If you’ve been considering installing solar panels, chances are you’ve come across Tesla. And while their website makes it seem like going solar with Tesla is the best way to have a high-tech home of the future while simultaneously lowering your electric bill, that actually might not be the case.
So, what’s making the switch to solar with Elon Musk really like? Is Tesla’s low pricing too good to be true?
In this article, we break down everything you need to know about buying Tesla’s solar panels, from Tesla’s approved financing options to whether or not buying them is the best choice for your roof.
Tesla solar panels at a glance
- Tesla solar panels cost about $2.30 per watt before the federal solar tax credit is applied.
- Tesla installs their own solar panels that range in size from 395 W to 430 W.
- Tesla’s performance warranty is slightly below industry standards, but their product warranty is better than what many solar panel brands offer.
- While Tesla may offer a low price for solar, they don’t offer great customer service, which is pertinent for a 25-year investment like solar panels.
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How much do Tesla solar panels cost?
You can expect to pay about $2.30 per watt for Tesla solar panels, before the federal solar tax credit. But the price can vary depending on where you live, ranging from $2.00 per watt to $2.75 per watt. Tesla’s prices are cheaper than the national average cost for solar, which typically falls between $2.60 per watt and $3.00 per watt.
Tesla has made buying solar panels as easy as buying a new shirt by offering standardized solar system sizes that start at 4.80 kW, and go all the way up to 24 kW in 2.4 kW increments. The following table lists the system sizes and their costs:
|System size||Cost before incentives*|
*Based on price of $2.32 per watt
To order Tesla solar panels, all you have to do is go to their website, enter your address, and Tesla recommends what system size is best for you based on your energy usage. You can also pick one of their other sizing options if you don’t think their recommendation works for you.
How are Tesla’s solar panels so cheap?
Tesla’s easy ordering process is one of the reasons they have such low prices.
Their brand name recognition also helps a lot. Tesla doesn’t have to do a whole lot of work to get people to their website. People know Tesla - so they go right to it. This, plus the fact that their order process is entirely online and they only offer nine standard system sizes eliminates a ton of overhead costs that many other solar companies face.
Not to mention, Tesla is a large company - they can afford to undercharge for their panels and take a slight loss at the front end of the deal.
Find out how much a solar system would cost for your specific home
Tesla’s solar financing
Tesla solar installations may be cheap in comparison to its competitors, but not everyone has thousands of dollars laying around to pay in cash. Tesla offers homeowners the ability to take out a loan directly with Tesla.
Tesla solar loan
Tesla’s solar loan works like any other regular solar loan. You take out a loan with Tesla and make monthly loan payments back over a 10-year term at 5.4% APR. With Tesla’s loan, you are the owner of the system, so you get the benefits of the solar tax credit and other solar incentives, like SRECs.
The following table outlines the estimated monthly payments for Tesla’s different solar system sizes:
|System size||Financed amount*||Down payment*||Monthly payment*|
*Based on price of $2.21 per watt
**10-year term at 5.4% APR
Tesla’s solar loan has a 10-year term and 3.65% APR.
Features of Tesla solar panel systems
Historically, Tesla used Hanwha Qcells’ Peak Duo Black solar panels, more specifically the Q.Peak Duo Blk-G6+ modules for their solar panel installations. In 2021, however, Tesla announced that they were switching over to their own solar panels.
Tesla offers two lines of solar panels: the H Series and the S Series. Let's take a look at what these panels offer in terms of performance:
|Spec||Tesla H Series||Tesla S Series|
|Models||T395H, T400H, T405H||T420S, T425S, T430S|
|Wattage||395 W - 405 W||420 W - 430 W|
|Efficiency||20.1% - 20.6%||19.3% - 19.8%|
|Power tolerance||-0 / +5 W||-0 / +5 W|
|Dimensions (with framing)||74.4" x 41.2" x 1.57"||82.4" x 40.9" x 1.57"|
|Warranty||25-year performance warranty, 10-year comprehensive warranty||25-year performance warranty, 10-year comprehensive warranty|
Tesla (and their die-hard fans) love to point out that Tesla’s panels are “more powerful” than other residential panels on the market. The fact of the matter is that Tesla’s solar panel output isn’t that impressive because each panel is the size of commercial solar panels. In fact, the S Series panels are actually bigger than most commercial solar panels.
