April 24, 2019 / 11:42 PM / a month ago

Tesla solar installations slide 36 percent in first quarter

April 24 (Reuters) - Tesla Inc on Wednesday reported a 36 percent slide in solar installations and said it had implemented a new selling strategy months after ending a partnership to sell the rooftop systems in busy Home Depot stores.

In its first-quarter investor letter, Tesla said solar deployments were 47 megawatts during the period, down from 73 MW in the previous quarter. A year earlier, solar installations were 76 MW.

U.S. electric vehicle maker Tesla, which reported an overall $702 million loss in the first quarter, inherited the solar business in its $2.6 billion acquisition of SolarCity in 2016.

SolarCity boasted a vast sales organization that Tesla gutted by ending the deal with Home Depot and halting door-to-door sales. In its heyday, SolarCity installed more than 200 MW a quarter.

Tesla sought to move solar sales into its retail stores and online, but in February said it would close many of those stores, a decision it later reversed.

In the investor letter, Tesla said it had introduced a new solar price and selling strategy but gave no specifics. The company said it aimed “to put customers in a position of cash generation after deployment with only a $99 deposit upfront. That way there should be no reason for anyone not to have solar generation on their roof.”

A Tesla spokesman declined to comment further but said the company would have more information next week. (Reporting by Nichola Groom in Los Angeles, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

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