When Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) bought SolarCity in 2016 for $ 2.6 billion, it was planned to create an energy plant that could drive the future of renewables. People could buy solar, energy storage and electric vehicles under one roof and have a fully integrated energy solution. To separate the ties from the grid was not far away.
Less than three years after completion of the acquisition, Tesla's solar business is a shell of its former self and is losing ground. It looks as if the solar thermal will continue to be in retrospect, as Tesla wants to stabilize its vehicle business.
Tesla's Snaking Strategy for Selling Solar Energy
When Elon Musk announced in late February, Tesla would close down most of its retail locations (a move later) it was a shock to the people watching the car business, but on the energy side The business should have been even more shocking. Among other things, Musk argued when buying SolarCity that he was able to move sales to the Tesla showrooms and pair more car sales with solar and energy storage to leverage the product ecosystem and retail infrastructure to increase sales and costs to lower. To this end, Tesla closed door-to-door sales, which accounted for most of SolarCity's revenue, and moved Solar into several showrooms. The strategy has not been successful so far, as solar panels fell like a rock, but Musk continued to argue that solar ultimately turns the corner and showrooms are the key to solar growth.
During the announcement of fourth-quarter earnings in 2018, Musk said:
In the fourth quarter, we installed 73MW of solar retrofit systems, down 21% sequentially. We are still converting our distribution channel from former partners to our Tesla stores and training our sales team to sell solar panels as well as vehicles.
Less than a month later, this argument died when trade closures were announced. Even if the closures do not always happen. Tesla obviously has no strategy for selling solar energy and this has become a total successor to the company.
What is Tesla doing in the world with energy?
Tesla could be one of the most innovative companies in the energy sector if it makes some efforts. It has a large solar factory in Buffalo, New York (reportedly largely unused) and innovative products such as solar roof and powerwall. However, with both products on the market, it has little impact, and there is no clear sales or manufacturing strategy.
While Tesla is fighting, focused competitors such as Sunrun and SunPower are focusing more on their market share and increasing market share in the US. Both now have their own energy storage products that connect to solar systems Tesla said this would happen with SolarCity.
Tesla was never really an energy company.
As much as it made sense for Tesla and SolarCity at first glance, Tesla Energie never took it seriously. When it came to boosting the car business, it was increasingly important to win the automotive business. This makes it difficult to grow and innovate in a competitive industry like solar energy.
At the end of the day, Tesla's snaking energy strategy is likely to bring his solar business to a standstill. Just a few months ago, Retail Solar was the future, just to be put on the chopping block without finding a clear replacement. How should workers or customers take Tesla Energy seriously if Tesla itself does not seem to take solar seriously? That's a question Elon Musk has to answer before I would take tens of thousands of dollars to put Tesla's energy products in my house, and from what Tesla's solar dismantling looks like, other customers have the same reservations.