Tesla’s panels have more area, meaning more solar cells can fit in the frame, and as a result, the power rating increases. It’s not because Tesla has used some sort of revolutionary technology. If you were to use those same solar cells in a standard residential size, it’d have the same output as other solar panels on the market.
Don’t get us wrong - the Tesla panels do still have some great technical specifications. The power tolerance rating and temperature coefficient are in line with popular Tier 1 solar brands, so they should operate well under real-world conditions.
When you install a Tesla solar panel system, there are three warranties that come with your panels:
- A product warranty
- A performance warranty
- A 10-year comprehensive warranty
Tesla panels come with a product warranty that guarantees the panels will be free from defects in design and materials for 25 years. This is a great product warranty compared to the industry standard of 12 years.
As solar panels age, they can’t produce as much electricity as they did initially. Performance warranties outline how much solar panels degrade as they age.
Tesla’s warranty states that its panels will operate at at least 98% of their original rated power after one year of use. For the remaining 24 years of the warranty period, the panels’ power capacity will not drop by more than 0.54% annually.
This is pretty much in line with industry standards; most panels have an annual degradation rate of 0.50%. Tesla’s is a little higher than that, which isn’t a good thing (when it comes to degradation rate, the lower, the better). Tesla’s panels have the potential to degrade a tiny bit faster than other solar panels on the market, but this shouldn’t be a make-it-or-break-it decision for getting Tesla solar panels.
But be warned - Tesla has a few different warranty terms floating around out there. The one we described above is the official warranty document on their website, so this should be the one to follow. But, a different set of performance warranty terms are listed on the datasheet for the H Series panel (which they don’t provide on their website by the way) and a statement on their website that includes yet another performance warranty.
10-year comprehensive warranty
The comprehensive warranty covers your entire Tesla solar system, including any Powerwalls you choose to install, the Tesla solar inverter, and roof mounting and leaks. It is nice to have a comprehensive warranty, so you only have to deal with one company if something goes wrong with your equipment.
With a regular solar panels system, for example, your inverter would probably be from a different company than your solar panels, so you’d need to keep track of a few different company warranties. Having a comprehensive warranty from one company, like Tesla, can save you a headache down the line.
The specifics of Tesla’s comprehensive warranty aren’t listed on the website, but they are included in your purchase agreement when you order the panels.
Which panels will Tesla install on your roof?
It’s unclear what size or series panel Tesla will install on your roof, they don’t even provide the technical specifications of their panels directly on their site. However, based on a table found here, it seems like the standard panel Tesla is using is 400 watts in size. With that said, there are plenty of places on their website that are out of date, so honestly, you probably won’t know for sure until you place an order.
Is it worth installing Tesla solar panels in your area?
How do Tesla solar panels work?
Tesla solar energy systems are made of three basic components:
- Solar panels
- Tesla’s new solar inverter
- Tesla’s Gateway monitoring system
The solar panels take sunlight and convert it into electricity. The electricity then travels from the solar panels to the Tesla solar inverter, where it is converted into AC electricity that your home appliances can use.
When you use the electricity your solar panels make, you use less energy from the grid, thereby lowering your power bill.
The solar panels will produce the most electricity in the middle of the day, when the sun is highest in the sky. Any energy that your solar panels produce that your home doesn’t use will be sent to the utility grid, or your Tesla Powerwall battery if you choose to have one installed.
At night, when your home’s energy usage is higher than what your panels are producing, you will take electricity from the grid or your battery, depending on your system setup.
The Gateway monitoring system keeps track of this process and how your solar power system is performing, which you can keep an eye on with the Tesla app.
Do you need to install a Tesla Powerwall with Tesla solar panels?
