Tesla reported a 38% decline in solar system installations in the third quarter of 2017. Image: Tesla

Tesla reported a 38% decline in solar system installations in the third quarter of 2017. Image: Tesla

Tesla reported a 38% decline in solar system installations in the third quarter of 2017, compared to the previous quarter, its weakest installation figures since the acquisition of SolarCity in 2016. 

Tesla said it deployed 109MW of energy generation systems in the third quarter, down from 176MW in the second quarter and down from 170MW in the prior year period. The company is losing major market share in the process.

The company said that the significant decline in installations was due to a deliberate strategy to move away from commercial and industrial rooftop installations as these generated the lowest profit margins and limited cash generation, according to the company. 

However, Tesla had also made a strategic decision to shift residential rooftop sales to internal car sales showrooms in the US, although this plan is still under development, while a growing number of former SolarCity direct sales staff have been made redundant, as well as installers, could also be behind the 38% quarter-on-quarter decline in installations. 

Tesla is losing major market share.

Tesla is losing major market share.

A more positive trend was that around 46% of residential rooftop systems deployed in the third quarter were outright sales, rather than leased, up from 31% in the first quarter of 2017 and up from 13% in the prior year period.

Energy storage deployments were also boosted by a few decent sized projects under development. Tesla said it deployed 110MWh of energy storage systems, growing 12% from the prior quarter and increasing 138% year-over-year, driven mainly by increased Powerwall deliveries.

Energy generation and storage revenue increased 11% in the third quarter to US$317.5 million and a 1,261% increase year-over-year. Image: Tesla

Energy generation and storage revenue increased 11% in the third quarter to US$317.5 million and a 1,261% increase year-over-year. Image: Tesla

Energy generation and storage revenue increased 11% in the third quarter to US$317.5 million and a 1,261% increase year-over-year. 

Gross margin for the Energy generation and storage segment was 25.3%, as compared to 28.9% in the previous quarter as energy storage products are becoming a larger mix of revenue as solar declines.

Tesla also updated on the slow pace of its rollout of complete roofing systems, saying solar roof installations would initially ramp slowly in the fourth quarter of 2017 as the production process moved from Fremont to Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, New York State. 

Tesla claimed that production of the complete roofing system would ramp ‘considerably’ in 2018.

Tags: tesla, pv power plants, solar-plus-storage, usa, residential rooftop

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