Although Tesla is frequently associated with premium, luxurious renewable technology, its solar panel business might be a little perplexing. With the intention of optimizing the production of solar panels and battery storage, Tesla entered the solar market in 2016 by purchasing SolarCity.
Tesla assumed control and kept the same sales and marketing network, but they were unable to mass-produce solar panels.
Panasonic and Tesla formed their initial partnership in the gigafactory in Buffalo, New York. Solar cells, the part of solar panels that convert sunlight to electricity for energy generation, were supplied by Panasonic to Tesla. Due to limited demand from Tesla, Tesla and Panasonic’s relationship to produce solar cells unfortunately came to an end in 2020. However, they continue to work together to produce Tesla solar batteries for Tesla Powerwalls and electric automobiles.
Before producing two lines of solar panels bearing the Tesla brand for use in home installation projects, Tesla first shifted to using solar panels made by outside manufacturers, such as Korean solar powerhouse Q CELLS.
It can be confusing to know exactly what panels you get when you buy Tesla panels because a variety of entities may fall under the Tesla brand. This blog outlines what to anticipate.
Does Tesla manufacture its own solar cells?
No, Tesla does not produce its solar cells.
As mentioned above, Tesla and Panasonic had a joint venture up until recently to produce Tesla solar panels. The foundation of the relationship was Tesla’s use of Panasonic’s renowned HIT cells to build solar panels.
We understand that Tesla stopped producing its solar panels after Panasonic stopped making solar cells for the company. Instead, it seems to be sourcing solar panels for installation tasks from outside suppliers.
The Tesla Solar Roof, a solar shingle product, is the lone exception, with reports claiming that Tesla is producing its own solar cells for it. However, cancellations and recurrent delays have hindered the development and introduction of the Tesla Solar Roof.
So what exactly are Tesla solar panels?
Tesla changes its solar panels frequently for its residential solar installations.
Tesla initially shifted to use solar panels from Qcells once Panasonic was eliminated from the picture. The Tesla T420S solar panel was then set to debut in April 2021, according to Tesla.
Since then, homeowners purchasing solar panels from Tesla have had the option of Qcells or Tesla-branded solar panels. The fact that Tesla gives almost no information on its solar panels on its website furthers the confusion.
So what can you anticipate if you get solar panels from Tesla?
As of right present, it looks that Tesla uses the H-series and the S-series solar panel models for residential solar panel installations. Both designs look to be Tesla-branded Q CELLS panels.
These solar panels’ main characteristics are shown below.
Specifications for Tesla solar panels
|Model||Power output||Efficiency||Product warranty||25-Year performance warranty|
|Tesla T395H||395 W||20.1%||25 years||86%|
|Tesla T400H||400 W||20.4%||25 years||86%|
|Tesla T405H||405 W||20.6%||25 years||86%|
|Tesla T420S||420 W||19.3%||25 years||85%|
|Tesla T425S||425 W||19.6%||25 years||85%|
|Tesla T430S||430 W||19.8%||25 years||85%|
Each of the massive 72-cell panels used by Tesla has an output of about 400 watts. However, compared to competing Tier 1 solar panel brands, Tesla’s solar panels are distinctly ordinary in terms of important technical parameters like module efficiency and temperature coefficient.
For instance, SunPower, which offers a solar panel with a maximum efficiency of 22.8%, is ahead of market leaders like Tesla with a module efficiency of 19.3%–20.6%.
Three warranties are provided by Tesla. The product warranty for solar panels is 25 years, which is comparable to the best solar panels currently available. Next, Tesla offers a 25-year performance warranty with a maximum 0.54% yearly degradation guarantee; this is a little poorer than typical.
The 10-year comprehensive guarantee covers the complete system, including the solar inverter, the (optional) Powerwall, and the rest of the supporting hardware. For inverters and solar batteries, a 10-year warranty is quite normal, but it’s more convenient to get all of these warranties from the same provider.
The aesthetic appeal of a Tesla solar panel system is among its main advantages. In order to provide a smooth integration with the roofing material, typical solar installations include skirting in an effort to conceal all solar panel mounting hardware from view from the ground.
