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Tesla responsible for slide in U.S. home solar sales

Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:45 pm
by GRA
Via ABG:
Tesla responsible for slide in U.S. home solar sales
Installations fall this year for the first time after previous annual increases of 50 percent
https://www.autoblog.com/2017/12/15/tes ... lar-sales/
After years of double-digit growth, home solar installations in the United States are poised to fall for the first time this year, according to a report released on Thursday by GTM Research. The reason? An analysis of installation data suggests that most of the slowdown is traceable to a single company: Tesla, which acquired sister company SolarCity about a year ago.

For years, SolarCity, with early backing from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, was the biggest player in residential solar and the driving force behind that market's supercharged growth. When Tesla bought SolarCity last year, Musk called the acquisition a "no-brainer," saying the two companies shared "the same overarching goal of sustainable energy." But under Tesla's ownership, the company has largely stopped its aggressive marketing campaigns and ambitious expansion.

As a result, Tesla's rooftop solar installations have fallen sharply each quarter this year compared to last. In the third quarter, installations were off by 42 percent over the previous year.

Tesla declined to comment for this story, but has previously said that while sales are down, margins are up. The company expects its fourth-quarter solar installation numbers to be higher than those of the third quarter.

Overall, the residential solar market is expected to fall 13 percent this year, according to GTM's U.S. PV Leaderboard report. That compares with a 19 percent rise last year and four straight years before that of increases above 50 percent.

SolarCity was responsible for an outsized portion of that growth, accounting for a quarter of the national market in 2016 and more than 30 percent the previous two years. By the third quarter of this year, its share had dropped to 14 percent, according to the GTM report. . . .

Re: Tesla responsible for slide in U.S. home solar sales

Posted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:06 pm
by Evoforce
Our local power company is responsible for the fall of solar installs.

Re: Tesla responsible for slide in U.S. home solar sales

Posted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:14 am
by HIOJim
Evoforce wrote:Our local power company is responsible for the fall of solar installs.
How so?

Re: Tesla responsible for slide in U.S. home solar sales

Posted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:33 am
by EVDRIVER
Like many utilities that have eliminated incentives, made the process difficult, and change solar rate programs to benefit the utility. A PGE person told me they are making it worse because they needed solar for peak demand savings and now that so many customers have solar it no longer benefits them and just hurts their revenue. Pretty clear why since I have not paid an electric bill in 10 years except for the meter charge. They intend to sunset my present rate plan to something that benefits them of course.

Re: Tesla responsible for slide in U.S. home solar sales

Posted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:24 am
by SageBrush
SC had a non sustainable business plan due to customer acquisitions costs and less profitable production credits. Reigning in the too expensive growth was a given once Tesla took over.

Re: Tesla responsible for slide in U.S. home solar sales

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:26 pm
by armmynissanleaf
It's not only Tesla. Here is how Ford and Chevy did.

https://www.torquenews.com/1083/follow- ... howd-we-do

Re: Tesla responsible for slide in U.S. home solar sales

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 6:18 am
by GetOffYourGas
armmynissanleaf wrote:It's not only Tesla. Here is how Ford and Chevy did.

https://www.torquenews.com/1083/follow- ... howd-we-do
I was not aware that Ford or Chevy were selling home solar panels...

Re: Tesla responsible for slide in U.S. home solar sales

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:20 am
by LKK
I think the new rates currently being imposed by the utilities on residential solar is the main reason for declining solar sales.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles ... capitalism

Tesla is actually one of the good guys, they produce the Powerwall 2 battery which can work with solar systems to negate the onerous rates imposed by utilities by simply storing excess solar power and drawing from the battery instead of the grid when there is no sun.

Re: Tesla responsible for slide in U.S. home solar sales

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 7:49 pm
by rmay635703
In 5 years off grid will be at grid parity assuming you get heat from something other than electricity.

In some areas I have a strong suspicion we are already there.

Just opt out if they want to continue increasing profits in an era of reducing electrical use and increasing home production.

Re: Tesla responsible for slide in U.S. home solar sales

Posted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 6:50 am
by RegGuheert
rmay635703 wrote:In 5 years off grid will be at grid parity assuming you get heat from something other than electricity.

In some areas I have a strong suspicion we are already there.
Certainly there is already parity for net-metered on-grid systems with storage in places like Hawaii. Tesla PowerWall 2 is on the order of US$0.15/kWh now and that will continue to drop. The difference with being completely off-grid comes in when you have a big seasonal mismatch between production and load. But, as you say, that difference is largely related to heating.

Unfortunately, the bottom line is that they force EVERYONE to pay more for electricity with these changes, even those who produce an amount of electricity equivalent to their usage. Yes, I get that net metering is a form of subsidy and has its limits, but I also get that a two-meter system (used in some locations) is massively unfair to the solar producer since it charges an uplift for electricity which is self-consumed and is therefore not carried by the utility's distribution system.
rmay635703 wrote:Just opt out if they want to continue increasing profits in an era of reducing electrical use and increasing home production.
Yes, solar and batteries put a firm cap on electricity rates.

I do see a bit of "how to boil a frog" going on with utilities. This causes many (most?) consumers to not notice the steady increases which show up in their power bills.

For instance, our utility will raise our monthly access fee from $10 to $20 beginning in March 2018. In order to make this palatable to the rate base, they are slightly lowering the electricity rates so that the overall bills only increase a small amount (or even go DOWN for large wintertime consumers):

First 300 kWh: 11.7c/kWh -> 10.9c/kWh
Above 300 kWh: 10.5c/kWh -> 9.9c/kWh
Above 800 kWh (from June through September): 10.5c/kWh -> 11.9 kWh (The only increase in rates.)

I put my 2017 consumption numbers (assuming I didn't have solar) into their online calculator and I see the costs of the 18,245 kWh of electricity we used this year having the following pricing:

Current prices (what we would have paid for electricity in 2017 ignoring solar and about $17 of county taxes): $2017.81
Proposed prices (what we would have paid for electricity in 2017 ignoring solar and about $17 of county taxes): $2156.70

70% of the increase happens in the months of June through September when they are (finally) putting in place rates which INCREASE with additional usage.

If I do a simple calculation of annual dollars (including the taxes) divided by annual consumption, that comes to a change from 11.15c/kWh to 11.91c/kWh.

What we actually paid for electricity service in 2017 (including county taxes): $151.88
That number will increase to about $280.00 with the new rate plan.

Of course, slightly lower per-kWh rates mean slightly less return on grid-tied solar investments, even though the overall price of service has increased.