SolarCity Adds 44,000 New Customers In Q2 2015

AUG 12 2015 BY MARK KANE 49

SolarCity and Tesla Model S

SolarCity and Tesla Model S

SolarCity is 9 years old and employs over 10,000 people.

In the second quarter of 2015, the company installed more rooftop solar capacity than in its first five years of existence.

It was another record of 189 MW installed together with 44,900 new customers. Order backlog stands at 395 MW.

In about 9 years, 262,495 customers switched to solar with SolarCity and together they have 1,418 MW. Both number are 86% higher than they were a year earlier.

SolarCity hopes that the cost of 1 Watt will decrease to $2.50 in 2017 (14% less than the $2.91 in Q2).

SolarCity Q2 2015 Overview

SolarCity Q2 2015 Overview

SolarCity Q2 2015 Overview

SolarCity Q2 2015 Overview

Categories: General


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49 Comments on "SolarCity Adds 44,000 New Customers In Q2 2015"

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As of now I think solar city has access to a small number of states. When that access grows to all 50 states it could be possible to see them add 500 megawatts in one Q. But if you take 44,000 solar customers and 187 megawatts and a 395 megawatt back log. That is about the size of a 582 megawatt coal fired power plant or a 582 megawatt natural gas plant. The 1950’s Dutch Gap coal fired power plant in Richmond is Here is info on this 1950’s Dinosaur The Dutch Gap power station can make 1600 megawatts of coal fired power a day. Now if you take Solar City 582 megawatts. That is around 40% of the Dutch Gaps coal power taken off line. If Solar City gets two more Q’s like this with this level of growth. They in theory could install enough home solar panels to equal 1600 megawatts of coal fired power. With this said solar power by it’s very nature acting like this. This means that a lot of the aging coal power plants that are closing down this year. Are being closed not by the EPA but by solar systems simply… Read more »

A major difference of course is that a coal powered plant produces power 24/7 while solar panels only produces at full effect during a few hours per day and nothing at night.
Also, don’t confuse megawatt with megawatt-hours.

What is also another factor in this growth is that so far Tesla has not been making those power wall packs yet. Once Tesla gets those into production with the Giga Factory they could have tens of thousands of people reduce the amount of power they need at night.

Storing electricity for the night is easy it can be done with batteries but also with beefed up good old pump storage facilities. The summer winter fluctuation problem is more difficult but that one can be solved by storing biogas underground during the summer and burning it in a power plant during the winter. It is also possible to simply store wood for winter power production in a conventional power plant or with a wood gasification plant as a step in between. Another way to help in this is scaling PV on the winter time need instead of on the summer need. Of course it also helps not to produce Aluminum with electricity in the winter but only in the summer. Maintenance being done in the winter. There are also a lot of other industrial big electricity consumers that can be stopped or reduced in the winter.

You probably need to work a little… well, a lot.. on that plan if it’s going to work on a larger scale. πŸ™‚

Well it is mainly a question of decision because the technical solutions are all ready like with this Xylowatt system in Belgium for exemple.

You have to at least involve a capacity factor when you’re comparing electricity generation.

~20% for solar (or less, in UK 2013 the average was 10,2%) and ~90% for a base load coal plant.

So that’s at least 4-4,5 times (or even 9 times in the UK) as much name plate capacity needed.

So the 582 MW installed is more like 8% of that coal plant.

Lots of quarters (or rather years) until they match a single coal plant.

Solar city leases make it harder to sell your house. You have to convince the buyer to enter into a long term lease.

Solar is good, but you should buy the system.

If you buy the system, then you will probably ask more for your house when you’ll want to sell it, making the buyer paying for it anyway. If you don’t then you’ll lose money. Look likes the samething to me in both way.

When you own the solar panels, you can take them with you to your new house or sell them separated from your house.

I would vie for ownership myself, but taking them with you? That is something very few would want to hassle with. Perhaps CSC, but few others.

The thing that really gets me excited is the cost decreases over time. As the production tax credit fases out at the end of 2016 I’m sure solar city will take a hit but it shouldn’t fall so dramatically as to kill the business. I’m hoping the government can extend the production tax credit 20% in 2017 and 2018 then maybe 15 or 10% 2019 and 2020 then tapered off to nothing currently stands and 30%. I’m hoping the government can extend the production tax credit 20% in 2017 and 2018 then maybe 15 or 10% 2019 and 2020 then tapered off to nothing currently stands and 30%

If Republicans control White House and Congress in 2016 you can kiss production credit good bye.

