There's nothing like a nice global scapegoat du jour for companies to fall back on when they want to deliver bad news. Along those lines, stop us if you've heard this one before: Tesla is reportedly pausing installations of its solar roofs due to "supply chain issues".
The company has reportedly communicated to employees that it is stopping scheduling for new installations as a result. Electrek, who first reported on the news, says "It’s not clear when those problems will be solved."
Tesla reportedly wrote to employees:
Most of the solar industry has been experiencing supply chain delays. These constraints are beginning to impact Solar Roof as well. This will lead to delays in scheduling installations for Tesla customers not already on the calendar.
And the company also sent out the following message to some customers:
Supply Chain Delays May Impact Your Installation Timeline
Due to supply chain delays, your installation timeline may be extended. These delays are broadly impacting the U.S. solar industry and are outside Tesla’s control. We do not currently have a firm timeline from our suppliers as to when these delays will end. We will be in touch with you as soon as we have updated information.
Thank you for your patience and for helping accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
The company further said that "it doesn’t want to share any updated timeline until it received the material from suppliers". Who know when, if ever, that will be.
Recall, back in December 2021 we reported about an ongoing SEC probe into the company's solar panels. "The company was being probed by the Securities and Exchange commission over claims about defects on its solar panels made by a former-employee-turned whistleblower," we wrote.
In describing the allegations made by the whistleblower, Reuters wrote that "...the company failed to properly notify its shareholders and the public of fire risks associated with solar panel system defects over several years."
The SEC disclosed the probe after "a Freedom of Information Act request by Steven Henkes, a former Tesla field quality manager, who filed a whistleblower complaint on the solar systems in 2019 and asked the agency for information about the report," Bloomberg wrote early Monday morning.
"We have confirmed with Division of Enforcement staff that the investigation from which you seek records is still active and ongoing," the SEC reportedly said in their response to Henkes.
Henkes was "fired from Tesla in August 2020 and he sued Tesla claiming the dismissal was in retaliation for raising safety concerns," the report says.
Reuters offered additional details on Henkes' complaint with the SEC, stating:
Henkes, in the SEC complaint, said he told Tesla management that Tesla needs to shut down the fire-prone solar systems, report to safety regulators and notify consumers. When his calls were ignored, he proceeded to file complaints with regulators.