Tesla’s power businesses are beginning to take off


Tesla just released its latest earnings report, and the results indicate that Elon Musk’s bets on energy storage and solar are beginning to pay off.

The storage business was the star of the company’s power plays in the fourth quarter, with quarterly year-on-year growth approaching 200%. As the company said in its presentation to shareholders, “[energy] deployments grew substantially from 2019 to 2020. For the first time, our total battery deployments surpassed 3 GWh in a single year, which is an 83% increase compared to the prior year.

Solar deployments also had their day in the sun. For the year, solar energy installations increased to 205 MW, an 18% increase over the prior year. “This growth is the result of meaningful improvements to our solar retrofit strategy, including product simplification, cost reduction and industry-leading pricing.

Revenue from the energy generation and storage business came in at $752 million for the fourth quarter, up from $436 million in the year-ago period, and up $579 million from the third quarter.

This is likely only the beginning of the surge that’s coming for Tesla’s power business. The company has long stated that it wants to be one of the world’s largest power or utility companies, and global capital is marshaling resources to encourage the shift to renewables.

Tesla could be a huge beneficiary from the Biden administration’s renewable plans through their goals to dramatically boost solar development and buildings. The big infrastructure spend will require big batteries to store renewable power. It will also require massive solar installations.

And even as the federal government makes money moves to renewables, private capital is coming in to boost solar installations and energy storage dramatically.

Over the last week alone, investors have pumped nearly $2 billion into companies that lend money to homeowners for solar installations and energy efficiency upgrades. One company, founded by a former SolarCity executive, announced that it had raised $800 million in capital just today.

At least some of that money will have cash registers ringing for Tesla’s energy storage and solar installation business.

 


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