Tesla reports big losses

Tesla reported first quarter losses Wednesday of $702 million. What’s worse, Tesla reported a big drop in its solar business.

Solar panel installations dropped by more than one third during the first quarter. Installations are down five-fold since peaking in 2015. Its market share has tumbled in recent years from 33 to 9 percent.

All this is bad news for Tesla’s plant in South Buffalo, which was built and equipped at taxpayer expense. A slump in solar sales lessens demand for the products produced at the plant. That, in turn, could make it tough for Tesla to create all the jobs it’s promised.

Investigative Post has been reporting on the company’s financial problems since 2014, when the solar business operated as SolarCity. The company has always lost money and the situation grew more dire before Tesla purchased SolarCity in 2016.