Over the past year, Tesla has flip-flopped back and forth between whether or not they require a Tesla Powerwall with their solar panel installations. As of October 2021, Tesla does not require a Powerwall with Tesla solar panels.
If you want to add energy storage to your Tesla solar panel installation, it’ll add an additional $11,500 onto your installation costs.
What is the difference between Tesla’s solar roof and Tesla solar panels?
Tesla solar panels look like the solar panels you’re used to seeing on roofs. They are installed on top of your existing roof and generate electricity for your home to use.
Tesla’s solar shingles are designed to look like traditional roofing materials, so you can’t tell that there is solar installed on the roof.
Tesla solar shingles require a full new roof replacement, so the solar roof tiles don't stand out from the rest of your shingles. Unlike their traditional rooftop solar panels, Tesla manufactures their solar shingles themselves at their Buffalo, New York gigafactory.
You can read more about how Tesla’s solar roof compares to conventional solar panels here.
Tesla’s customer service comes up short
It’s true that you’ll probably get the lowest price for going solar when you go with Tesla. But the price of solar also includes the cost of the long-term relationship that you get with your solar installer, and that seems to be where Tesla cuts costs.
Unfortunately, Tesla has historically been known for having pretty shoddy long-term customer service - which you can read about in customer reviews here on SolarReviews. Because they are such a large company, they don't have the ability to give you the type of one-on-one service that you need when going solar.
Tesla’s customers have reported that it’s hard to get ahold of them if there’s a problem with their system, and it can take even longer to get someone out to check on the issues. This can actually cause you to lose a substantial amount of money.
If your solar panels aren’t producing energy properly, you have less electricity to power your home, and thus a higher electric bill. The longer it takes for someone to fix your system, the more money you lose.
Are Tesla solar panels worth it?
At first glance, a Tesla solar panel installation seems like a no-brainer. They have an easy ordering process and they offer good-quality solar panels at an insanely low price. All we can say is that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
When it comes to solar, the communication between you and your solar company is key. You’ll be dealing with them for 25 years, at least! Tesla’s track record shows that they might not be the ones you want to rely on if something goes wrong. Cutting costs won’t be worth the potential headache you could incur after the solar installation.
We recommend getting quotes from a few local solar installers before you decide to go solar with Tesla. A local installer’s prices will most definitely be higher than Tesla’s, but the cost includes the value of a long-term customer relationship, and to us, that’s priceless.
Find out how much solar would cost for your home after the 26% income tax incentive
Tesla S series solar panels have an efficiency of 19.3% to 19.8% while the H series panels have an efficiency between 20.1% to 20.6% which is mostly on par with other solar panel companies. Competitors ADT Solar and SunPower can claim efficiency of 20% or more.Is Tesla solar and powerwall worth it? ›
Without a doubt, the Tesla Powerwall is ahead of the competition in terms of market share, and Tesla Powerwall reviews from customers consistently give the batteries high marks. However, when you compare technical specifications, there are many home batteries with excellent performance out there.Are Tesla solar panels better than LG? ›
The Tesla Powerwall has a slight upper-hand when it comes to warranty. While LG offers the same 10-year warranty, it only guarantees 60% capacity during that time. This means homeowners who install the LG Chem RESU would expect 10% more degradation of their battery over the same 10-year period.What is the advantage of Tesla solar panels? ›
Tesla offers low-profile solar panels and are likely cheaper than those from other national companies. Those guaranteed low prices, matched with quality panels, batteries and inverters means Tesla likely offers more solar power for less money than other national players.Why is my Tesla solar bill so high? ›
You may notice a higher bill in the summer when your solar system is producing the most energy. This energy is typically applied as a credit by your utility for usage later in the year. Tesla no longer provides this financing offering for new systems.How long does it take for Tesla solar panels to pay off? ›
Solar panel payback time averages between 5 and 15 years in the United States, depending on where you live. How quickly your solar panels pay back their cost depends on how much you paid, the price of electricity from your utility, and available upfront and ongoing incentives.Can I live off grid with Tesla Powerwall? ›
Go Off-Grid allows you to disconnect your Powerwall from your utility grid to simulate the experience of being off the electrical grid. With the ability to disconnect using the Tesla app, your Powerwall puts you in direct control of your home energy ecosystem, improving your energy independence and security.How much does a Tesla Powerwall cost in 2022? ›
The Tesla Powerwall in 2022 costs $11,500. If you order directly from Tesla, you must purchase solar panels or a solar roof at the same time. You can purchase a Powerwall separately from a Tesla Certified Installer. The Powerwall+ model can only be purchased directly from Tesla.How long will a Tesla Powerwall run a house? ›
“An average homeowner typically will draw 2 kilowatts maximum during an outage, and an average of 750 to 1,000 watts during the course of the outage," he said. "This means a Brightbox will last for 10 to 12 hours, while a Powerwall will last for 12 to 15 hours.”Who has the best solar panels on the market? ›
SunPower Solar takes the top spot on our best list thanks to its top-of-the-line solar panels and strong warranties. The solar panels SunPower offers have industry leading efficiency marks (22.8%) and a warranty that guarantees at least 92% production after 25 years.