The appearance of Tesla’s panels is also black, making them as aesthetically pleasant as possible.
Why are Tesla solar panels sourced from third parties?
For a number of reasons, Tesla uses third-party panels.
For its solar systems, SolarCity has always sold solar panels from other companies, and their business model carried over to their partnership with Tesla. It makes sense for Tesla to tell customers the price of the lowest solar panel, hence it is not in its best interest to reveal the brand of solar panel.
Those solar panels would officially be the “Tesla brand” solar panels under the prior Panasonic collaboration. However, buying solar panels from other businesses, such as Qcells, was still common.
Currently, it appears that Tesla completes most or all of its residential installation projects utilizing Tesla-branded solar panels purchased from Qcells.
You should demand the model and spec sheet of the solar panels they will be utilizing if you are ordering a solar panel installation. This will enable you to evaluate the solar panels in comparison to other top solar panels available.
How much do Tesla solar panels cost?
Tesla solar panels range in price from $9,600 to $48,352, before incentives, depending on the system size that is best for your home.
|System size||Cost before incentives|
|4.08 kW||$9,600 – $12,048|
|9.60 kW||$19,200 – $24,096|
|14.40 kW||$28,800 – $36,144|
|19.20 kW||$38,400 – $48,192|
Each additional Tesla Powerwall will cost you an additional $11,500 before incentives if you decide to expand your system with energy storage.
Remember that solar subsidies can substantially lower your overall costs. In fact, all taxpayers are eligible for the 30% federal solar tax credit, and numerous states and utilities also provide additional incentives and rebates.
What is the right Tesla solar system size for your home?
Tesla used to charge a set price for solar panel systems all over the United States. Tesla revised its solar price structure in March 2022, and now there are considerable cost differences between states.
Tesla solar panel systems can range in price from $2.00 to $2.51 per watt, which is a common metric for comparing solar panel pricing.
Fortunately, figuring out what your home might cost is not too difficult.
To obtain a price, visit the online portal and input your address and your typical monthly electric bill. In an experiment, we calculated the expenses for a 2,300 square foot house with a monthly electricity expenditure of either $140, $280, or $420. Tesla suggested systems of 4.80 kW, 9.60 kW, and 14.40 kW, respectively.
Three of the typical system sizes that Tesla provides to all home solar clients are the ones that were just described. A system of that magnitude would need an extremely high energy bill, while some markets provide a fourth, larger system size of 19.20 kW.
How much will a Tesla solar system cost for your home?
Calculating the cost of Tesla solar panels for your property based on your electricity demand is actually rather straightforward.
Check your monthly electric bill to find out how many kilowatt hours (kWh) your home consumes each day, and from there, the size of the system you require. It will display how much kWh your home utilized in that particular month. To calculate the daily usage, divide that by the number of days in the month.
For instance, you would divide 1,200 by 31 to get an average of 38 kWh consumed each day if your home used 1,200 kWh in March. You would likely require the 9.60 kW system based on estimations of the energy output of solar systems (shown in the table below).
Cost and output of Tesla solar panels according to system size
|System size||kWh produced*||Number of solar panels||Cost before incentives**|
|4.80 kW||19 – 24 kWh/day||12||$11,088|
|9.60 kW||38 – 48 kWh/day||24||$22,176|
|14.40 kW||57 – 72 kWh/day||36||$33,264|
Final word on Tesla solar panels
If you’re a fan of Tesla, installing Tesla solar panels with a Tesla Powerwall home battery is simple and results in a 100% sustainable home.
Even though Tesla may not be the sole producer of the solar panels, as long as you are aware of its solar panel warranty, you should have no trouble believing a Tesla quote. Tesla does offer a 10-year workmanship warranty and, after 25 years, at least 85% of the nameplate power capacity.
However, in terms of panel efficiency, Tesla solar panels are not the finest choice on the market. If you decide to browse for solar panels primarily on their efficiency, SolarReviews suggests these brands.