The Tesla earnings letter and call today were chock full of details on the work it has been doing in support of Model 3, to integrate and advance the Tesla Solar side of the business since the SolarCity acquisition last year, and to ramp up battery production in support of current and forecasted demand.
On the Tesla Energy side of the business, Tesla tested its theory that solar was a natural fit with Tesla EVs from a sales standpoint in Q1 2017 by piloting the upsell in select stores. It realized increased sales productivity of 50% to 100% compared to the best non-Tesla solar retail locations.
As a result, Tesla is moving to add Tesla Energy staff and training to an additional 70 Tesla stores in the US and around the world. This expansion in sales focus and headcount will occur over the next two quarters with an implicit planned expansion globally as Tesla ramps up its solar sales, supply chain, and installation.
The sales pilot comes at a critical time for Tesla, which is currently preparing for production of the solar roof tiles in parallel to the ramp up of Gigafactory 2, which has been to date a solar panel factory for SolarCity.
The roof tiles will see their first installations this summer as part of the plans shared in October of last year. Elon shared in his Ted Talk in Vancouver that the roof tiles were also expected to be extremely durable, to the point where he expected that they would outlast the home they were covering. This is a massive improvement on composite shingle roofs (which have a paltry 15–20 year expected life), metal rooftops (which have a 50 year expected life), or Spanish tile roofs (which last somewhere in the range of 15–30 years depending on the weather).
Given this sizable advantage over the competition in the base function of covering the house alone, it seems logical that all new premium houses would have Tesla Solar shingles installed as the preferred option without even taking into account the benefits of the rooftop solar they also just happen to generate. This “build a better car” model is the same as what Tesla did with the Model S, where buyers were drawn to it because it was simply better in every way than the competition … and it just so happened to be electric.
The revolution is happening, folks, and the story is unfolding one earnings call at a time.
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