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Tesla (TSLA) Grows Solar Arm, Opens Solar Charging Station in China

Tesla TSLA recently launched a solar-powered super-charging station in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, being the first such facility in China.

Capitalizing on Lhasa’s abundant sunlight, the charging station can convert solar energy into electric energy to meet the energy requirements of Tesla cars in Tibet.

Per Tesla, Lhasa, dubbed as the “City of Sunlight”, is the perfect location for the super-charging station. Located at a high altitude of 11,900 feet (3,656 meters), Lhasa receives more than 3,000 hours of average annual sunshine, making it one of the cities with the longest average sunshine time in China.

Tesla’s super-charging station encompasses a solar photovoltaic system — Tesla Powerwalls — an energy storage system and the Tesla super-charging pile. The solar photovoltaic system can uninterruptedly convert solar energy into electric energy. The energy storage system is mainly used to store excessive electric energy generated for future consumption. The charging station is used to transmit electric energy and charge vehicles.

Amid the rising concerns of environmental conservation, tapping into clean energy sources and reducing pollution are among the top priorities in today’s world.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, has long touted that solar energy will become the main source of clean energy in the future. To prove this point, in 2016, the electric vehicle (EV) giant set foot in solar business with the purchase of California-based SolarCity for $2.6 billion, showcasing the company’s interest in developing its energy unit.

The company's solar services include Solar Roof, a power generating system meant to look like normal roof tiles, and Powerwall, a large pattery pack which can store power generated by solar panels for use when the sun is not shining. Tesla’s Solar Roof, with its seamless design, is a unique proposition to solar energy generation, thus demanding a premium to traditional solar panels.

The latest project in Tibet reflects Tesla’s values on environmental protection and sustainable energy utilization. It also displays the automaker’s enhanced effort to create an energy and transportation ecosystem for EVs by making use of solar generation and energy storage.

China is Tesla's second biggest market. Tesla has become a household brand name in China owing to the soaring popularity of its domestically-produced Model 3 and Model Y vehicles. With the new super-charging station in Tibet, Tesla aims to expand its solar business into the mainland, which is the biggest market for EVs in the world. In fact, the company is also launching an energy department — Tesla Energy — in China to sell Solar Roof and Powerwall products in the country.

Tesla’s solar business is well positioned to maintain a high growth rate thanks to its state-of-the-art solutions. Reportedly, in the fourth quarter of 2020, the company installed 86 megawatts of solar energy worldwide, marking an increase of 59% year on year. In fact, Tesla’s solar revenues jumped 25% in 2020.

Nonetheless, the automaker’s solar business has had many hiccups as well. For instance, Tesla’s roll-out of the Solar Roof hit some snags few months back. In April, Tesla informed Solar Roof customers that their roofs would cost much more than they were initially quoted. This led to Solar Roof customers suing the automaker over the sudden price rise. Later, Musk acknowledged that the company incorrectly estimated the price of Solar Roof installations and said customers would be refunded their deposits if they cancel their orders.

Still, Musk projects that Tesla’s solar business can outshine its automotive business in the near future on the rising demand for clean energy. This, however, seems like a farfetched dream right now, with the energy division bringing in just less than $500 million in revenues last quarter compared to the automotive business’ $9 billion revenues.

Tesla, peers of which include General Motors GM, Volkswagen VWAGY and Ford F, currently carries a Zacks Rank of 3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Notably, shares of the company have skyrocketed 244.7% in the past year compared with the industry’s rally of 148.5%.

Zacks Investment Research
Zacks Investment Research

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Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America

A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made.

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Zacks Investment Research