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Elon Musk’s Solar Partnership Strategy Doesn't Look So Crazy Anymore

  • Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity tries to exploit brand name
  • Solar installers joining with big companies to cut sales costs
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Tesla's Trifecta-Solar, Batteries and Cars (Video)


Elon Musk took a lot of heat last year when his Tesla Inc. bought solar-panel installer SolarCity for $2 billion. The synergies between his two companies didn’t seem immediately obvious, among other issues, critics said.

But now other solar installers are looking to partner with companies as they wrestle with a market that is shrinking after 16 years of rapid growth. Their longtime sales model -- knocking on doors, cold calling at home, setting up mall kiosks -- has proven to be costly. Far more effective to use the umbrella of bigger established companies to find customers, they’ve decided.