Tesla’s Musk says solar, energy storage will grow faster than electric cars, and there’s some truth to it

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently said the company’s solar and energy storage business will grow faster than its electric vehicle business.
  • With Tesla making progress on Model 3 production efficiency, Musk said on the most recent earnings call there will be more focus on solar and the broader Tesla Energy business, which includes aligning intermittent solar power with battery storage.
  • Tesla and Musk have faced criticism, and a shareholder lawsuit, over the solar business, the controversial acquisition of SolarCity, and issues at the company’s solar panel plant in Buffalo, New York.

A Model 3 ramp-up that resulted in a quarterly profit was a sign that Tesla’s automobile business finally may be financially stable. If so, it is a good time for Tesla to turn its attention to the energy business — encompassing solar and energy storage — that has for long taken a backseat to getting the electric vehicle assembly line in order.

Tesla Model3 (Image: Wikimedia/Carlquinn)

Tesla Model3 (Image: Wikimedia/Carlquinn)

Elon Musk has been broadcasting this message since Tesla reported a surprise profit in the third quarter. On the call with Wall Street analysts after the earnings in November, the Tesla CEO said, “For almost two years we had to divert a tremendous amount of resources.”

Now Musk claims Tesla is poised for “the really crazy growth for as far into the future as I can imagine. … It would be difficult to overstate the degree to which Tesla Energy is going to be a major part of Tesla’s activity in the future,” he said.

Never one to shy away from bold claims or ambitions, Musk said Tesla Energy could grow to roughly the same size as Tesla’s automotive business, and solar would grow, on a percentage basis, the fastest of any, with storage second.

“I think both over time will grow faster than automotive,” Musk said. “They’re starting from a smaller base.” He added, “I think, especially, if you look at sort of — if you look at, like, year-over-year growth, it will be absolutely incredible … over the course of, say, a year, gigantic increase.”

In a recent internal email to Tesla employees, Musk outlined two critical year-end priorities: delivering all cars to their customers and boosting the rate of solar deployments by a significant degree.

Read more: CNBC

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