TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Tesla can now sell residential solar equipment leases in Florida following a key ruling by the Florida Public Service Commission Tuesday.
The commission issued a declaratory statement that said Tesla’s residential solar equipment lease (through Tesla’s SolarLease) does not constitute a sale of electricity.
Further, the Florida PSC said the offering the equipment to customers in Florida would not cause Tesla to be a public utility under state law and that the leases would not subject Tesla or its customers to commission regulation.
Per the Florida PSC, its “rules have long allowed leasing of renewable energy equipment, as long as the lessor is not effectively selling electricity to the customer. Homeowners can purchase or lease equipment to generate electricity for personal use and also benefit from interconnection and net metering with their local utility.”
Tuesday’s decision marks the third time in the last year that the Florida PSC has determined that a solar equipment lease is not a retail sale of electricity. Other companies to receive decisions in their favor have been Sunrun Inc. and Vivint Solar Developer Inc.
“While today’s declaration is limited to the facts in Tesla’s petition, companies operating under the same facts can rely upon this declaration as well,” said PSC Chairman Art Graham.
Overall, Tesla has been touting plans to ramp up its solar roofing business in the last six months.
The company started producing its photovoltaic glass tiles in December 2017 at a newly built factory in Buffalo, N.Y.
“We are steadily ramping solar roof production in Buffalo and are also continuing to iterate on the product design and production process, learning from our early factory production and field installations,” the company said in its letter issued with second quarter results last year.
“We plan to ramp production more toward the end of 2018 and are working hard to simplify the production and installation process before deploying significant capital into factory automation,” the company also stated.
Further, the company filed a patent for colored variants of solar shingles in November.
According to the Tesla website, the company’s “solar roof consists of uniquely designed glass tiles that complement the aesthetics of any home, embedded with the highest efficiency photovoltaic cells. It is infinitely customizable for a variety of different home styles, each uniquely engineered so that the photovoltaic cells are invisible. Customers can choose which sections of their roof will contain the hidden solar technology while still having the entire roof look the same. These new roofs will seamlessly and beautifully supply renewable energy to homes, battery storage systems and back into the grid creating savings for owners. When combined with Tesla Powerwall, the solar roof can power an entire home with 100 percent renewable energy.”