As a groundbreaking company driven by a visionary leader, it can seem like everything Tesla does is a first. However the Tesla displays and salespeople at Home Depot stores across the country is not really a new idea. Instead it is more a continuation of a deal that SolarCity had with Home Depot before it was purchased by Tesla.
Regardless, at the Tesla kiosks at 600 Home Depot stores the company’s salespeople are currently offering the company’s rooftop PV systems, including real-time analyses of customer roofs. These systems are being offered with or without its Powerwall batteries for load-shifting and backup power, and Tesla sales people are scheduling free on-site energy consultations.
The Solar Roof product is not available through Home Depot, as orders for this product must be placed on Tesla’s website. And while Tesla reports that the Gigafactory in Bufallo is beginning to churn out Panasonic HIT modules, its customers can still opt for a variety of module types.
The move back to Home Depot can be seen in light of a rethinking of Tesla’s sales approach. After acquiring SolarCity, Tesla eliminated door-to-door and other sales channels. The company instead put emphasis on sales through Tesla stores, and pulled back from markets deemed less rewarding.
The end result has been a more profitable solar installer, but a much smaller one, and this pull-back was a factor in an overall residential market contraction in 2017. And while final numbers for Q4 have not been released its is possible that Tesla may have lost its position as the largest U.S. residential solar installer to Sunrun.
Tesla plans to expand its presence to reach a total of more than 800 Home Depot stores this year.