Tesla continues solar recovery as installs more than treble year-on-year

Sales of its Solar Roof product, shown here, were said to have risen significantly, however no precise figures were given. Image: Tesla.

Tesla reported retrofit solar installations of 85MW in Q2 2021, cementing its recovery from a worst-ever performance in the corresponding period last year.

Reporting its Q2 2021 performance late yesterday, Tesla noted that quarterly solar installations more than trebled year-on-year, bouncing back from a second quarter last year when the company installed just 27MW.

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Tesla quarterly solar installations 2017 – 2021. Image: PV Tech.

Tesla also revealed that cash and loan solar deployments had more than quadrupled year-on-year in the quarter, while deployments of its Solar Roof product “grew substantially” both year-on-year and sequentially, however no specific figures for both were included within the disclosure.

The roll-out of Tesla’s Solar Roof product, first launched almost five years ago, has been beset by manufacturing delays and deployment issues. At the company’s last results disclosure in April Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company had made “significant mistakes” in roof assessment processes which had held the product back. It has been reported that problems with the product resulted in the dismissal of Tesla’s former head of its energy division RJ Johnson earlier this year.

Discussion related to the performance of Tesla’s solar business unit during the company’s conference call with analysts was limited, with Musk and his leadership team dedicating the significant majority of the call to both the performance of and manufacturing challenges related to the company’s energy storage division.

As reported by sister publication Energy-Storage.news, energy storage deployments also more than trebled in the second quarter. The company deployed 1,274MWh of energy storage in the three months ending 30 June 2021, a figure only beaten by the 1,584MWh it deployed in Q4 2020.  

Musk noted to analysts that production of energy storage units was being severely hampered by the global semiconductor chip shortage, with the firm devoting much of its attention to its automotive unit as a result. Tesla’s utility-scale energy storage product, the Megapack, is reportedly sold out until 2023.

On the back of a year-on-year trebling of sales in both solar and energy storage, revenues from the division soared to US$801 million, up 116.5% on the US$370 million recorded in Q2 2020. Cost of revenues from the division amounted to US$781 million, meaning the division returned to profit – US$20 million – its first quarterly profit since Q3 2020.

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