Sales of Tesla's energy-storage and PV power business dropped by 21% year-year in Q1, with PV power installation capacities plunging by 35% to 74 MW, the lowest since acquisition of SolarCity in 2016, according to the Q1 financial statement released by the company the other day. Following two consecutive quarters of profits, the company turned in a loss of US$700 million in the quarter.
In fact, the company has suffered constant decline in PV power installation volume after the peak quarterly level of 201 MW following takeover of SolarCity. Analysts ascribed the decline to cancellation of cooperative link with Home Depot, a retail chain for home improvement products, in June 2018, according to Power Technology.
Home Depot's 800 outlets have stopped selling Tesla's solar panels since 2019, a result of the latter's policy switching focus to online sales, in order to cut channel and personnel costs. Under the strategy, the company has also called off door-to-door sales since 2017.
Tesla, however, noted that sales decline is just a provisional phenomenon from change of sales mode, arguing that online sales of solar panels with standard capacities is part of the company's effort simplifying the procurement procedure for customers, similar to electric cars. The company pointed out that in the future, consumers can install solar panels after paying US$99 and sell their excess power to power grids, thereby breaking even for the device in a short time.
Despite poor performance in Q1, Tesla still holds a rosy outlook for its PV power business in 2019, pointing to its rapid progress in solar panel technology, such as the ongoing R&D on third-generation rooftop solar panels, featuring long life and easy installation, thanks in part to technological cooperation with Panasonic.
In addition, the company believes its energy-storage system Powerall will contribute significantly to the sales of its PV power business this year, citing the study of EnergySage which shows strong demands overstraining supply. It predicts sales of Powerall and Powerpack will soar by 300% this year.
(Collaborative media: TechNews, first photo courtesy of Tesla)