While electric car maker Tesla and solar company SolarCity will likely unveil a new solar product on Friday evening in Los Angeles, the duo have a much broader, underlying objective for the event.
That’s to convince the world—and particularly company shareholders—that the energy companies are better together than apart. That joining Tesla’s battery tech, engineering, retail outlets, and strong brand, with SolarCity’s solar industry know-how, customer list, and financing partners is a winning combo.
Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk announced back in June that his electric car company was seeking to buy SolarCity, the solar company where he’s the chairman and the largest shareholder. His cousins Lyndon and Peter Rive co-founded and run the company, which has built a business off of financing and installing solar panels on the roofs of homes and company buildings.
But the proposed merger has proved controversial to analysts and industry-watchers who contend that SolarCity’s (SCTY) debt and major spending could be a killer to Tesla’s (TSLA) own massive spending and planned growth.
For more on the pros and cons of the Tesla/SolarCity deal watch our video.
Yet Musk has called the deal “a no brainer” and has said the deal could save the combined companies $150 million.
The event, to be held this Friday night at 5:30 PM at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, will be the first time that the companies will have come together to publicly show off a product that they have likely jointly engineered. While Musk joined SolarCity’s earnings call for the first time a couple months ago, the new product will be the first visual representation of what the merger could offer.
So what is it? Likely a roof integrated with solar panels, as well as a way to easily integrate the solar roof with Tesla batteries, and a Tesla car charger.
Musk teased the solar roof product in SolarCity’s last earning’s call. “It’s a solar roof, as opposed to a module on a roof. . . it’s not a thing on a roof, it’s the roof,” said Musk. In a tweet on Thursday afternoon, Musk called the event the “Solar roof unveil.”
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Many companies have toiled over integrating solar panels with roofs, walls and other building materials. To date many of these products have suffered from low efficiency and high costs.
But with Musk’s increasing influence on SolarCity, the company appears to be newly focused on differentiating itself from other solar companies by developing solar products that can stand out. Many of the solar panels installed on home rooftops these days are mostly commodities, attracting consumers with low prices.
The Los Angeles event is part of a series of efforts taken by Musk in recent weeks to sell the highly controversial merger deal.
Tesla reported blockbuster earnings on Wednesday, announcing a profit for the first time in three years. On the earnings call, Musk made positive statements about SolarCity upcoming earnings and how it would likely either be neutral or positive to Tesla’s earnings.
Following the solar roof unveil, next Tuesday Tesla and SolarCity plan to file additional (yet undisclosed) information about the acquisition. SolarCity is supposed to report earnings two days later, next Thursday.
Three weeks from today, shareholders will vote on the proposed union.