Tesla layoffs prompt solar facility closures in 9 states
More than dozen Tesla solar facilities are expected to close in nine states on the heels of its announcement last week to cut 9% of its workforce, according to a new report.
Reuters, which obtained several internal documents and interviewed multiple employees, said the electric carmaker plans to close 13 to 14 of its solar facilities and end its retail partnership with Home Depot that many current and former employees said generated about half of its sales. However, 60 installation facilities will still remain open.
According to an internal email, the affected states include California, Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Arizona and Delaware.
While a Tesla spokesperson declined to comment on which sites it plans to shutter or how many solar employees will lose their jobs, it did say it continues "to expect that Tesla’s solar and battery business will be the same size as automotive over the long term.”
"One of the main reasons we acquired SolarCity was to use our Tesla stores to sell not only cars, but also Powerwall and Solar," a Tesla spokesman told FOX Business, adding that its stores have some of the highest foot traffic of any retail space in the country.
"So, this presents a unique benefit that is demonstrated by the growing number of Tesla vehicle customers who are also purchasing energy products through our stores. The reorganization that we announced last week does not impact this," he said.
In 2016, Tesla CEO Elon Musk acquired SolarCity for $2.6 billion, in a deal that officially moved the company beyond cars and into a clean-energy business. The plan was to combine Tesla’s storage capabilities with SolarCity’s solar technology “to create fully integrated residential, commercial and grid-scale products that improve the way that energy is generated, stored, and consumed,” the company said in 2016.
But those plans changed when Musk announced last week that he is cutting 9% of his workforce to help reduce costs and boost profits.
In an email to employees last week, Musk said that as Tesla has grown over recent years, there has been some resulting “duplication of roles and … job functions that … are difficult to justify today.”