Elon Musk Admits: "Significant Mistakes" Were Made with the Solar Roof. Where Do Consumers Go from Here?
Alex "Solar Girl" Steele
As a well-established solar energy company with experience installing a variety of photovoltaic equipment, we are used to answering questions about the quality and trustworthiness of brands and their products. We’ve worked with a number of manufacturers over the years, and we’re not afraid to honestly communicate our opinion on the value of a product if we feel it would not serve our clients well. We’ve also stopped installing certain products when quality or availability changes, because we want to prioritize client experience and ensure that we are delivering products that will give our customers the best possible return on their investment, even if that means learning new installation techniques or adopting different technologies.
We are often asked our opinions on Tesla PV equipment. Tesla has become a household name over the years, with segments in the automotive, energy generation, and energy storage spaces. Their products are so popular that wait lists to purchase their cars, solar energy systems and batteries often stretch on for months, or even years! However, insiders in the solar energy industry know that a lot of this popularity is purely hype, and that’s why we typically advise against purchasing a Tesla solar roof system. The name recognition associated with Tesla skyrocketed demand for their products for years, but a combination of safety controversies, consumer complaints, and news from the company’s leaders is resulting in a mass exodus from the Tesla trend.
In a recent conference call between Tesla executives, CEO Elon Musk admitted that there were “significant mistakes” made in the execution of the Tesla Solar Roof project, including delays, unforeseen cost increases, and struggles to procure labor and meet demand. While the company is scrambling to meet the massive demand for Solar Roofs, their distribution efforts are falling far behind. The Solar Roof product has still not been rolled out at scale, despite being unveiled in 2016. Many customers who signed contracts and put down deposits years ago are still waiting to be installed, and there are some cases of prospective customers having their contracts cancelled after Tesla determines they cannot actually service their area or install on their property.
Although the company has already brought in $494 million in solar sales in the first quarter of 2021, the energy production and storage branch of Tesla is still not profitable. This stems from a number of issues, including challenges related to assessing the structure and condition of client roofs, and difficulty accommodating the diversity of roof shapes and architecture styles across the country. Unforeseen structural issues or unique roof shapes can massively increase the price of the system - sometimes doubling or even tripling the initial cost! Some clients are reporting increases of tens of thousands of dollars on systems that are nowhere close to being installed. Tesla is refunding deposits for homeowners who can’t accommodate such an unreasonable price hike, but that’s not doing the company any favors in terms of consumer trust or morale.
A slurry of bad press related to Tesla products has made headlines lately, putting another notch in the company’s reputation. A case has come to light about a customer who originally signed a contract for a Tesla Solar Roof priced at $35,000 was later notified that his system would actually cost $75,000 to complete. There have also been several high-profile cases of Tesla “self-driving” vehicles getting into serious accidents, injuring and even killing people. Combine that with the numerous lawsuits related to rooftop fires on Tesla rooftop solar equipment at commercial locations such as Walmart and Amazon, and a recipe for notoriety is complete. Tesla’s shares dropped significantly last week, and Elon Musk’s net worth followed close behind.
If you felt beguiled by the aesthetically pleasing Tesla Solar Roof marketing, you’re not alone… But you don’t have to commit to making a mistake just because thousands of other people have done it. When a company fails to provide high quality service and reliable product, it’s natural for consumers to look for other options. That’s where Solar Wolf Energy comes in.
Solar Wolf Energy is a national leader in superior quality solar energy and battery storage installations. In addition to our technical expertise and well-established reputation throughout our service territory, we also work with the highest quality solar equipment on the planet: SunPower. SunPower Maxeon cells produce 60% more power than leading competitor’s modules over the lifetime of a system, and the panels are also stronger and more aesthetically attractive than the rest. Thanks to Solar Wolf’s strategic partnership with SunPower, we can offer clients the most affordable rates for SunPower products on the market, and we can also provide a variety of purchasing options such as leases and PPA’s for folks who aren’t able to finance or buy outright.
Next time you hear someone talking about putting down a deposit for a Tesla Solar Roof, show them some of the horror stories about working with the company that are easily accessible online. Then, direct them to Solar Wolf Energy, so they can back away before it’s too late and get started working with an honest solar company that knows how to accurately assess the condition of a roof!