Tesla has reduced the prices of its solar panels today in an attempt to stop the decline of its solar business. Your online configuration tool now includes a series of 4kW panels that cost $ 7,980 after a federal tax credit, which is just over $ 1.99 per watt, including installation. According to the place where customers live, The New York Times notes that the price per watt could fall as low as $ 1.75, 38 percent less than the national average of $ 2.85 and much less than Tesla charged previously .
Tesla's solar business chief, Sanjay Shah, highlights two main ways in which Tesla is making these price reductions possible. The first is standardizing more of its facilities. Customers will now only be able to buy panels in 4 kW increments, in the form of a 12-panel array. Second, they will be asked to complete parts of the installation process at home, such as photographing electrical meters and switch boxes, which would normally have required Tesla's visit.
Changes are needed to revive a significant drop in solar panel installations, which fell to their lowest levels in six years in the first quarter of this year. year. The Buffalo News notes that the company implemented 47 megawatts in the quarter, compared to 73 megawatts in the same period in 2018. The decrease means that Tesla fell to third place in terms of solar installations in the United States , behind Sunrun and Vivint Solar, according to NYT .
In the second half of this year, Shah says he hopes to boost sales of the expected Tesla sunroof, a set of solar tiles that resemble ordinary roofing materials. The roof was announced in 2016 and installed at the Elon Musk home in 2017. During Tesla's last earnings call, Musk said the company is still developing and testing the roof, but the challenges with its durability have delayed a broad deployment.
Despite these challenges, Tesla's solar business remains profitable. That is more than can be said of the company as a whole after it lost $ 702 million in the last quarter thanks to lower-than-expected sales of its cars and the challenges of delivering them to Europe and China. Musk expects the company's losses to continue in the second quarter, before returning to profitability in the second half of this year.
Update April 30, 12:35 p.m. ET: Article updated to reflect the fact that the new solar prices are now available.