Elon Musk’s 2019 proclamation that Tesla’s integrated solar roof would grow “like kelp on steroids” is looking more optimistic than ever this week, with reports emerging in the US that the company has jacked up the price of the integrated PV tiles in its home market – and not just for new customers.
US Tesla customers have told various sources over the past few weeks about drastic and unexpected price increases on existing Solar Roof orders, adding between $SU20,000 and $30,000 to the cost of installation – an eye-watering extra hit that appears to come down to a combination of increased component costs and increased cost of installation.
The first reports of price rises appeared on Electrek at the end of March, which checked for itself after tip-offs from readers and found that a quote for a 3,947-square-foot roof with a 12.3kW solar roof had jumped to between $US79,938 and $100,621 from $54,966 quoted in mid-2020.
This week, Tesla Motor Club reported similar experiences were being shared by a number of its members, including one whose installation cost jumped by about $20,000, and another whose solar roof quote had increased by $US30,000.
TMC quotes member “nicholb” who says: “I’ve had a solar roof reservation since March 2020 (in MN). My purchase agreement was signed in April 2020. Today I got the note below which shows a new agreement which is just about $20k more than the original. No change in the proposed design.”
Another member, whose quoted installation price jumped by $25,000, told TMC that was enough for him to “pull the plug” on the project, not because he couldn’t afford it, but out of principal – “this is unacceptable,” the member wrote.
A follow-up story from Electrek this week shared the text of an email readers said had been sent to them by Tesla, in explanation of the price rises. It says:
We have increased the price of Solar Roof and have added adjustments for individual roof complexity.
You will receive an email in the next 1-2 days when your new agreement is ready for your review and acceptance before moving forward. If you are no longer interested in moving forward with Solar Roof, you can cancel your order by logging into your Tesla Account and your deposit will automatically be refunded.
We will be prioritizing customers based on the order in which they accept their updated agreements.
One customer told Electrek they had placed an order for a solar roof and Powerwall batteries nine months ago and signed a revised contract in February for a system priced at just over $US77,000, an amount around which a loan agreement was then signed and preparation works initiated and paid for.
“Now, the system shows up in their Tesla account as having a ‘system price’ of $118,870.33, before credits are applied (but after the combined roof + Powerwall discount, which has been reduced from $2,500 to $2,000),” Electrek writes. “This represents a price increase of a staggering 54.3%.”
And there are more reports from more frustrated customers telling similar stories.
The unceremonious price hike adds a new chapter to the troubled history of Tesla’s solar roof, which has been taking two steps forward and three steps back since its inception in 2016.
As One Step has reported, in Australia, the product is nowhere to be seen, despite having opened to orders – with a $1000 deposit – over a year ago. In response to an inquiry through the Tesla Australia website, One Step was told that the Solar Roof could still be 12 to 24 months away from being available.
Reports of long delays to system deliveries in the US also abound, despite the March 2020 claim that Tesla had achieved the milestone of producing 1000 solar roofs a week at its New York gigafactory.
Meanwhile, other integrated solar roof tile companies and products are emerging, with one, from Australia, recently unveiling ambitious plans to go head to head with Musk’s Solar Roof in the US, and is backing its “better” solar power and solar thermal integrated offering to be “very competitive” in the American market.