- Tesla deployed an all-time high 477 MWh of storage in the third quarter of the year and grew solar installations by 48%, part of the company's strategy to become a "global utility" according to CEO Elon Musk.
- Analysts had been anticipating a loss, but Tesla shares were trading 15% higher this morning after the company reported earnings of $1.86/share. CNBC reports some analysts are skeptical of the company's future, despite the improved earnings report.
- The growth in solar installations is a turnaround, following declines in several consecutive quarters. In August the company "relaunched" its solar division, announcing it would rent rooftop panels to homeowners in six states.
Growing installations are a welcome improvement for the company's solar division, which has struggled since Tesla acquired it in 2016. But the rebound still puts installations below the company's second quarter numbers, and represents a 54% year-over-year slide.
The company deployed 43 MW of solar in the third quarter, compared with 29 MW in the second quarter — and 93 MW in 2018 Q3.
The storage figures are more robust, almost doubling in a year-over-year comparison.
Analysts note that some of Tesla's profit comes from belt-tightening rather than revenue growth. Similarly, in the company's earnings call officials boasted about tweaks to the solar permitting process that allowed the company to move more quickly.
"We've also been working with cities and counties to submit generic permits that follow a template rather than customizing for every situation," Tesla CFO Zachary Kirkhorn said during the earnings call.
Musk called it "an innovation applied to bureaucracy."
"We've gotten a massive number of housing approval authorities to take a generic template, as opposed to a custom template, which makes it ... simple and low cost and fast to get approval for solar, which is how it should be," he said.
Kirkhorn said around 350 cities and counties have accepted the template.
And Tesla sees more room for growth ahead in storage. The company recently introduced its Megapack, a 3 MWh battery pack preassembled at the Gigafactory as a single unit.
"Such packaging allows for faster deployment and lower overall installation cost," the company said in its earnings slide deck. First deliveries are planned to begin in the fourth quarter.