Tesla loses key energy executive amid hiccups in its Solar Roof rollout

Tesla recently raised the price of its solar roof by tens of thousands of dollars. Screenshot via Tesla

  • Tesla’s chief energy officer, RJ Johnson, has left the company.

  • He has been with Tesla since early 2020, according to his LinkedIn profile and previous earnings calls.

  • The exit comes when Tesla encounters speed bumps with the launch of its Solar Roof product.

  • Check out Insider’s business page for more stories.

Tesla has lost a key energy manager as it faces fluctuations in speed as its consumer energy business grows.

RJ Johnson, who has headed the company’s energy business since August, left Tesla this month to start a renewable energy startup in stealth mode, the electric car website Electrek reported for the first time.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Johnson also served as Tesla’s global director of commercial energy from March to August 2020. Prior to that, he held various management positions at NextEra Energy Resources for nine years.

Johnson and Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Tesla’s energy division sells a variety of solar and energy storage products for consumers and businesses. Homeowners can purchase a Powerwall, a large battery pack that stores electricity generated by solar panels for later use. Tesla also sells larger battery systems called Powerpack and Megapack for commercial customers.

Continue reading: Americans are still not being sold with electric vehicles for country living and road trips. Experts say that the solution to these two problems might convince them.

Tesla also has a product called Solar Roof, a system of roof tiles with integrated solar power generation. However, the rollout has had some difficulties lately.

In April, Tesla announced to some Solar Roof customers that their roofs would cost tens of thousands more than originally advertised. Many prospective buyers have also reported nightmarish experiences with the company’s customer service. Roofing solar customers from several states have sued Tesla over the sudden price hikes.

In a conference call earlier this month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk admitted the company had misjudged the cost of solar rooftop installations and said customers would be refunded their down payments if they cancel their orders.

The story goes on

“Despite the price increase, demand is still well beyond our ability to meet demand for the solar roofs to be installed,” said Musk. “We found that we generally made some significant mistakes in assessing the difficulty of certain roofs, but the complexity of roofs varies dramatically. Some roofs are literally supposed to be two or three times easier than other roofs in a one-size-fits-all situation. “

Musk said Tesla will only sell its solar panel products in combination with Powerwall in the future.

In the first quarter of 2020, Tesla installed 92 megawatts of solar power generation, an increase of 162% over the previous year, and 445 megawatt hours of storage capacity.

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