Constructed from solar panels manufactured such that they resemble tiles used to build ordinary roofs, Tesla's Solar Roof would fit right into existing neighborhoods, and potentially both add value and dodge HOA covenants at the same time as it generated cheap, renewable energy for the homeowner -- at a price the company claimed would be similar to that of ordinary roofing materials. Consumer demand was immediate, as would-be buyers of Solar Roof began sending Tesla $1,000 deposits to secure their places in line.
And now, Tesla is giving those deposits back.
Some of the deposits, at least. As Electrek.co reports today, Tesla has begun contacting persons who paid deposits on Solar Roof years ago, and informing them that Tesla "will not be able to proceed with your project" because the customer's "home is not located within our currently planned service territory" and therefore "[t]he driving distance from our closest warehouse would make it difficult for us to provide you the high-quality service that our customers deserve."
According to Electrek, at least some customers in Oregon and Michigan have received communications to this effect, along with a promise from Tesla to refund their deposits "within 7-10 business days."
At the same time as some customers are having their orders rejected, however, the website reports that overall, "we have seen an increase in solar roof installations" since last year, which suggests that the problems Tesla is experiencing aren't with the product itself, but more with its delivery and installation network.