Published on April 30, 2019 |
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by Steve Hanley
30. April 201[ads1]9 by Steve Hanley
The average cost of a residential solar system on the roof today is about $ 2.85 per watt, according to Solar Energy Industries Association. Of that, $ 1.00 goes to so-called soft costs, things like design, sales commissions, permits and inspections. Sanjay Shah, head of the Tesla Sun industry, tells New York Times : "We spend hours and hours and days and days on the process. It adds cost. It adds time. We needed a very streamlined process . "
Shah says that Tesla expects to slash costs by streamlining the process, a move he says will get the price down between $ 1.75 and $ 1.99 per watt. The Tesla ceiling system will be sold in steps of 12 panels each – enough to provide about 4 kilowatts of power.
In addition, all sales will be made online and customers will now do some of the tasks the company used to do. They will photograph electrical meters, circuit breaker boxes and other equipment, then send the images to the company and reduce the number of visits to the site.
"It's not sexy to talk about, but soft costs are some of the biggest barriers to getting the next level of costs down," says Bernadette Del Chiaro, director of the California Solar and Storage Association, The Times "If they have come up with some new ways to reduce soft costs, it would be a game shift."
Allison Mond, senior analyst at Wood Mackenzie, adds that many solar companies automate tasks and use electronic digital images to assess customers' ceilings, but Tesla's new approach has the potential to significantly reduce labor costs more than what other companies have achieved.
Shah says less than 3% of US homeowners have rooftop solar systems, but he expects more people to choose once about how much money they save customers in the long run, coming around. "There is practically a money printing machine on their roofs," he says.
Note that none of the above apply to Tesla's Solar Roof product, which is still waiting for large-scale production almost 2 years after Elon Musk introduced it during a splashy reveal event. Shah says production will come in earnest later this year, but the company has said that kind of thing so long that many start tune out. If Tesla does not start soon, it may miss employment targets as promised by New York State, which funded Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo in the hope of bringing jobs to an area suffering from chronic unemployment for many years.
Nevertheless, the company's new marketing plan is its conventional solar panels promising, provided it follows through. The acquisition of SolarCity looks more and more like nothing more than a straight bailout of Musk's cousins who founded the company nearly ten years ago. Since then, there has been only another planet in Musk's solar system. Will the roof of the sun finally have a breakout moment for Tesla? "We'll see," said the Zen master.