- Tesla agrees to a hefty $6 million settlement after a sudden and unexpected Solar Roof price hike in 2021, sparking a class-action lawsuit.
- Initial promises of an architecturally appealing, energy-generating roofing product come under scrutiny as price increases stun customers.
- Despite setbacks, Tesla has managed to complete a fraction of Solar Roof installations at the original quoted prices.
Tesla has come to an agreement to shell out over $6 million in a class-action lawsuit that sprouted from the startling Solar Roof price hikes of 2021. These unexpected increases had left customers who had already agreed to installations flabbergasted.
The Tesla Solar Roof, once donned the moniker of "solarglass," was first brought to the spotlight in 2016 by none other than Tesla CEO, Elon Musk. Musk pitched the product as a stylish yet functional roofing solution, promising that it would both generate energy and aesthetically compete with non-solar shingled homes. As it turns out, the sleek, shiny solar tile Musk brandished during a shareholder presentation was just for show, not a functioning model.
The year 2021 brought an unpleasant surprise for Tesla Solar Roof customers who had signed on the dotted line and were expecting their installations. They were met with an abrupt increase in the cost, forcing them to dig deeper into their pockets to proceed with their installations.
For many, these price surges were significant. Take the case of Matthew Amans, the leading plaintiff in the class-action suit. His solar roof price more than doubled, catapulting from around $72,000 in the initial contract to nearly $146,000 according to the court documents.
To add insult to injury, Tesla not only raised its solar installation prices twice in the same year but also forced customers to purchase the Powerwall home energy storage system. The sudden increase in costs led to approximately 6,300 customers walking away from their Solar Roof contracts.
Despite the hitches, Tesla completed 1,656 Solar Roof contracts at the initial quoted prices, with an additional 57 slated for installations. However, as per the June 2023 filings, 616 customers were still hanging in the balance, undecided about their next move. According to energy research firm Wood Mackenzie, Tesla's total installations since the launch of the Solar Roof product seven years ago amounted to only 3,000.
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