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Tesla starts canceling Solar Roof orders after years of taking deposits

Tesla has started reaching out to some Solar Roof reservation holders to let them know that they are canceling their orders because they don’t cover their area. Some owners are understandably upset after having placed deposits years ago.

The automaker unveiled its solar roof tile in 2017 and started taking pre-orders with $1,000 deposits.

Originally, they said installations would begin soon after, and they said international installations could even start in 2018.

Tesla ended up running into many issues testing the longevity of the roof, and they made several changes leading to the launch of Solar Roof V3 late in 2019.

At that time, they started ramping up production and went on a massive hiring spree for roofers to be able to install the solar roof tiles in more markets around the US.

Following those moves, we have seen an increase in solar roof installations, but Tesla is also now canceling many solar roof orders.

We received reports from several people who ordered a solar roof, and they are now being told that Tesla doesn’t cover their region.

Tesla is sending out automated emails that state:

Upon further review, your home is not located within our currently planned service territory. The driving distance from our closest warehouse would make it difficult for us to provide you the high-quality service that our customers deserve. For this reason, we will not be able to proceed with your project.

Electrek was contacted by people in Oregon and Michigan who received the email.

Tesla wrote that they would get a refund within seven to 10 days:

If you agree with our assessment, a response is not required. You will be receiving a refund of your deposit within 7-10 business days to the card used when placing your order. If you have additional questions or want more clarification, please reply to this email or call us at 877-701-7652.

When they replied to the email, they did not get a response.

Some Tesla solar roof reservation holders are obviously very disappointed with Tesla since they gave them a $1,000 deposit and it took the company three years to figure out that they will not proceed with the order.

One reservation holder who wishes to remain anonymous told Electrek that he finds it “unacceptable” for Tesla to operate like that.

We previously reported on where Tesla plans to do solar roof installations based on where it is hiring roofers.

Electrek’s Take

I agree that this is a poor way to treat customers. I get that solar is tricky and there are places where it makes more sense to install solar power than others, but Tesla should have figured that out before taking $1,000 deposits and certainly shouldn’t have waited three years to start reimbursing the deposits.

Over the last few years, I’ve started to think that Tesla’s overall reservation system has little to no value for customers.

It’s definitely a great way for Tesla to prove interest in its new products and to get some data about service and Supercharger expansions as well as production capacity, but for customers, it’s not a good deal.

With Model 3 and Model Y, we have seen that, outside of California, the time of reservation has little to no impact on when you get your car.

Now many solar roof reservation holders are being reimbursed three years later with no solar roof in sight, and I can’t imagine Tesla Semi and Roadster reservation holders are feeling really good about their $5,000 to $200,000 deposits right now.

Going forward, Tesla should stick to what they did with Cybertruck, which only requires a $100 deposit. It’s not as good to confirm a show of interest, but it’s better than nothing and it doesn’t require people to virtually give Tesla a significant interest-free loan for years.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

Tesla Solar and energy storage products might be a great solution for your home or business, and you can use our code (frederic5610) for a $250 award for a solar roof or Tesla solar panel installation. However, we suggest getting quotes from more than one installer to make sure you get the best energy solution for your place. UnderstandSolar is a great free service to link you to top-rated solar installers in your region for personalized solar estimates for free. Tesla also offers price matching now, so it’s important to shop for the best quotes.

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