Tesla to reverse solar price hike for some customers: legal filing
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Tesla is trying to placate some solar customers who say they faced sudden price hikes earlier this year, according to new filings with the U.S. district court in San Jose, California.
In a Thursday filing, customers’ attorneys wrote, “Tesla informed counsel for Plaintiffs that Tesla had recently launched a program for customers who signed Solar Roof contracts before the April 2021 price changes to return those customers to their original pricing (if they were subject to a price increase in April 2021).”
As of Friday afternoon, further details of this program were not apparent on Tesla’s solar websites nor the Engage website for customers and advocates of the company. CNBC reached Tesla’s attorneys on Friday to learn more about the program. However, they did not respond to our request immediately.
After suffering unexpected price rises this spring, Tesla solar customers were frustrated and sued.
In three lawsuits, Tesla Solar customer who had previously signed contracts with Elon Musk for his electric car and renewable energy venture was accused of being prepared to have their solar panels installed at home. But they were shocked by unexpected price rises, which required an additional payment to continue with the installations.
It was not an insignificant price increase. According to the lawsuit filings, Matthew Amans saw his price for a solar roof rise to about $146,000 from just $72,000 in his initial contract.
Those lawsuits were later consolidated into Amans v Tesla, Inc.
Tesla hiked prices for its solar installations at least twice early this year, and made it a requirement for customers ordering solar panels or roof tiles to order the Powerwall home energy storage system as well. Later, CEO Elon Musk revealed that the company would not be able to make enough Powerwalls to keep up with demand this year because of the ongoing microchip shortage.
The solar sector is still a small portion of Tesla’s overall business. Tesla reported energy generation and storage revenue of $801 million in the second quarter of 2021, with a cost of revenue of $781 million for that division. It does not separate solar revenue. The unit also includes lithium-ion energy storage system revenue. These systems range from small home batteries to large, industrial-scale units.
Comparatively, Tesla recorded $10.2 billion in automobile sales for the same quarter.
This is the legal file: