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Tesla is now hiring 81% more for its solar energy business than car manufacturing

Musk and co are looking to turn around a slumping home solar business

Quick, answer this question: What does Elon Musk's Tesla ($NASDAQ:TSLA) make?

If you answered electric vehicles, you'd be right. But if you answered solar panels, you'd also be right. And you'd even be onto something: as it turns out, despite the attention that Tesla's vehicles get, the company appears to be more focused on expanding its energy business — Tesla Energy (previously called Solar City) — than it does its automobile manufacturing and sales.

This news comes via hiring data tracked via Tesla's hiring website over the past year. While the company has publicly said that it's focused on getting more cars on the road, the company has been hiring more for its "Service & Energy Installation" group.

In fact, in the past quarter, the Service & Energy Installation team's hiring efforts outpaced those of Manufacturing by a factor of more than 2x.

Tesla's energy business includes solar panel installation along with home batteries that aim to get homes off traditional energy grids and into the Tesla product ecosystem. While it's not quite as sexy of a business as electric cars that can drive themselves and do 0-60 in a couple seconds, Tesla's energy products represent a high-margin, service-based business model that likely produces wider profit margins.

Tesla Energy mirrors SpaceX's (also an Elon Musk business) Starlink satellite low-orbit broadband business as a revenue generator that not only funds other efforts but also pushes innovation. Tesla's apparent investment in solar and battery talent echoes recent reports that the car company is scrambling to develop its own battery cell technology for which it has been dependent on Panasonic.

This all comes as reports that Tesla's share of the home solar market is slipping. Until recently, it was a market leader, and recent sales data shows that SolarCity / Tesla slipped to third place behind Vivint Solar and Sunrun in 2019. Clearly, Tesla is looking to change that.

As of this week, Tesla is hiring for 372 positions in its Service & Energy Installation group, compared to just 60 in its Supply Chain group. Of those Service & Energy Installation jobs, the most common opening is for local Service Technicians along with various hands-on installation techs.

Title

Title (Count)

Service Technician

15

Mobile Service Technician

6

Automobil-Mechatroniker (m/w/d) - St. Gallen

3

Service Advisor

3

Automobil-Mechatroniker (m/w/d) - Cham

2

Concrete Carpenter

2

Equipment Operator – Supercharger Construction

2

Installer

2

Mobiler Automobil-Mechatroniker (m/w/d) - Zürich Region

2

Automotive Service Technician (h/f) Geneva

2

This doesn't mean that Tesla is slowing manufacturing of cars by any stretch. In fact, the company has stated publicly that it intends to get more cars into customer's driveways throughout the rest of the year. But it does mean that Tesla is looking to hedge its financial bets with its now struggling solar business, and it needs people to help it do so.

Further reading:

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Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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