Tesla cancels solar projects en masse, scales back solar division

Tesla has canceled solar projects en masse across the US as the company says that it is shutting down its solar operations in some markets.

After years of its solar business slowing down since acquiring it through taking over SolarCity in 2016, Tesla’s solar division was finally getting some momentum over the last few quarters.

Tesla achieved a record US residential solar deployment in Q2 2022. Last quarter, Tesla also had a strong performance with 94 MW of solar power deployed – up 13% year-over-year.

However, the momentum was not without issue as Tesla had to stop scheduling solar roof projects in most markets in Q3. The automaker focused on deploying the product on new construction projects, like a large one in Austin.

Now we learn that Tesla is canceling many solar projects, including some in advanced stages, and the company is saying that it shutting down operations in some markets.

Over the last three days, Electrek has received half a dozen reports from Tesla Solar customers who have been informed by the company that Tesla would not be moving forward with their projects and canceling the order.

Those customers all received this email from Tesla this week:

Thank you for your interest in Tesla solar. Upon further review of your project, our team has determined that your home is in an area we no longer service. As we cannot complete your order, we have processed your cancellation. You will receive a full refund of any collected deposit within 7-10 business days to the card on file.

This includes customers who had solar panels or solar roofs on order and even some projects that were already designed and permitted. Based on social media channel checks, hundreds of Tesla customers are likely in this situation.

In the email, Tesla writes that it is no longer servicing the areas where those customers are located. We have received reports from customers in major solar markets including the greater Los Angeles area, Northern California, Oregon, and Florida.

The fact that Tesla wouldn’t be covering those areas would be a significant change of strategy as the company has previously talked about only expanding its solar division.

Electrek also learned that Tesla has laid off a number of employees in its solar scheduling, planning, and design department.

In the email to customers, Tesla refers them to “Tesla Certified Installers” in their area.

We previously reported on Tesla’s certified installer program. It started with roofing companies trained to install Tesla’s solar roof, but lately, Tesla has also certified solar panel installers to deploy the company’s “Tesla Energy” ecosystem.

Electrek’s Take

Considering the cancellations, referring to third-party installers, and the layoffs in its own solar planning department, it looks like Tesla might be calling back its own solar installations and instead plans to supply third-party installers.

This would be a significant change in strategy and one of those bits of news where I’d love to reach out to Tesla to ask them what is happening, but you know, Tesla doesn’t need a press relation department according to Elon Musk…

In the meantime, it’s not a good look for Tesla to leave customers who spent time and even money on moving these projects forward – and now they are back to square one.

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Fred Lambert

Fred is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at Electrek.

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