How are Tesla's solar panels so cheap? Tesla's easy ordering process is one of the reasons they have such low prices. Their brand name recognition also helps a lot. Tesla doesn't have to do a whole lot of work to get people to their website.Which solar panel brand is best? ›
- Silfab: Our overall pick.
- SunPower: Our pick for efficiency.
- Panasonic: Our pick for premium panels.
- LG: Our pick for accessibility.
- Q Cells: Our pick for warranty options.
- Canadian Solar: Our pick for affordability.
- Trina Solar: Our pick for value panels.
After Tesla installs your solar system, you will still be connected to the grid and have an account with your electric utility provider. Your rate plan may change post-installation as required by your utility provider. Solar can greatly reduce your electric bill, but you will often still have a residual bill.Is Tesla the best option for solar? ›
Overall, Tesla offers industry-standard solar systems in terms of efficiency and cost. The Tesla solar shingles and roof have a sleek approach to design, and the company provides a solid guarantee for its work. In addition, the Tesla Powerwall is one of the most reputable solar batteries on the market.Does Tesla solar increase home value? ›
Does solar add value to a home? Absolutely. Tesla Solar Roofs, in particular, are a great choice for energy-efficient savings, a lower carbon footprint, and a beautiful modern look. Installing one also increases the value of your property.Why are my solar panels not saving me money? ›
Your Home Is Using Too Much Power
If your solar panels are not reducing your bill, it can be because: Your system is generating less electricity than you use. You're using too much electricity at night when panels aren't generating it. Too many appliances or devices are plugged in.
- Solar panels can be visually unappealing. ...
- Impact of nature on solar panels. ...
- Microcracks on PV cells. ...
- Poor connections. ...
- Inverter issues. ...
- Debris building up on panels. ...
- Solar panels are currently difficult to recycle.
Across all Tesla products, the average charging cost per mile is 4.56 cents per mile. So, if you only charge your Tesla at home, you can expect your electricity bill to increase by about $50 each month.What happens when you pay off your solar? ›
Once you pay off your loan or buy your system outright you will essentially be getting energy for free. When it comes to payment, those who are using solar energy will still get a monthly utility bill. This will show how much energy you produced versus how much energy you used for the month.How much does it cost to remove Tesla solar panels? ›
Tesla Solar Removal Fee
If you have Tesla panels, removing them costs the same as other panels - roughly $200 to $300 per panel for removal, permitting, and reinstallation with inspection. However, your project is different if you have solar shingles.
- Buyout of a solar lease agreement. ...
- Purchase of the solar system at market-value. ...
- Transfer of a solar lease. ...
- Relocate a solar panels system from one house to another.
