Speaking at TED “The Future You” in Vancouver on Friday, Elon Musk revealed that the company’s on track to begin selling two of the four Tesla Solar Roof selections this year. The company said during its announcement of the Solar Roof shingles last fall that customers would have a choice of four styles –textured glass, smooth glass, French slate, and Tuscan glass. “Yeah we are starting off with two initially and then the second two will be introduced early next year,” Musk said.
Musk did not identify which two of the four styles will be made available, but we will soon find out.
In a separate announcement, Bloomberg reports that SolarCity will no longer sell its products door-to-door. “After careful consideration, we believe this decision reflects what most of our prospective customers prefer, and will result in a better experience for them.” Tesla said in an e-mail statement. Rooftop solar installations have slowed in many areas of the country, due in part to changes in policies by utility companies.
Instead, Tesla will leverage its global network of storefront galleries as a sales channel for its home energy line of products.
Until recently, residential solar customers have been able to sell any excess electricity back to the grid at retail rates, a process known as “net metering.” The practice has come under fire by utility companies as the number of residential solar systems have risen. As a result, the amount of money paid to customers for their electricity has decreased substantially or been eliminated entirely.
A report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance last December projected residential rooftop installations in the US would grow by only 3 percent this year versus 64 percent two years ago. The decrease in or elimination of net metering payments is one factor favoring the addition of a home storage battery such as the Tesla Powerwall 2 to a residential solar system. That way, any excess electricity can be stored on-site and used as needed in the home rather than sending it back to the grid.
SolarCity said the “vast majority” of its outside sales force would be reassigned or permitted to apply for other positions within the company. SolarCity currently has nearly 30,000 employees.