April 30, 2019 / 7:39 AM / 2 months ago

Tesla to reduce solar panel prices by up to 16%: NYT

(This April 30 NYT story corrects the difference in price between the Tesla panels and the national average to 16 percent from 38 percent)

FILE PHOTO: A Tesla logo is seen at a groundbreaking ceremony of Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory in Shanghai, China January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

(Reuters) - Tesla Inc plans to announce on Tuesday that it has started selling solar panels and related equipment for up to 16 percent below the national average price, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

The company aims to cut the prices by standardizing systems and requiring customers order the items online, the report said.

After reporting a 36 percent slide in solar installations in the first quarter, Tesla said last week that it introduced a new solar price and selling strategy without giving any specifics.

In 2016, the electric car maker bought SolarCity for $2.6 billion, through which the company planned to offer solar panels and home battery storage systems to consumers.

Tesla sought to sell solar panels in its retail stores and online in a bid to align it with the company’s aspirational luxury car brand.

The move was a sharp reversal from SolarCity’s populist vision of making rooftop solar accessible to all, and sales under Tesla have lagged. Late last year, Tesla cut prices on its residential solar systems.

At the same time, solar roof tiles that the company unveiled in late 2016 have yet to be produced in meaningful quantities.

Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has said the solar roof, which generates solar energy without the need for traditional rooftop panels, is a cornerstone of his strategy to sell a fossil-fuel-free lifestyle under the Tesla brand.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Reporting by Akshay Balan in Bengaluru, Additional Reporting by Nichola Groom in Los Angeles; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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