Tesla’s solar business is tanking but energy storage is making up for it

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By the megawatt, solar installations are outpacing other energy sources in the U.S. this year — but you wouldn’t know it judging from Tesla’s latest reports.

Once among the top three residential installers in the nation, Tesla’s solar business is in decline. In the third quarter, the automaker’s solar deployments slipped 48% from the same period last year. The company’s solar deployments are also down sequentially, from 67 MW in Q1 2023 to 66 MW in Q2 and further down to 49 MW in Q3. So much for “solar roofs” taking the world by storm.

Yet, Tesla pulled in 40% more revenue overall from its “Energy generation and storage” arm in Q3. How come? By comparison, the company’s energy storage business is booming. It includes both Tesla’s Powerwall home batteries and utility-scale Megapacks.

In Q3, Tesla reported a 90% spike in energy storage deployments, up to nearly 4 GWh (from 2.1 GWh in Q3 2023). The company called it its “highest quarterly deployment ever.” It credited the “ongoing ramp of our Megafactory in Lathrop, CA” for the boost.

Despite the win for Tesla’s energy business, the automaker still reported a significant decline in profits for Q3.

Products like Tesla’s Powerwalls and Megapacks are playing a crucial role in the transition to renewables, storing clean energy for later use when utilities would typically turn to fossil fuels to power the grid. However, batteries in the typical sense aren’t the only available resource. Other forms of longer-term energy storage include gravity storage and compressed air.

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