Tesla settles class action Solar Roof lawsuit for  million
Tesla settles class action Solar Roof lawsuit for  million

Tesla agreed to pay just over $6 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by customers who faced sudden solar roof price increases in 2021 after agreeing to install solar roof systems on their homes.

The Tesla Solar Roof was formerly known as Tesla “Solar Glass.” Chief Executive Elon Musk first promoted the system in 2016 as an architecturally attractive roofing product that generates energy and looks similar to shingles in homes without solar panels. as good. The glass solar roof tiles he held up in a shareholder speech while touting Tesla’s then-planned acquisition of SolarCity were later revealed to be just a prop, not a working prototype.

A Tesla car is parked outside a house with a Tesla Solar Roof on Weems Street in the village of Boca Chica, Texas, on June 21, 2021.

Veronica G. Cardenas | Veronica G. Cardenas Bloomberg | Getty Images

As CNBC previously reported, Tesla Solar Roof customers had already signed contracts with the company and were ready to install the system in their homes, but they were surprised by the sudden price increase in 2021 because they would need to pay more to continue the installation. .

The price increase is no small change. Matthew Amans, the lead plaintiff in the class action, found that the price of his solar roof rose from about $72,000 in the original contract to about $146,000 per court filing.

Tesla raised the price of solar installations at least twice that year and required customers who ordered solar panels or roof tiles to also order the Powerwall home energy storage system.

As of the end of June this year, approximately 8,636 Tesla customers were part of the group affected by price increases, according to the amended class action settlement agreement filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on July 10, 2023, and a surprising number of Changes to customer costs and terms caused more than 6,300 people to cancel their Solar Roof contracts with Tesla Energy.

According to the documents, Tesla completed 1,656 solar roof contracts at the original price quoted to customers, and as of the end of June, another 57 customers planned to install the solar roof at the original price. The remaining customers who have not canceled or booked installation at the original price amounted to 616 people.

Wood Mackenzie estimates Tesla has installed just 3,000 solar roof systems in the U.S. as of early 2023 since pitching the technology seven years ago.

In the energy sector, Tesla’s overall solar deployment (including traditional solar panels and roof tiles) in the first quarter of 2022 fell by nearly half compared to the same period last year, to 48 megawatts. The company deployed 846 MWh of large-scale batteries — lithium-ion-based battery energy storage systems — up 90% from a year earlier but down from the previous quarter.

Tesla said in its last earnings report that the decline in solar deployment was due to delays in importing certain components that were beyond the company’s control.

Taking into account the federal solar tax credit, the national average cost of installing 10 kilowatts of solar panels by 2022 is estimated to be about $20,000 energy sagea marketplace connecting energy companies and customers.

Read the full settlement terms of the class action (Amans v. Tesla, Inc. 3:21-cv-03577) here:

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