JB Straubel: Tesla solar will be 'aggressively ramping’

With so much emphasis on the Model 3, will Tesla's solar efforts finally begin to gain traction? According to USA Today, "The company is going to double down on selling solar through its 110 U.S. Tesla stores, which it has reconfigured in past months to ensure that Powerwall is on prominent display and in-house solar experts, some of whom worked Home Depot aisles for Tesla, are at the ready." 

Above: Solar panel sales are being actively promoted within Tesla's own stores now (Image: Tesla)

In an interview with USA Today, JB Straubel, Tesla's co-founder and CTO says, "No one should see us as stepping back from solar, in fact, it’s the opposite. It’s like with Model 3. People have come flooding in and are waiting on the product. So now we’re aggressively ramping our capacity."

Tesla has eliminated door-to-door solar sales and is currently phasing out its partnership (selling its solar products) with Home Depot. Instead, Tesla is consolidating its external solar sales efforts and bringing it all in-house. Straubel explains, "We’re focused intently on the customer experience, not on having a higher market share... We’re looking at the bigger picture."

To accompany Tesla's solar sales, the company is also pushing it's Powerwall home energy storage product. Although Tesla wouldn't disclose the level of demand for Powerwall, Straubel admits “it’s a big success,” particularly in Australia and Europe, and its deliveries currently prioritize customers who have purchased both solar and Powerwall.

Above: Solar roof tiles cover the garage of a Model S owner parked next to two Tesla Powerwalls (Image: Tesla)

Plans are in place for a production push right now to produce Tesla's solar panels. However, Straubel notes that the production ramp for Tesla's solar roof tiles are further out — expected to accelerate next year. USA Today notes, "All of that means if you're interested in going solar with Tesla right now, you'll have to be patient."

Further delaying matters, "some of [Tesla's] current solar capacity also has been siphoned off by high-profile efforts such as helping Puerto Rico switch to solar power in the wake of last year's hurricane."

Nevertheless, Tesla's fans are anxiously awaiting the company's solar offerings. USA Today spoke with solar energy blogger, Jon Weaver, who says, "the feeling is if you want the hottest and latest stuff, you have to go with Elon. The hope is still that he’ll deliver all of this at a price that works for the masses.”

Above: A look at Tesla's solar panels and Powerwall (Image: Tesla

Straubel insists that remains a safe bet.

"We’re not worried," he says. "The growth ahead will be enormous.”


Source: USA Today