From all appearances, 2019 marked the liftoff of Tesla’s Energy division. The company marked a 26% quarter-on-quarter increase in solar installations from 43 MW to 54 MW. Storage saw an equally impressive bump on its larger base from 477 MWh installed in Q3 2019 to 530 MWh in Q4 2019.
When Tesla ushered in version 3 of its Solarglass Roof in October, CEO Elon Musk boasted that the new product maintained the striking aesthetic of the earlier versions but had an improved design. Version 3 would improve not only the ease and cost to manufacture the tiles, but the cost and speed to install at the customer location as well. It is exactly that type of winning formula Tesla used to disrupt the automotive industry with a vehicle that raised the bar in just about every way and just happened to be electric.
Looking at the results for just the fourth quarter of 2019, it is clear Tesla finally has taken a moment to come up for air and refocus some of its threadbare resources on its Energy business. Solar installs climbed 26% quarter over quarter. The increase from 43 MW in the third quarter to 54 MW in the fourth highlights Tesla’s relatively low solar installation volume compared to the numbers it was posting when it first acquired SolarCity. Stepping back to look at year-over-year results, solar installations are actually down 26%, as Tesla’s solar installations were still falling in the first half of the year to their ultimate low quarter of 29 MW in Q2 2019.
Energy storage installations saw an equally impressive bump in growth, jumping up from 477 MWh installed in the third quarter to 530 MWh in the fourth. The 11% boost highlights a more mature segment for Tesla, with appeal at multiple levels, compared to its more limited rooftop solar segment. Looking at year-over-year results for storage reveal a staggering 136% growth compared to last year in storage and hint at the possibility that the company is still very much in the early days of tapping into the true market potential of its energy storage products.
If the company is able to truly ramp up the production and installation of its Solarglass Roof tiles, that could flip this narrative on its head, busting down barriers to new markets and new customer segments. Many homeowners and builders will not install solar on their roof because they don’t like the looks of traditional solar panels. Solarglass Roof tiles not only improve the look and durability of the roof as a structural element, they add in the cash cow of photovoltaic solar panels that save many homeowners and businesses money every month.
If history is any guide, Tesla has finally flipped the switch on its energy businesses and is now looking to ramp up its suite of proven products. Looking forward, expect continued growth only hindered by the physical limitations of the industry that cannot otherwise be worked around or streamlined. To this end, Tesla shared that in the coming months, it will bring on other non-Tesla installers for its products to drive further scale and drive more volume in 2020.
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