggressive door-to-door soliciting and telemarketing have soured some consumers on solar, as have online ads promising “free solar.”

    Solar-related complaints to the Better Business Bureau, a non-profit that promotes ethical business practices, are up 29 percent nationwide so far this year, Greg Dunn, president of the Hawaii BBB, said during a presentation at the conference. Nearly a quarter of those complaints relate to sales practice issues.”

    So rooftop solar is such a good idea, they have to resort to unethical high-pressure sales tactics. And these are the people “saving the earth”. Creeps.

    • May 5, 2017 6:42 pm

      With all these green scams, the unscrupulous cowboys and troughers are always quick to get in on the act.

  2. May 5, 2017 6:49 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  3. Joe Public permalink
    May 5, 2017 7:15 pm

    At least one Greenpeace mouthpiece is whinging at the subsidy-well drying up:

    • 1saveenergy permalink
      May 5, 2017 7:52 pm

      But the renewables industry said
      “wind & solar are now cheaper the fossil fuels”
      & it’s an industry we can trust to tell the truth…as they’ve always done !

    • Gerry, England permalink
      May 7, 2017 11:37 am

      Oh I do like the idea of immunity to run over protesters who presumably are getting in the way.

  4. May 5, 2017 7:52 pm

    Another financial millstone around Tesla’s neck. Not going to end well.

    • Dave Ward permalink
      May 5, 2017 8:05 pm

      “It had prioritized higher-margin projects that generate cash up front”

      Which rather suggests they are having (or anticipating) cash flow problems. As you said, it’s not going to end well, and another massive bankruptcy would hardly be surprising!

  5. Joe Public permalink
    May 5, 2017 8:55 pm

    Has your story been reported by Aunty yet, Paul?

    Here’s one you wrote earlier:

  6. May 5, 2017 9:54 pm

    BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones will be up in a minute to do another one of his free News-verts for Tesla

  7. May 5, 2017 9:59 pm

    • Gerry, England permalink
      May 7, 2017 11:42 am

      And they were so pleased that on paper Tesla is worth more than Ford or GM while having a turnover that is the same as the profit GM made. If you want a share to short then you can do no better than Tesla. When Tesla fails it will be a big blow to the scalextric car industry. Note too, that Mahindra has given up on selling its electric car in the UK.

  8. mikemUK permalink
    May 5, 2017 11:34 pm

    I’m patiently waiting for the “DeLorean moment”, on a grandiose scale.

  9. John F. Hultquist permalink
    May 6, 2017 12:34 am

    Across the sector, installers report more difficulty finding customers. Subsidies have dwindled or been eliminated in some states, and many of the easiest consumers to sell to – environmentally conscious homeowners with disposable income – have already purchased rooftop systems.

    Installers are just handy folks that without solar customers will transition to other activities — Roofing comes to mind, or servicing heaters, air conditioners, installing garage doors, or many other things. Names and places of business will change and when, say in 3 years, a homeowner with solar calls for service, the phone will have been disconnected.

    • Ex-expat Colin permalink
      May 6, 2017 9:01 am

      Yes…it was a double glazing company here in UK that I knew the owner of. He suffered from staffing problems and the high cost of gaining certification/qualifications. He blew his money and got out. His customers…or the few of them?

  10. Joe Public permalink
    May 6, 2017 11:00 am

    More reality from a couple of days ago:

    “SEC Probes Solar Companies Over Disclosure of Customer Cancellations

    Some customers say they canceled contracts after being strong-armed into solar-energy deals; hundreds of complaints to state attorneys general

    Federal regulators are investigating whether solar-energy companies are masking how many customers they are losing, according to a person familiar with the matter.

    The Securities and Exchange Commission is examining whether San Francisco-based Sunrun Inc. and Elon Musk’s San Mateo, Calif.-based SolarCity Corp. have adequately disclosed how many customers have canceled contracts after signing up for a home solar-energy system, the person said.

    Investors use that cancellation metric as one way to gauge the companies’ health. Companies typically give customers a few days after signing a contract, or even up until the time of installation, to back out of a deal.” [My bold]

  11. Patsy Lacey permalink
    May 6, 2017 2:17 pm

    what became of Elon Musk’s offer to install sufficient batteries to solve Australia’s energy intermittency problem

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: