To persuade shareholders to accept the deal, Elon Musk entertained a splashy event in Hollywood. He held up a sparkling roof shingle, which he stated was a miniaturized solar panel.
SolarCity was established in 2006 by Musk’s relatives, Peter and Lyndon Rive. Musk supported it, who worked as chairman of the board at both Tesla and SolarCity. Musk’s aerospace company, SpaceX, had further purchased tens of millions of dollars in solar bonds from SolarCity.
Musk said at the event in October 2016 that the aim is to make solar roofs look better than a standard roof, produce electricity, and last longer. They should also have better insulation and have a smaller install cost than a regular roof plus the price of electricity. Why would you purchase anything else?
The roof tiles were going to be the next great thing in residential solar, as stated by Musk. Once Tesla and SolarCity connected, the product would juice the company’s increase while producing clean energy to homeowners.
New Installations by Tesla-SolarCity plunged
In the fourth quarter of 2017, Tesla announced a 43% reduction in solar deployments associated with when it acquired SolarCity. As stated by Wood Mackenzie, the company lost its market-leading position in 2018 and now hangs about 2% of the residential solar market. In the first and second quarters of 2021, Tesla individually introduced 92 and 85 megawatts of solar. That’s less than half of what SolarCity fitted per quarter before the purchase.
Tesla moved some solar workers to build the company’s electric cars and batteries, discharged other solar employees. Moreover, it moved others who had been doing new installations to operate on repairs and remediation.
Few of the solar rooftops the company placed caught fire. One employee who asked for fire safety matters internally and filed whistleblower accusations to federal government offices sued Tesla, stating it wrongfully fired him as an act of vengeance.