This includes 120V loads such as lights, plugs and small appliances as well as 240V heavy loads such as air conditioners, electric cooking ranges, well pumps, EV charging, electric dryers, electric water heaters and pool pumps.Can a Tesla Powerwall power a refrigerator? ›
The length of time a Powerwall will power it depends on how many watts the refrigerator uses. For example, it'll power a 200 W refrigerator for 67.5 hours. How much can a Tesla Powerwall power? The amount a Powerwall can power depends on the appliances and items you're using in your home and how long you use them.How long does it take to pay off a Tesla Powerwall? ›
Operating the Powerwall for 6.5 kilowatt hours the next day, saves $0.98 of electricity charges. Factoring in the charging costs, saves $0.53 a day of electricity costs, or $193 a year, requiring a payback period of 38 years, which is almost 4 times the warranty period of 10 years for the Powerwall.Why did Tesla stop selling Powerwall? ›
Tesla has quietly discontinued the 10 kWh Powerwall, its larger battery pack meant to store solar energy for use during an outage. Greentech Media confirmed the discontinuation with Tesla, which essentially said that it made the decision because its smaller Powerwall is much more popular.Can you run a house on Tesla Powerwall? ›
The Tesla Powerwall 2 can be used in virtually any building with a solar PV system, whether that's a home, a commercial or a public building. It works best when there is plenty of excess day-time solar electricity that would otherwise be exported back to the grid.How long is the wait for Tesla Powerwall? ›
Depending on your location, the approval process typically takes one to six weeks.How long will 2 Tesla Powerwalls last in a power outage? ›
This is typically under 1kW in total continuous load so a Powerwall can last about a day. This is usually enough to get you through a power outage. To last 3-5 days you would probably need 2 Powerwalls and to reduce the load on your batteries to just the lights, the wifi, a few outlets and the fridge.Can a Tesla Powerwall power a home during power outage? ›
Powerwall brings you energy independence and security, so life in your home can carry on uninterrupted during a grid outage. During a power outage, Powerwall discharges its stored energy to provide power to your home.How many Powerwalls do I need to go off grid? ›
Using Tesla Powerwall batteries with 95% depth-of-discharge, that means you'll need a storage system with a total capacity of about 111 kWh, which comes out to a little less than 8 individual Tesla Powerwall batteries.
Panels built using advanced 'Interdigitated back contact' or IBC cells are the most efficient, followed by heterojunction (HJT) cells, TOPcon cells, half-cut and multi-busbar monocrystalline PERC cells, shingled cells and finally 60-cell (4-5 busbar) mono cells.Is there anything better than solar panels? ›
Windmills have a higher energy yield than residential solar panels. Windmills can harness up to 50% of energy compared to 20% for solar panels. In fact, one windmill can generate the same amount of electricity in kWh compared to thousands of solar panels.Is solar worth it if my bill is low? ›
If you experience higher electricity rates, switching to solar will likely be a good investment. However, if your home does not require a lot of energy consumption to operate day-to-day, you may not save enough to balance the installation cost.How long does it take for Tesla to install solar panels? ›
Installation time is dependent on the size and complexity of your roof, but most installations take approximately five to seven business days to complete. After installation, you can start using Solar Roof when the utility provides Permission to Operate (PTO).What type of solar panel lasts the longest? ›
Which Type of Solar Panel Lasts Longest? Both monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon solar panels last for a long time, with lifespans that go beyond their 25-year warranties.Which of the 3 main types of solar panels are the most efficient? ›
Among all panel types, crystalline solar panels have the highest efficiency. Monocrystalline panels have an efficiency rating over 20%. PERC panels add an extra 5% efficiency thanks to their passivation layer. Polycrystalline panels hover somewhere between 15-17%.What is the strongest solar panel in the world? ›
More 500W plus, some 600W solar panels
- Jolywood, 615 W.
- Risen Solar, 615 W.
- JinkoSolar, 610 W.
- Suntech, 605 W.
- Haitai, 600 W.
- Talesun, 590 W.
- CSI, 590 W.
- Eging PV, 545 W.
