SolarCity CTO, Co-Founder & Key Solar Roof Developer Peter Rive Departs Tesla, Inc.


Peter Rive has officially left the Tesla building.

The move by the cousin of CEO Elon Musk and co-founder/former CTO of SolarCity — a company the California automaker acquired about a year ago — was confirmed to GreenTech Media by a Tesla spokesperson. The split doesn’t appear to be acrimonious.

After years of helping put solar energy production on the roofs of many thousands of customers and, more recently, working on the development of the Tesla Solar Roof, Rive has decided to step away and, according to a letter circulated internally,  “…spend more time exploring the outdoors, more time with my family, and helping non-profit solar projects in the developing world.” 

Tesla Solar Roof – Tuscan Tile

His departure is not expected to significantly impact the continuing development of the solar roof, which should be going into production right about now, but may be behind schedule.  Tesla still has a number of engineers continuing work on the project.

His brother, Lyndon Rive, Solarcity’s former CEO who also put in some time at Tesla, left in May to pursue new ventures, though there is still no word on what sort of business he may be involved in.

Here is the entire letter from Rive announcing his farewell:


After 11 years at SolarCity and most recently at Tesla, I’ve decided to take a break and focus on some other projects. Tesla is the most important company on the planet when it comes to accelerating our transition to sustainable energy, which has made my decision very difficult — there is no other company that can be more impactful in our fight against climate change.    

Work on Solar Roof is being transitioned to other Tesla engineering leaders, who are among the brightest, most accomplished on the planet. I have no doubt they will be able to execute on the plans we have for Solar Roof, which is in my opinion one of the most important products of the century.     

At this point I don’t have a plan for another company. After 20 years of starting companies or helping to lead a public company, I plan to spend more time exploring the outdoors, more time with my family, and helping non-profit solar projects in the developing world.   

I leave feeling proud of everything we’ve done together: we revolutionized the accessibility of solar and scaled to the point that we have over 350,000 solar systems installed — more than any company on the planet. The future is even more exciting when you contemplate the combination of electric vehicles, storage, and solar generation, which are the critical components of a sustainable energy future. I know this is an exciting future for all of you and wish you all of the best going forward.

Thanks for everything.    


Source: GreenTech Media

Categories: General, Tesla

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

33 Comments on "SolarCity CTO, Co-Founder & Key Solar Roof Developer Peter Rive Departs Tesla, Inc."

newest oldest most voted

So Pete & Re-Pete have left the Building, gone! ..They made all the money they need. So they leave musk hold to the bag. Nice,

One may think Elon is holding the bag on this one. But, He is papering over this debacle, that has been long in the works, before the SC Tesla takeover. Tesla shareholders have been holding their collective noses, and can now breath a little easier.

When the October surprise hits this fall, it will be Elon with a shovel, trying to get this blatant SC coverup, to become a done deal.

If that’s the case it sounds like there will be improvements down the Line. I hope there are better & more positive times to come..

Having seen countless execs get removed or otherwise leave, I can categorically state every single one of them was lying when they said they had decided to spend more time with their families. This statement has always been and will always be the signal that leaving was not voluntary or at a minimum was caused by an acrimonious relationship that had developed over time and had reached a head. This is likely in response or related to the recent delay of the roof product. If he had wanted to see his family more, he would have done so years ago.

Boy, you sure have a negative spin on it, Mr Knowitall.

He is right about at least one thing: When an executive or politician says they are leaving their position to “spend more time with my family”, that is never, and I do mean never, the real reason. That doesn’t necessarily mean it was an acrimonious separation; it may be, for example, a health issue. But the timing here does suggest it was related to the takeover of SolarCity by Tesla and the restructuring/re-direction of the company.

More often than not, the C-level executives tend to leave a company after a successful buyout transition period.

Often the exit and the terms of the exit are contractually agreed to ahead of time by the parties as part of the buyout agreement.

The exec’s get a fixed employment term and a fixed bonus to stay on until the transition is complete, and the new company gets a smooth transition to a changing of the guard of the C-level executives.


If I were to guess, I would guess that this exit was contractually agreed to way back when the merger was approved, and was always scheduled to coincide with the Solar Roof successfully entering the production phase.

