Tesla is burning its solar roof customers with a massive price hike

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Tesla has drastically increased the price for its sunroof, angered some customers who responded by canceling their orders. The news was first reported over the weekend through Electrek

The price jumps come as Tesla reports that revenues from its solar power company are increasing. In the fourth quarter of 2020, the company installed 86 megawatts (MW) of solar power, a 59 percent year-on-year increase. Tesla installed 205 MW of solar power throughout the year, an increase of 18 percent from 2019.

Tesla offers two solar products: solar panels, which are installed over a customer’s existing roof; and a sunroof, which replaces the current roof battens with slats that can absorb the sun’s rays and convert them into energy.

Now prices for Tesla’s solar roof product are starting to rise dramatically. A customer on the sunroof told me The edge he signed a contract in February to install the sunroof for $ 35,000, with an additional $ 30,000 for the batteries.

He later received a “concise email” from Tesla stating that he would receive a new contract with higher prices within days. He was told he now owed $ 75,000 for the sunroof – up 114 percent – and $ 35,000 for the batteries.

This person was told that he could cancel his order through a customer portal if he chose not to accept the new terms, with the implied threat that the installation project would be delayed if he didn’t immediately accept the new terms.

Here’s the email he received from Tesla:

We have increased the price of Solar Roof and added adjustments for the complexity of individual roofs. Find out more

You will receive an email within 1-2 days when your new agreement is ready for your review and acceptance before proceeding. If you are no longer interested in continuing with Solar Roof, you can cancel your order by logging into your Tesla Account and your deposit will be automatically refunded.

We prioritize customers based on the order in which they accept their updated agreements.

However, he found that there was no way to cancel his order through the customer portal, forcing him to track down a Tesla customer service representative to complete the cancellation. The customer told us The edge that he was disappointed with the price increase because it was difficult to find a decent alternative to what Tesla had to offer. His emails to the company’s representatives went unanswered for weeks until a friend of his who worked at Tesla was able to connect him to the right person.

“It’s painful to move on, but the customer service / sales process was very painful even before this change,” he said.

Some customers told Electrek that they had spent thousands of dollars on loans and cutting down trees in preparation for installing the sunroof, only to find out they owed tens of thousands of dollars more to Tesla.

It’s an abrupt shift for Tesla from three years ago, when the company lowered prices for its solar roofs in an effort to halt the decline of its home energy business. It also comes several years after Tesla unveiled a glass version of its solar panels, a third version of the company’s design that should be faster and cheaper to install.

In the latest earnings report, Tesla said it picked up the pace of the installations. “This growth is the result of meaningful improvements to our solar retrofit strategy, including product simplification, cost reduction and industry-leading pricing,” the company said. “We’ve also made great strides in expanding our Solar Roof deployments as we’ve expanded the team while improving our installation efficiency.”

A Tesla spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment, which is not surprising given that the company has eliminated its public relations department and has not responded to a request for comment for over a year.

Musk originally unveiled the sunroof in October 2016 on the set of Desperate housewivesAround the same time, Tesla was in the midst of the acquisition of SolarCity – a company founded by Musk’s cousins. That deal sparked controversy, with critics calling it a “bailout” of the struggling SolarCity.

A number of Tesla shareholders even sued Musk over the deal, claiming he overvalued SolarCity and claiming that he had not properly withdrawn from the deal. Tesla’s board of directors settled the matter last year without Musk, making the CEO the only defendant in the case.