After your solar panels have been installed, it's time to enjoy the benefits! You'll be generating clean energy and helping to reduce your energy bills. However, you will still have to pay for any energy you use that you don't generate yourself.Do Tesla solar panels melt snow? ›
Solar panels produce some heat that can help snow melt or slide off the roof faster by creating a layer of water to help gravity after an accumulation from a snowstorm.Will I still receive an electric bill if I have solar panels? ›
Yes, You Will Have an Electricity Bill with Solar Panels
Any excess generation is stored in solar batteries and/or sent back to the utility grid with net metering. Your home uses less electricity at night and on cloudy days than you have in your batteries, or you have net metering credit to cover that use.
Your solar panels are guaranteed by their manufacturer to at least 80% of nameplate power capacity for at least 25 years.Is Tesla solar and Powerwall worth it? ›
Without a doubt, the Tesla Powerwall is ahead of the competition in terms of market share, and Tesla Powerwall reviews from customers consistently give the batteries high marks. However, when you compare technical specifications, there are many home batteries with excellent performance out there.Is it harder to sell a house with solar panels? ›
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, homes with solar panels sell 20% faster and for 17% more than those without.Do solar panels increase your home insurance? ›
You may not see an increase in your homeowners insurance premium after installing solar panels on your roof. However, you'll likely need to raise your coverage limits to account for the replacement cost of your solar panels, which will likely result in some increase to your premium.Is Tesla solar panels Tier 1? ›
Don't get us wrong - the Tesla panels do still have some great technical specifications. The power tolerance rating and temperature coefficient are in line with popular Tier 1 solar brands, so they should operate well under real-world conditions.What solar panel has the highest efficiency rating? ›
Panels built using advanced 'Interdigitated back contact' or IBC cells are the most efficient, followed by heterojunction (HJT) cells, TOPcon cells, half-cut and multi-busbar monocrystalline PERC cells, shingled cells and finally 60-cell (4-5 busbar) mono cells.Does Tesla have Best solar? ›
Overall, Tesla offers industry-standard solar systems in terms of efficiency and cost. The Tesla solar shingles and roof have a sleek approach to design, and the company provides a solid guarantee for its work. In addition, the Tesla Powerwall is one of the most reputable solar batteries on the market.Does Tesla solar roof pay off? ›
Tesla Solar Roof Pays For Itself
The Powerwall can keep electricity flowing at night or when there's a power outage by using excess solar energy generated by the roof during the day. Tesla's Solar Roof also has a 25-year warranty and is more durable and fire-resistant than a standard shingle roof.
Solar Roof helps pay for itself with the energy it produces. As a fully integrated system, Solar Roof can maximize your solar generation and help you take control of your monthly electricity bill. Solar Roof helps pay for itself with the energy it produces.How much does Tesla solar increase home value? ›
The increase may not happen immediately. It depends on how quickly the tax assessors get around to reviewing your property value and adjusting your tax rate. We've found that adding a Tesla Solar Roof, on average, increases a property value by 11%.
Solar panels generate their own power and can therefore greatly offset your monthly electricity bill, if not eliminate it. The higher your bill, the more likely you'll benefit from switching. But be aware that electricity rates and usage — the main charges on your statement — are volatile.What is the best type of solar panel to buy? ›
Among all panel types, crystalline solar panels have the highest efficiency. Monocrystalline panels have an efficiency rating over 20%. PERC panels add an extra 5% efficiency thanks to their passivation layer.How long does it take to get Tesla solar panels? ›
Depending on your location, this may take from 2 to 6 weeks. When your system is ready to install, you can choose a date. Installation is finished the same day for most systems, and you only need to be at the house during the first hour.Can you walk on a Tesla solar roof? ›
The slippery nature of Tesla Solar Roofs is an unavoidable side effect of the way the solar shingles are made. This slipperiness is why you should never walk on a Tesla Solar Roof, even though there's little to no risk of damaging the roof itself.What is the difference between Tesla solar panels and other solar panels? ›
In terms of the actual ability to generate solar power, the Tesla solar roof is more effective than traditional solar panels. It has a lower cost per watt than conventional solar panels and Tesla's Powerwall is a better storage system for generated energy.