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Sunday, July 30, 2023

Summer Solstice

June 21st was the 2023 summer solstice in the northern hemisphere. In the NW Oregon region, sunrise was at 5:23 AM and sunset was at 9:04 PM. That's 15 hours, 41 minutes of daylight on this, the longest, day of the year. 

With all those hours of daylight, this day is a milestone for solar production. I usually like to report our solar production for this day. Sadly, our production for this year's solstice was zero kilowatt-hours.

Our production was zero because our panels are stacked up on our deck waiting to be reinstalled. They were removed to allow for the installation of a new roof. The new roof is complete and the solar panels will be back up there soon.

This was an interesting process and, even after having solar for 16 years, I learned a few things through the experience. But that's a story for another day, after the story is complete and the panels are back on the roof and producing, I'll post the entire saga. 


Once upon a time, nestled in a small suburban neighborhood, there stood a quaint little house adorned with gleaming solar panels on the rooftop. The home belonged to the Smith family, who were firm supporters of sustainable living and the power of renewable energy.

For years, the solar panels had faithfully converted the sun's abundant rays into electricity, providing the Smiths with clean and cost-effective power. They reveled in the knowledge that they were reducing their carbon footprint and doing their part to protect the environment. However, as time went by, the roof beneath the solar panels began to show signs of wear and tear.

Understanding the importance of a sturdy roof, the Smiths reluctantly decided to have it replaced, knowing that this meant temporarily bidding farewell to their beloved solar panels. It was a difficult decision, for they knew that during the construction process, they would miss out on an extraordinary event—the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, when the sun's rays would be most abundant.

As the construction workers arrived, the Smith family watched their once sun-kissed solar system being carefully dismantled. The roof was stripped bare, exposing the house to the elements. Day by day, the roofers diligently worked, ensuring the new roof was strong, reliable, and capable of protecting their cherished home.

Meanwhile, inside the house, the Smiths experienced an unusual sense of emptiness. Without the soft hum of the inverter or the knowledge that the sun was powering their home, they felt a loss. The house seemed dimmer, hollower, as if a small part but important bit was missing.

The days passed, and the Smiths anxiously awaited the installation of their new roof, hoping that it would be completed before the summer solstice arrived. However, delays in the construction process made their dreams of harnessing the sun's energy on that special day grow dim.

Finally, just a day before the summer solstice, the roofers finished their work. The Smiths were relieved to have their home once again protected, but the missed opportunity weighed heavily on their hearts. They had missed out on a chance to maximize their solar production on the longest day of the year.

Yet, as the sun rose on that momentous day, its rays gently caressed the newly installed roof. Although the solar panels were absent, the Smiths knew that their commitment to renewable energy extended beyond a single day. Their actions were a testament to their dedication to a greener future.

The Smith family vowed to make the most of their solar panels once they were reinstalled. They eagerly awaited the return of their energy-generating companions, knowing that every day would be an opportunity to contribute to a sustainable world. They understood that the summer solstice was just one day, but their commitment to renewable energy was a lifelong journey.

And so, the Smiths' home stood proudly once more, with a new roof, waiting to embrace the return of its solar panels. The story of their temporary separation from the sun's power would be shared, serving as a reminder that even amidst setbacks and missed opportunities, the pursuit of a sustainable future remains steadfast.

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Tesla's 2 Million Year

In January, we predicted that 2023 would be the year that Tesla produced over 2 million vehicles in a year for the first time. Now that we're halfway through the year let's see how that's progressing. 

Tesla recently reported their Q2 2023 production and delivery results. They produced 479,700 vehicles in the quarter. That's a run rate of 1.9 million annual units, and it brings Tesla's production up to 880,000 for the first half of the year. That's less than halfway to the 2 million unit target, but (absent force majeure) you can expect them to increase the production rate in Q3 and again in Q4 as Giga Austin and Giga Berlin continue to find their footing and take longer strides. 

With that increase in the second half of the year, will they hit the 2 million mark?

Tesla's guidance is merely 1.8 million units for the year. Given the first-half results, let's plug in the numbers and see if 2 million is still a possibility. 

Here's a chart of recent production with simple growth trend estimates to complete the year.

Q1 Actuals: 439,701
Q2 Actuals: 479,700
Q3 Estimate: 545,000
Q4 Estimate: 610,000

If these estimates are correct, that's a total of ~2,074,000 for the year.

That's not a lot of margin for error, but 2 million is still a possibility, assuming Tesla can continue to scale production in the 2nd half of this year. Giga Berlin and Giga Austin are both ramping up and have hit significant milestones in the first half of this year. 

2 million units this year is no guarantee, but it is still a possibility for this year. With such a small margin of error, another Covid variant shutdown, supply-chain issues, or the like and we'll have to wait until 2024 to cross this big milestone. See you after Q3 to see how we're trending. 

It will be exciting to see how this plays out. 

disclaimer: I'm long TSLA.

Update: July 22nd, 2023
Tesla recently held their Q2'23 financial update and they reported that Q3 production will be down due to production line upgrades. The 2-million milestone had very little margin, so with this scheduled downtime, it seems unlikely that this will be the 2-million vehicle year. This will still be a historic year for Tesla with the first Cybertrucks rolling off the line.