Not so sure ‘more often than not’ but your hypothesis is certainly supported by my observation of at least 1 CEO. Adding detail from your statement, a viable track (which I saw once as stated) is that he was given a massive amount of stock options. When Tesla bought solar city at way above market value, this would have had the effect of making his options more valuable because he would have been converted to Tesla options and the purchase price of Solar City would have dictated the ratio he’d get in the conversion. i.e. the over inflated purchase price of Solar City would have made his options more valuable by being converted to Tesla at a higher ratio than if the takeover offer was lower. But then after this bump from conversation/takeover, the Tesla stock started on (or continued at an accelerated pace) a price run up. Again having a multiplicative effect on his options value. And then there was likely a big chunk of said options tied not to a time horizon so much as a product launch horizon. And thus if they are days from launching the product, he will hit the stock options jackpot and will… Read more »

Domenick is a welcome addition to the InsideEV family. I hope he gets some more e- bike awareness coming our way soon!

This will definitely be the case, as our e-bike coverage took a bit of a hit when Ted (Dillard) needed some alone time to write his e-bike tell-all, (=

In fact just this morning we were having a discussion about some happenings at Lightning Motorcycles for a future article.

Thanks, William. I’ll definitely do what I can.

I, too, hope to see more from Mr. Yoney. At least on a casual read-thru, his grammar and spelling appear to be perfect, which puts it into an unfortunately small minority of InsideEVs articles.

Thanks, Pushmi-Pullyu. But, since I’m human, I’m sure some things might slip through the cracks now and then, so here’s an apology in advance for writing “your” in stead of “you’re.”

Tom, I completely agree.

The number of cases I am familiar with all included a common theme. All of the unvested stock-options, performance award plans, and/or RSU’s were instantly vested at the end of the retention period. Even if the original vesting dates were years out in the future, or included performance goals that could never realistically be met.

So I would bet heavily that you nailed it.

I blame SolarCity for the huge utility opposition to rooftop solar.

They are the main players in creative financial tricks, turning the Federal Tax Credit into bundled solar securities and re-selling them. That started the whole Third Part Owned (TPO) solar sales model that transferred solar benefits to the investor from the homeowner while robbing the taxpayer. I get solar robocalls almost every day.

As a result, rooftop solar mushroomed under the TPO model and gave the utilities a heart attack.

Now that folks are getting wise, TPO and SolarCity are dying. Too late for homeowners though – they got enough support to overturn NEM and jack up interconnection fees.

Good riddance.

It is annoying how a program designed to give a helping hand to homeowners instead was redirected (by Solarcity and others) to line the pockets of big business.

I know that homeowners were never going to hand-build their own solar panels. So big business was always going to get some of the money. But the idea was to create programs which subsidized rooftop solar to help homeowners be more sure of a payback and thus spend the money to give it a whirl.

Instead as you say Solarcity basically securitized this ROI and routed the profits through the normal Wall Street channels.

Not blessing financial industry schemes here but you are blaming the wrong culprits on the anti-solar moves.

This power play like almost all the other negative power grabs going on in our society is being led and FUNDED by the radical right-wing nut billionaires like the Koch Heads:

They are also busy funding anti-EV astroturf:

“I blame SolarCity for the huge utility opposition to rooftop solar.” Best to blame the utilities who always have been opposed to solar power or any power generation by customers. “They are the main players in creative financial tricks, turning the Federal Tax Credit into bundled solar securities and re-selling them. That started the whole Third Part Owned (TPO) solar sales model that transferred solar benefits to the investor from the homeowner while robbing the taxpayer.” Nope. Solar City offered and still offers cash, loan, lease or PPA. Choice entirely up to the end user. The lease and PPA allowed people who wanted to go solar but didn’t have the funds to go solar. “As a result, rooftop solar mushroomed under the TPO model…” Excellent. Getting more solar power was and is the goal. “.. and gave the utilities a heart attack.” Again, utilities have opposed it from the get go and their attacks on net metering pre-date Solar City and will post date Solar City as we see in a contemporary post on Insideev. Top level execs leaving after company is bought out is pretty standard and it is by cutting overhead of execs and merging back office operations… Read more »

Whoops…last sentence should have quotes on it. Not mine but @stimpackers.

Forcing utilities to buy electricity at full retail rates was never going to last forever. It’s not financially sustainable. NEM has do die. We should switch to arguing about how to move forward instead of trying to hold into a giveaway that only worked because it was accessible to only a tiny fraction of the customer base.

Chuckle….thank you for the ALEC/GOP/Utility industry quotes.

Net metering means the utility really doesn’t “pay” anyone. The just don’t charge you their retail rate when you generate your own power. That covers 90% of net metering.

