First the Model 3 electric car. Now the roof. In 1 week, Tesla has contested two industries with products that were radically new.
Tesla has completed its initial roof installations, the company reported Wednesday as part of a second-quarter earnings report. Exactly like the very first Model 3 customers, who took their keys last week, the roof customers are Tesla employees. By selling to them first, Tesla says it expects to work out any kinks in the sales and installation procedure before taking it to a wider public audience.
“I have them on my home, JB has them on his home,” Musk said, referring to Tesla’s Chief Technology Officer J.B. Straubel. “This is version one. I believe as we just keep iterating this roof will look really knock-out. ”
Tesla opened up its online store in May and began taking $1,000 deposits for smooth black and textured-glass roof tiles that are virtually indistinguishable from high-end roofing. From most viewing angles, the slick modern shingles look like standard materials, but they allow light to pass through onto a solar cell embedded under a tempered surface. The first installations were supposed to start in June. Tesla didn’t say when the actual installations took place.
The business continues to be adopting an Apple Store plan for solar energy because obtaining SolarCity Corp. last year for $2 billion. The idea is to cut down on the high price connected with actively identifying new customers, and rather attract them passively through its upscale auto shops in shopping malls and other high-traffic locations. Initial trials discovered the new approach was 50 to 100 percent more effective than at the very best non-Tesla locations selling SolarCity solutions. Tesla stopped SolarCity’s earnings and is staffing up more than 70 shops for solar sales.
For total solar installations, Tesla rebounded a bit from an first quarter—its first full quarter after it bought SolarCity. It deployed 176 megawatts, up from 150 megawatts the prior quarter, but less than the 201 megawatts that SolarCity installed in the second quarter of 2016. Part of this slowdown may be due to the cessation of door-to-door sales. The company said it expects to see growth.
Production of the tiles began in Tesla’s Fremont solar plant in California, but will change later this year to its own new factory in Buffalo, New York, with additional investments from Tesla’s partner, Panasonic. Musk said that first sales will be restricted by capacity. As production ramps up into 2018, sales will begin in the U.K., Australia, and elsewhere, together with the introduction of further sculpted terra cotta and slate versions of the solar roof, according to previous reports from the business.
Tesla’s basic premise is to make solar ownership more attractive and affordable by removing the requirement to install both a roof solar panels. Tesla says it’ll manage the process of including removal of existing roofs, design, permits, installation, and maintenance, roof installation. The company estimates that every installation will take about a week.
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