Musk sees 'insane' fast growth for Tesla's energy storage business
During its second quarter earnings call with analysts, Tesla executives predicted "mad" growth levels in 2019 of 300% to 400% for its energy storage business.
During the call, Musk said he expects the company's energy business will catch up with its electric vehicle business in the longterm.
- Also at the meeting, Jeff Straubel, Tesla's chief technology officer confirmed that the battery installation the company is building for Pacific Gas and Electric is 1 GWh, and he said it took the company five years to install 1 GWh of energy storage projects.
In the midst of an earnings call dominated by discussions about Tesla's long-awaited Model 3 electric car, CEO Elon Musk also discussed the company's energy storage business.
Musk noted that Tesla had shut down a Powerwall battery manufacturing production line in order to make more batteries for its Model 3 car, but said "we're adding new cell lines and we'll be able to address" cell shortages very soon.
That will enable Tesla to soon triple its storage business, CFO Deepak Ahuja, said.
Jeffrey Straubel, Tesla's chief technology officer, noted that the 1 GWh number the company offered analysts for guidance is "a big number … maybe on the order of 300% what we did the prior year and we're still aiming at maybe another 3 times to 4 times growth for 2019."
"These are insane growth levels," Musk said.
Musk said that one of the challenges Tesla is facing in growing its energy storage business is a shortage of trained electricians. It takes two years to train and certify an electrician. "We obviously can't grow faster than the rates, the number of electricians who can physically install a Powerwall. That's like one of the limitations."
Musk also noted some limitations on the growth of its solar business. Tesla reported that it installed 84 MW of solar power in the quarter, which is 11% higher than in the first quarter but down 52% from the same quarter last year. The company said solar growth rates should remain stable for the rest of the year and attributed the slower pace to the difficulty of validating the life span of the company's solar rooftop shingles, which the company has said can last anywhere from 30 to 50 years.
Tesla projected that "solar deployments should remain stable in the second half of this year." If the pace of the past three months holds through the end of 2018, Tesla will end the year with 329 MW of solar power deployed, its lowest four quarter total since 2014.
"We now have several hundred homes with the Solar Roof on them, and that's going well," Musk said. He also mentioned that Tesla is working with first responders to make sure its solar roofs are safe in the event of a fire.
Musk said he expects to ramp up production of solar cells at the company’s Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, N.Y., next year.
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