I’m a republican and so is W who signed the first one into law. Gonna call BS on that.

As a Republican, can you assure us of that? After all, wasn’t it Ronald Reagan who took Jimmy Carter’s solar panels off of the White House?

You see, no one person can speak for the entire party they belong to. Even Reince Priebus answers to someone.

Can you guarantee that a Dem will not cave to lobbyists?

I think you’re a RINO..the current Republican leadership has left you.

If people agree with a political parties leadership 100% of the time, they aren’t an individual, they are sheep.
This sort of stuff falls into the 20% of the time that I disagree with most of the leadership in the GOP. But I only agree with the Dems around 20% of the time so I hold my nose and vote for the lesser of two weevils.

Sorry for the totally inappropriate Patrick O’Brian reference.

Another evil Republican here, and I support George W Bush’s tax credit for electric cars and the credit for solar arrays. The GOP isn’t as monolithic as many think.

If Republicans control the White House and Congress you can kiss most of the species on the earth good-bye.

Of course, the same is probably true of the Placebocrats, but certainly true for the GOP, who will make the gilded age look like the age of equality.

Aftre the tax credit expiry comes the connection fees from utilities. We will see how solar weathers these hurdles.

It’s doing pretty good in the countries that support it. Germany is getting about 30% of it’s energy from solar.

Well, sadly germany not only strongly reduced support for solar systems but introduced some laws which actually conterfeit the goals of “Energiewende”

Nonetheless: 6.9% of electricity demand in 2014 was covered by solar generation.

More important: System price is going down significantly every year, so it will be hard for the energy giants who are strongly suffering from normal people generating electricity to further lobby goverment in order to introduce more prohibitive laws.

A really good overview on the subject can be found here:

(in German…) however the graphs are quite readable when you ignore words and count on units…

check page 8 for system prices…

ahh and check page 40 as it touches the “problem!” of negative electricity prices…

Don’t confuse (total) energy with electricity.

6,9% of electricity from solar, but the share of total energy from solar in Germany is about 1%.

It’s quite a difference between the greenwashing picture that solar energy is high in Germany and what the reality looks like.

As a said:

“6.9% of electricity demand”

that’s no confusion, but I wonder why you tend to not stick to the subject (electricity) and come up with total energy demand… πŸ˜‰

Not sticking to the subject most likely helps to increase confusion.

…and because I like confusion let me raise a question:

Pls take a look at:

do you see the impact of electricity generated from sunshine on the electricity prices?

(if not you can click on “Strompreis, -erzeugung und -verbrauch”)

…and what do you think are the implications for the big electricity providers in germany. (I think you might already know that πŸ˜‰ )

Sometimes it does not only matter how much you produce, but also at what times of the day you produce.

That is true. Even though solar PV has a fairly natural limit of about 10-15% of a larger regions electricity and maybe 3-5% of total energy it can do a lot of important work considering it’s peak time performance.

And it is kind of fun to see the giants (E.ON, RWE, Vattenfall and EnBW) sweat over how they will get out of this alive. πŸ™‚

I did not reply to you, you were totaly clear (and correct). πŸ™‚

The reply was to Steven, and only as a little addition to the clear fact that you have already stated. πŸ™‚

Same way it always has- by a series of cost reductions. No price floor has been found that would define cell production cost in the long term. In the short term, installation costs are already as much or more than the panels themselves. As component costs continue to fall, the installer base will become even more competitive.

As for utility fees specifically, we had an answer decades ago: guerilla solar. Particularly with our new standards for DC wiring.


and to scare the electricity companies a little more: It is not only easy to produce electricity, it is also (still) sometimes legal (even without extreme installation cost…):

Just a clarification it is an Investment Tax Credit (ITC) not a Production Tax Credit (PTC). ITC is an immediate tax credit based on the cost of the system install. A PTC is a yearly tax credit based on the kWh of production.

To my knowledge only solar only has an ITC, but that is significantly more valuable than a 10 year PTC like the wind industry receives (used to).

