Elon Musk Insists Tesla Solar Is ‘Guaranteed Instant Money Printer’

Samantha Chang @Samantha_Chang
September 8, 2019 17:05 UTC

Elon Musk insists that Tesla solar panels and roofs are “unequivocally a guaranteed instant money printer” despite the recent fires they allegedly caused.

Musk tweeted that Tesla Solar can save you $300 to $1,000 a year off your utility bills.

For the remainder of September, Tesla is also waiving its $1,500 solar removal fee. Musk pointed out that customers can halt monthly payments at any time.

Musk: Tesla solar can save you up to $1,000 a year

Last month, Elon Musk gushed that TSLA solar panels were “like having a money printer on your roof.” Musk made the bold claims while relaunching Tesla’s solar business.

According to the company’s website, you can rent solar power panels or solar roofs for as little as $50 a month. That cost includes installation and ongoing maintenance. And you’re not locked into a long-term contract.

However, if you want the panels removed, it would cost $1,500. Now Musk is backpedaling, saying Tesla will waive the removal fee for the remainder of September.

Tesla Solar has struggled under Musk

After leading the field for years, Tesla Solar started lagging behind its competition.

For the first quarter of 2019, Tesla sank to third place for solar installations in the United States, according to energy consulting firm Wood Mackenzie.

The top three residential solar installers combined accounted for 25% of all new U.S. residential capacity in the first quarter. That’s a dramatic collapse from Tesla’s peak, when it alone accounted for more than a third of the U.S. residential solar market.

Tesla solar has been losing market share under Elon Musk. | Source: Wood Mackenzie

Musk acquired SolarCity in 2016, but the business has been struggling under his leadership. With the recent relaunch, Tesla slashed prices to undercut its competition.

Unfortunately, Walmart sued Tesla just days after its solar relaunch. In its lawsuit, Walmart claimed that the solar panels caused fires at seven stores between 2012 and 2018.

It’s unclear why Walmart waited until Musk relaunched his solar business to file a lawsuit for seven fires that allegedly occurred years ago.

David Einhorn: ‘Elon Musk should resign’

Amid the debacle, hedge fund billionaire David Einhorn tweeted that “Elon Musk should resign.”

Einhorn is a notorious short-seller who has been shorting Tesla stock for years. So if TSLA tanks, he makes money.

David Einhorn demanded that Elon Musk resign amid the Tesla Solar fire debacle.  | Source: screenshots

The animosity between Einhorn and Musk has been brewing for years. In April 2019, Einhorn gloated that “the wheels are coming off ” at Tesla. At the time, Einhorn cheerfully chirped that Tesla was imploding.

Einhorn — whose net worth tops $1.5 billion — is a hedge fund titan who’s among the most closely watched investors on Wall Street.

In 2018, Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital had its worst year since its 1996 launch. Part of the reason why Greenlight lost 34% last year was that Einhorn made huge bets against Tesla.

Tesla had a shaky 2018 but was still the best-performing auto stock for that year. That caused short-sellers like David Einhorn to lose millions.

Einhorn is shorting Tesla again this year. But TSLA is having a rough 2019, so maybe he might actually make some money.

Last modified: September 8, 2019 21:19 UTC

Samantha Chang @Samantha_Chang

Samantha Chang is a New York City-based financial editor who writes about crypto and business at . She is a law school grad and an alum of the University of Pennsylvania. You can reach her on Twitter at Samantha Chang or email her at schang121@juno.com.