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Tesla May Be About to Lose Its Throne as King of Rooftop Solar

February 7, 2018, by Brian Eckhouse


Tesla Inc. may be losing the lead in the rooftop solar market.

The company installed 87 megawatts of solar systems in the fourth quarter, according to a statement Wednesday. That’s down from the 201 megawatts installed in the same quarter a year earlier and the lowest since it paid $2 billion in 2016 to buy SolarCity — the company that helped jumpstart the U.S. rooftop solar industry. Tesla said one reason for the decline is a shift away from door-to-door sales. A Tesla spokeswoman declined to comment.

It’s also lower than the 90 megawatts of panels that rival Sunrun Inc. installed in the third quarter. We’ll have a better picture of the state of the market when Sunrun shares its fourth-quarter numbers next month. The company declined to comment Wednesday.

“These are the lowest quarterly installation figures reported by Tesla or SolarCity since the first quarter of 2014, when the rooftop solar market was nearly 40% smaller than today,” said Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Hugh Bromley.

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