Solar deployment for Tesla appears to have stagnated in 2021, with its installation numbers hovering around the same amounts seen throughout the year.
Tesla’s third quarter earnings report shows the company deployed 83 megawatts of solar in that time period. This is slightly down from the 85 megawatts installed in the second quarter, but is 46% higher than Q3 of 2020.
The company says the deployment of its Solar Roofs more than doubled year over year and continue to grow sequentially in Q3, but did not provide specific numbers about the product in the report.
“We are making further cost improvements, particularly on the installation side, in order to increase the profitability of our energy division,” Tesla said in its earnings report.
Like other companies, Tesla is feeling the effects of the supply shortage. The global chip shortage is affecting both its electric car and Powerwall production. Tesla is packaging its Powerwall storage product with its Solar Roof and solar panels.
In its Q3 2021 earnings call, Tesla CFO Zachary Kirkhorn said the company has seen the impact of the supply shortage in the form of material price increases, namely in aluminum and nickel. He said it’s possible in the next year there will be more cost headwinds as a result of these shortages.
“What we have to do as a company and what we’re intensely focused on is we need to be continuing to drive down the costs of our products, which we have been doing, and we have to overcome cost increases that are outside of our control,” Kirkhorn said.
Tesla has struggled with the deployment of its Solar Roof product since it was first announced. Earlier this year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company made “significant mistakes” with the product, saying installation has been a complex issue to handle.
Solar Roofs, with their extra technology and circuitry, are more complex to install than typical roofing systems, and when difficult angles or protrusions are present on a roof, the install becomes even more complicated. Musk also noted a roof needs to be strong enough to support the weight of the Solar Roof.
“Production has gone fine, but we are choked at the installation point,” Musk said during the company’s Q1 2021 earnings call.
These complications caused a wave of increased pricing for customers, which the company dubbed as complexity factors. This factor doubled or nearly tripled Solar Roof prices, but Tesla has since agreed to honor prices in contracts signed before the April 2021 price changes.
According to Electrek, Tesla recently removed the claim that its Solar Roof tiles are “3x stronger than standard tiles” from its website. However, the website still says the tiles are “durable, strong and engineered for all-weather protection” and includes a 25-year warranty.
First unveiled in 2016, the electric car company developed a roof solar system that has solar cells integrated into the roof tiles as opposed to traditional solar panels. The company claims its Solar Roof offers weather protection for the home and a pleasing aesthetic while converting solar energy to electricity.