Despite a lack of meaningful information from Tesla, additional details have emerged regarding the company’s plans to reduce its workforce. According to a report last night by Reuters, Tesla plans to close 13-14 of its installation offices in nine U.S. states, and has fired “dozens” of customer service staff at call centers in Nevada and Utah.
The locations to be closed include those in the high-volume markets of California, Maryland, Arizona, New Jersey and New York, as well as smaller and less promising markets such as Connecticut, which is gutting its net metering regulations. 60 installations facilities will remain open.
The total number of layoffs at Tesla’s solar and battery business remain unclear. Reuters’ source for this information is internal company documents and former employees, and these concur with the company’s statement that some workers in facilities that are closing will be transferred to other sites.
While Tesla has maintained that the company’s solar and battery team will remain the same size as its automotive team, the company’s termination of its deal to sell solar through Home Depot will remove the majority of locations for solar sales. Tesla was selling solar through 800 Home Depots, but now it will sell SolarCity products through 90 of its 109 U.S. retail stores.
This move comes as Tesla has already significantly scaled back its presence in the U.S. market. Following Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity, the company’s installation levels have fallen by roughly 2/3. This has been a contributing factor in the overall decline of the U.S. residential solar market.
The combination of these factors suggests that solar installation is simply not a priority for Tesla, and that the company is willing to subordinate the interests of this business to feed its larger strategy.
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