Elon Musk Hints Solar & Storage Income Could Exceed Income From Vehicles

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Here’s the long and short of it: In the third quarter of this year, Tesla took in $5.35 billion from the sale of its electric cars. Adding in solar, energy storage, and other products and services, total revenue amounted to $6.3 billion. During the Q3 earnings call, regarding the currently less substantial energy revenue, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said, “It (non-automotive income) could be bigger, but it will certainly be of a similar magnitude,” Musk said.

Tesla Energy
Credit: Tesla Energy

Tesla does not break out how much money it makes from each of those other three categories. However, during the past couple of years, the company has prioritized battery production over solar energy in order to meet the needs of its Model 3 sedans. “We had to do it because if we didn’t solve the Model 3, Tesla wouldn’t survived,” Musk said. “So, unfortunately that shorted other parts of the company.”

In Q3, Tesla deployed 43 megawatts of rooftop solar, a 48% increase from the previous quarter, but that’s still 54% lower than in the same period last year, as TechCrunch pointed out. Energy storage continued to grow, reaching an all-time high of 477 MWh in Q3, according to the Wednesday earnings report.

Tesla has taken steps to crank up its energy storage business. Recently, the company promoted Kunal Girotra, who initially joined the company in 2015 as a senior product manager for the Powerwall residential battery, to senior director of the company’s energy operations. He was on the shareholder conference call a few times this week.

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The so-called Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, New York, has received plenty of negative press attention over the past few years. The splashy reveal of the company’s Solar Roof two years ago was supposed to lead to a surge in production at GF2, but so far, production of the Solar Roof has lagged far behind expectations.

Tesla has promised a major new announcement about what it calls Version 3 of the Solar Roof is coming today, Friday. Kyle Field will be covering that news as it happens and we’ll again livestream the audio here on CleanTechnica (event time is 2pm PT, 5 pm ET). Suffice to say that if Tesla does not ramp up operations at the Buffalo factory, it will have to repay the State of New York millions of dollars the state put up to get the GF2 project off the ground.

One can presume Elon knows about the situation and is taking appropriate steps to meet the terms of Tesla’s agreements with New York. Hopefully he will share some of those ideas with us during the upcoming Solar Roof announcement.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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