The other 10% is the surplus that 10% of the solar power owners generate during the summer they get to apply to their usage in winter months when they generate less than the use.

Since the utility has charged other customers the full utility rate for the excess power when generated it is entirely fair that they credit the homeowner that same amount against their excess generation.

If the utility sold the free to them electricity at a discount, then they would be justified in paying the solar generator back at that same discounted rate but the utility charges full fare, in fact, likely charges at higher peak usage rates but pays back at regular rates.

And again we need to stay focused on the most important reason we want to encourage solar power which is the science of global warming and to reduce emissions. This benefits everyone and should certainly benefit those who help us reach that goal.

Just want to take a second to welcome Domenick to the InsideEVs family.

Many will probably recognize him from Autoblog/ABG, and his extensive background in e-bikes.

Super excited have Domenick with us!

indeed! Looking forward for his next post.

Thanks for letting us know Jay!!

Elon is cleaning house to ensure “his vision” gets executed at the new SCTY rather than the old.

SCTY was ran into the “ground” and needed a bailout from TSLA. Now, the bailout is done. New executive team needs to be in place to ensure it is successful and on track with TSLA overall vision.

It isn’t surprising at all.

SolarCity was Musk’s idea, he raised the funding and was Chairman of the Board. It was his vision from day one.

SolarCity was primarily a tax scam. They built rooftop systems for $3/W then “sold” them to themselves in a sham transaction for $5-6/W. A “tax equity” partner kicked in almost the full $3/W cost in exchange for ~2.50/W from the federal government and the first few years of cash flow from the homeowner.

So, instead of chipping in 30 cents/W towards a solar farm the government was paying $2.50/W so SCTY could put the same panels on rooftops that were at bad angles or partially shaded.

It’s just evil.

I have long been a spectator of this website. While not a commenter like all the other known people who regularly debate topics, I’ve seen trends that are that are leading to fanboyism towards the company Tesla.

This is a quote from the about page of InsideEVs, “If It Doesn’t Have A Plug, It Doesn’t Appear At InsideEVs!”

Can you please get back to publishing stories of vehicles that have a plug and not focusing on silly drama. C’mon, a story of an executive who is blood related to the CEO of a company leaving. What does this have to do with EVs and where is this guy’s plug?

Didn’t you read his Tesla plug?
“Tesla is the most important company on the planet”


There are plenty of hype sites I can go read if I want to hear about everything Tesla works on.

unlucky — get real. If you didn’t want to read Tesla content, you wouldn’t click on it over and over.

You especially wouldn’t post multiple posts on nearly every Tesla story if you had no interest in Tesla content.

And you really wouldn’t keep clicking on every Tesla story and coming back to check if anybody had responded to your posts so you could respond back if you really weren’t interested in Tesla content.

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.


Be honest. If insideev’s hadn’t posted a story about something that might be construed as a possible negative (like this story could be construed), folks like you would be asking why hasn’t insideev’s posted a story about it in completely unrelated stories.

We’ve seen it plenty of times, so just be honest about it.

Now go ahead and post a response to me, so you can show the world how you don’t care about stories like this so much, that you keep clicking on them and coming back to post and re-post and post again on them.


I, too, would like to see the focus of InsideEVs redirected back to the actual vehicles. I, too, would like a cessation of the surfeit of articles only peripherally related to Tesla Inc., and having nothing to do with electric cars.

Like it or not, Tesla the EV maker are tie with SC(and else).
So is it related new?
Some say yes, some say no.
I say,it does in a way, because for a tyny car company like Tesla, it’s not marginal.

“If It Doesn’t Have A Plug, It Doesn’t Appear At InsideEVs!”

That’s how I feel about fuel cell stories too, since every fuel cell car (except possibly one in the future) do not have a Plug.

At least with a solar panel you can argue that it does have a plug. A plug socket that you can connect your plug of your EV.

As for your distress about Tesla, if some other car company wants to jump in and take the lead, they should. Until then, even other car makers recognize that Tesla is the leader in the EV segment. They don’t do press releases talking about their i3 killer, or their Bolt killer, or their IMiev killer. They talk about their Tesla killer.

Unless/until some other company charges ahead of Tesla, I’m afraid you are stuck with stories about Tesla. Many of which will be very positive, since they happen to be the well recognized leaders.

Complaining about Tesla coverage in an EV site is like watching the Tour du France and complaining about how much time they spend covering the rider wearing the Yellow Jersey.