Tesla loses head of energy operations

Tesla’s head of energy operations has left the company amid an important growth phase for the ‘Tesla Energy’ division.

RJ Johnson

RJ Johnson was a US Army officer who graduated from West Point in civil engineering.

When leaving the service in 2007, he joined NextEra, a large electric utility company operating throughout the US and Canada.

He spent over a decade at the company, where he held several leadership positions before leaving to join Tesla last year.

Johnson first joined Tesla as the head of commercial energy before being promoted to lead overall energy operations last summer.

Colby Hastings replaced him as head of commercial energy operations.

Over the last few months, Electrek heard rumors that Johnson wasn’t at Tesla anymore, but we couldn’t confirm it until now.

Johnson has updated his LinkedIn profile to confirm that he left Tesla, and he is now working at a startup in stealth mode in the renewable energy and storage space.

Tesla Energy

Johnson is leaving Tesla Energy at a critical time for the energy division of the popular electric automaker.

On the solar front, Tesla finally started to turns things around in the last few quarters after years of decline.

Last quarter, Tesla deployed 92 MW of solar power — significantly up from the all-time low of 27 MW that happened in Q2 2020.

That was really encouraging, but there’s still a lot of work to do on the solar front, especially to ramp up solar roof tiles, a program that was again hit with bad news earlier this year when it received a significant price increase.

On the energy storage front, Tesla has seen consistent growth for years and with a record deployment of 3 GWh of storage capacity last year.

There’s still a lot more growing to do with energy storage as Tesla is trying to secure more battery supply to ramp up Powerwall production.

The Megapack has also quickly become a very popular product with electric utilities over the last few years and won Tesla several large energy storage projects, like the new world’s biggest battery project at the Moss Landing station in California.

For now, Tesla’s energy division only represents a fraction of the revenue that its automotive business brings in, but CEO Elon Musk said that “Tesla Energy is becoming a distributed global utility and could outgrow its automotive business.”

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