Elon Musk Relaunches Tesla Solar: ‘Like a Money Printer on Your Roof’

Samantha Chang @Samantha_Chang
August 18, 2019 15:45 UTC

Elon Musk relaunched Tesla’s residential solar-power service and claimed that it could save you about $500 a year. Indeed, Musk gushed that it’s “like having a money printer on your roof.”

Musk acquired SolarCity in 2016, but the business has struggled under his leadership. With the relaunch, Tesla Solar has aggressively slashed prices to undercut its competition.

This is all part of Musk’s grand vision to make Tesla the Holy Grail of the solar industry.

Elon Musk claims you can save $500 a year

According to Tesla’s website, you can rent solar power panels or solar roofs for as little as $50 a month.

That cost includes panel installation, hardware, and ongoing maintenance. There’s no upfront cost for the installation, and you’re not locked into a long-term contract.

Musk claims you can save about $500 a year off your utility bills with Tesla Solar, and you can cancel the service anytime. However, if you want the panels removed, it’ll cost $1,500. Tesla underscored that it does not make a profit on solar panel/roof removals.

Tesla says its solar panels and roofs complement your home’s architecture while turning sunlight into electricity. | Source: Tesla

In June, Musk tweeted that he hopes to manufacture about 1,000 solar rooftops a week by the end of 2019.

After leading the field for years, Tesla’s Solar segment is now trailing its competition. For the first quarter of 2019, Tesla tumbled to third place for solar installations in the United States.

According to energy consulting firm Wood Mackenzie, Tesla installed 6.3% of U.S. residential solar capacity, falling behind rivals Vivint Solar and Sunrun. The top three residential solar installers combined accounted for 25% of all new U.S. residential capacity in the first quarter.

This is a catastrophic plunge from Tesla Solar’s peak, when it alone accounted for more than a third of the entire U.S. residential solar market.

Tesla’s solar business has been losing market share. | Source: Wood Mackenzie

Elon: Go Big or Go Home

In April, Wood Mackenzie’s solar analyst Austin Perea said he believed that Tesla had essentially “thrown in the towel” on pursuing growth in the residential solar space because it concluded that acquiring customers is simply too expensive.

However, Elon Musk has apparently not given up, as evidenced by his aggressive re-launch of Tesla Solar this week.

Musk has legions of fans around the world for his visionary, outside-the-box thinking and grand ambitions. But critics argue that Musk might do better to focus his energy instead of haphazardly splitting it among different ventures.

Earlier this week, Musk renewed his calls to “nuke Mars” to prepare it for exploration. As CCN reported, Musk wants to colonize Mars while simultaneously dominating the electric-car market and crushing his solar rivals into the ground.

Think that sounds crazy? Elon Musk begs to differ. “Don’t let anything hold you back. Imagination is the limit,” he said in 2012 at Cal Tech (see video). “Go out there and create some magic.”

Last modified: September 8, 2019 17:17 UTC