While Tesla acquired SolarCity over 5 months ago, it focused on keeping “business as usual” and it only recently started absorbing the solar installer more aggressively into its operations.
Now we learn that the company is shutting down its door-to-door solar sales operations, which has over 1,000 salespeople, in order to integrate the solar offering into Tesla’s own sale channels, mainly its stores and online.
There have been a lot of changes at the executive levels as SolarCity’s leadership took different roles within Tesla and some were let go. SolarCity’s workforce was reduced by about 20% in 2016 during the acquisition of the company.
Now they are turning to the sales channels.
The move was first reported by Reuters and Tesla sent us the following statement about it:
“As part of the integration with SolarCity, we have decided to eliminate our door-to-door sales channel for our energy products. After careful consideration, we believe this decision reflects what most of our prospective customers prefer, and will result in a better experience for them. We have recently begun to expand our retail and online channels for energy products, and we expect the growth of these channels to end up more than offsetting the loss of door-to-door sales. The vast majority of affected employees will be reassigned or provided an opportunity to interview for other positions that will help support our expanded retail efforts, the overall success of the company, and the delivery of new solar and storage products across the country.”
The company recently launched an updated version of its ‘Tesla Energy’ section on its website to include not only its energy storage solutions but also new solar panels and solar roof tile products.
Customers can order or request a quote directly from Tesla’s website and that’s apparently generating enough lead for Tesla not to have to continue its door-to-door model.
Furthermore, Tesla is also preparing to integrate its solar products into its stores in order to profit from its high foot traffic locations.
The integration of SolarCity’s operations in Tesla’s distribution network was presented as a central part of the logic behind the acquisition since Tesla has a lot of retail locations in SolarCity’s markets.
Tesla’s own solar products, both solar tiles and panels, are still a few months away from production, but the company keeps installing solar projects under SolarCity’s usual business model. We should have a much better idea of Tesla’s plan for the commercialization of its own products relatively soon.
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