The SolarCity sales people I’ve experienced lately have been more aggressive. I’m at Home Depot and this lady comes up and talks to me and asks if I’m a homeowner who wants to save on my energy bill. I tell her I need to make a lot of home energy efficiency improvements before I go solar, but that doesn’t seem to register with her, she keeps talking. Sigh.

I need to replace all my windows with ones that don’t suck (even though the house is only 10 years old, the builder was a cheap-ass on energy efficiency items), reinsullate the attic, and replace my 10+ year old 12 SEER A/C units with 16+ SEER two stage units, and do a few other smaller things to get my house to where I want it from an energy consumption standpoint. So after I spend that $30,000 maybe I’ll think about solar.

It sounds like it would be cheaper to add solar power to your house then go though those other improvements first. In that I have seen lots of five kilowatt solar power systems online for $6000 dollars.

The only thing stopping me right now from adding a solar system is that I like at my parents house and they don’t want a solar power system.

I’ve had the same type of experience with their sales people. Really dislike the tactics. Had Solar City give me an estimate for installation once even. They tried to push me to lease, with its never-ending payments. No thanks. I’ll be going with a local reputable solar company when we put solar in, hopefully before the end of 2016.

Solar City services mainly zone 3 and under.
The southern tier of states. Also they look first at states with high electric rates.
Continued improvements in efficiency will eventually lead to wider adoption, though with cheap natural gas and the expense of going solar, there is less incentive to do so.

Solar is dropping far faster in cost than natural gas though:


…and imagine what would happen if those people who have the capability to install by using their own hands would do so… I wonder why many don’t. Maybe the lazyness-cofactor…

Most states require that a licensed contractor install the panels. The price of solar is going down as I stated, but the cost to install still takes 5-7 years to recoup.

There will be a natural gas price spike even without peak oil and natural gas. The reason why is that a lot of massive power companies are building massive 500 to 1000 megawatt plus sized natural gas plants that burn natural gas by the ton. If you add up a hundred of these new natural gas plants they will surely shrink the natural gas supply by raising demand. So even if the natural gas companies were allowed to frack their hearts out. The supply of natural gas is still going to shrink due to massive new power plant demand.

Floridians need to allow Solar City in to setup shop.

You have to at least involve a capacity factor when you’re comparing electricity generation.

~20% for solar (or less, in UK 2013 the average was 10,2%) and ~90% for a base load coal plant.

How about comparison to peak load power plants?

Haven’t seen many peak load coal power plants. πŸ™‚

But if you would do that then it would depend very much on how much that peak load power plant is used.
Then it’s much more convenient to compare the actual electricity generated by that specific plant.

No kidding. It takes up to a couple of days to fire up a coal fired plant, they are only base load.

Typical urban myth from the last century. A modern coal plant is not feed with large coal bricks like a historic steam locomotive.

It is really painful to see someone wrong so often.

“More modern coal plants are designed to maximize efficiency by making them larger and employing super-critical and ultra-super-critical steam cycle systems. But that has also made them harder to run in a flexible mode.”
Get it? Less flexible as in more difficult to turn off and on at demand. It’s true that up to 2 days is required from a cold start, but they are just inferior in regards to flexibility.

For peak-load problems, V2G could soon become quite reasonable:

~ 17.000 Tesla S sold
given that 50% of that owners buy into a (hopefully soon introduced and cheap! V2G-Wall-Box)
-> approx. 8500 Model S batterys could help in peak load shifting
given that all are equipped with 60 kWh batteries that would yield a capacity of:
8500 * 60 kWh = 510 MWh
most likely 10% of that could be used for peak load shifting without major negative impact on the car owner, so we stand at:
51.000 kWh
given a consumption of 17 kWh/day for one household, that would lead to the possibility to run
approx: 3000 households for one day…

That’s not the world, but not too bad either…

…and to come back from storage to peak load πŸ˜‰ :

8500 V2G Tesla-Wall-Boxes rated at just 2000W could deliver: 17 MW
(within seconds or milliseconds? = Ultra-fast)

That a complete off reality calculation. Even if 50% of the owners do have a V2G system, are the all always connected to the system? Do they never actually use the car to drive or park at other locations? What is at winter holiday peak, when the large majority of the cars is suddenly used at the same time for long distance travel?