Solar deployment for Tesla has increased year-to-year but isn’t looking as bright compared to the previous quarter, according to the automaker’s Q1 2023 earnings report released on April 19.
In its reporting, Tesla deployed 67 megawatts of solar, a 40% increase over the same time period last year. This is down, however, by 33% from Q4 2022, when it deployed 100 megawatts. The report blames this drop on “volatile weather and other factors.”
“In addition, the solar industry has been impacted by supply chain challenges,” the earnings report states.
As with previous earnings reports, Tesla does not quantify how much of the deployment were traditional solar products versus its Solar Roof. However, a report from energy analytics firm Wood Mackenzie released in late March estimated that approximately 3,000 Solar Roofs have been installed nationwide since 2016.
Tesla originally aimed to manufacture 1,000 Solar Roofs per week in late 2019 and announced an installation goal of 1,000 Solar Roofs per week in 2020. According to Wood Mackenzie, the average installations per week were just 21 in 2022, with the first quarter being the largest in 2022, with an average of 32 systems per week.
Tesla Solar responded to the study in a tweet, saying it is “incorrect by a large margin.”
Even if it’s at a slower rate than anticipated, Solar Roof installations are continuing, including the first-ever international installation of a Solar Roof. Florida-based Kelly Roofing, a certified installer of Tesla Solar Roofs, announced the completion of a roof on the island of Nevis in the West Indies earlier this month.
“This job is the payoff of years of work and innovation, it’s incredible to watch it come to life,” said Kelly Roofing President Ken Kelly in a written statement. “Our team has been working with Tesla on building the Solar Roof deployment process from the ground up since they began developing it in 2019. Roofing innovation is what we do. It’s what we’ve been known for for the last 50 years at Kelly Roofing. This client, and this job have brought us to a new level and let us begin to really see the fruit of that labor.”
Tesla is still moving forward with certifying roofing contractors as well, with Elliott Roofing in Oklahoma City becoming the first certified installer in the region in late March.
Although solar news was a mixed bag in the report, energy storage saw significant increases. Compared to Q1 2022, deployment increased by 360% to 3,889 megawatt-hours. This is the highest level of deployments the company has experienced, which it attributes to ramping up production at its megafactories. This deployment was a 58% increase from the previous quarter’s 2,462 megawatt-hours.
“We will get to the point where we, as a company, provide guidance on the storage business,” said Zach Kirkhorn, Tesla CFO. “I say storage is a combination of both the Megapack business and the Powerwall business. Relative to total revenues of the company, it's still fairly small. And the business has a lot of volatility currently, both in terms of volumes as well as financials just given the small volumes and diversification of the customer pool there.”
First unveiled in 2016, Tesla's Solar Roof system has solar cells integrated into durable glass tiles versus traditional solar panels. The company claims its Solar Roof system offers weather protection for the home and a pleasing aesthetic while converting solar energy to electricity.