Tech | May 1, 2021 6:00 am

Unexpected Price Increases Alienate Tesla Solar Roof Customers

Could this be a critical stumble for Tesla?

Tesla Solar
Close-up of logo for Tesla Solar, a home solar power generation solution offered by Tesla Motors.
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If you’d gone forward with an ambitious home energy plan and then learned that that plan would cost over 50% more than you’d been told, would you be cross? It’s hard to imagine anyone who’d answer that in the negative. Unfortunately, a number of Tesla Solar customers are going through that very process right now — grappling with much higher costs than expected, and wondering if their investment was worth it. Could this be a significant blow to Elon Musk’s energy-related ambitions?

Writing at The Verge, Andrew J. Hawkins has more details on the technology company’s dilemma. Earlier this month, Tesla notified a number of its solar roof customers that they could expect to pay significantly higher amounts than they’d expected. According to Musk, on a Tesla earnings call earlier this week, the issue was due to Tesla having made “significant mistakes” in their initial cost calculations.

For the article, Hawkins spoke with several solar roof customers who’d opted to cancel their orders once notified of the price increase. One of them, Wissam Mehio, told Hawkins that he’d budgeted for a slightly higher cost — say, 5% to 10% — over the estimate, but hadn’t been planning for the 50% increase he found himself dealing with.

It’s a high-profile stumble for a company that, as of late, had been earning high marks for the cost and ambition of its ventures. The home solar market is continuing to grow, but where Tesla fits into it remains to be seen if issues like this continue.