On Sunday Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to announce that the company was restarting its solar panel business by allowing consumers to rent solar panels instead of buying them.

The California based company will be offering a ‘no-contract’ solar panel program to its customers in Arizona, Massachusetts, California, New Mexico, and New Jersey. The CEO has indicated that the plan will be available in Europe as from next year.

Rental packages could save up to $500 per year

Customers will pay rental rates from $50 per month with those in California paying up to $65. Musk added that the new lower Tesla pricing is synonymous to having a money printer on one’s roof especially for those living in states where the cost of electricity is high. With the new packages, customers are expected to save around $500 per year on utility bills. He said that although outright buying of the solar panels seemed to be better the rental option makes economic sense. 

The CEO has indicated that the contract can be canceled at any time and there is no cancellation fee charged. The solar panels can thus be removed at the request of the homeowner and that will cost around $1,500. The fee is for covering costs of removal and Tesla does not make any profit from it.

Declining solar installations

The re-launch of the program comes at the back of the company reporting declining solar installations in a third consecutive quarter barely three years since the $2.6 billion acquisition of SolarCity Corp. The company managed to deploy on only 29 megawatts in Q2 2019 and now it seems like they are looking to rebound growth volumes after hitting record lows.

Since 2016 when Tesla bought SolarCity its market has significantly declined and the company has lost ground to competitors such as SunRun. SolarCity was sued last year by three former employees with an accusation that co-workers had faked sales accounts to pump up bonuses along with the company value.