If you’ve been thinking about installing solar panels, it’s likely that you’ve heard of Tesla. Additionally, despite what their website suggests, it may not be the greatest approach to have a high-tech home of the future while also reducing your electric cost to go solar with Tesla.
So, how does switching to solar with Elon Musk actually go? Is Tesla’s affordable pricing a scam?
This article explains all you need to know about purchasing Tesla solar panels, including the financing alternatives that have been approved by Tesla and whether or not doing so is the best option for your roof.
How much do Tesla solar panels cost?
Before the federal solar tax credit, you may anticipate Tesla solar panels to cost around $2.30 per watt. However, prices might range from $2.00 per watt to $2.75 per watt depending on where you live. The charges charged by Tesla are less expensive than the $2.60 to $3.00 per watt national average for solar costs.
By offering standardized solar system sizes that start at 4.80 kW and continue all the way up to 24 kW in increments of 2.4 kW, Tesla has made purchasing solar panels as simple as buying a new shirt. The system sizes and associated expenses are shown in the following table:
|System size||Cost before incentives*|
*Based on price of $2.32 per watt
All you need to do to get Tesla solar panels is go to their website, enter your address, and Tesla will suggest the optimum system size for you based on your energy usage. If you don’t feel like their suggested size is right for you, you can choose one of their other sizing choices.
How are Tesla’s solar panels so cheap?
One of the factors contributing to Tesla’s low prices is their simple ordering process.
The popularity of their brand also greatly aids. Tesla doesn’t need to put in a lot of effort to attract visitors to their website. People immediately turn to Tesla because they know it. This removes a significant amount of overhead costs that many other solar companies experience, along with the fact that their purchasing process is totally online and they only provide nine common system sizes.
Not to mention, Tesla is a big business; as such, they can afford to undercharge for its panels and incur a small loss up front.
Tesla’s solar financing
Even while Tesla solar installations are less expensive than those of its rivals, not everyone has thousands of dollars lying around to pay with cash. Homeowners have the option to obtain a loan straight from Tesla.
Tesla solar loan
Like other solar loans, Tesla’s operate similarly. You take out a loan from Tesla and repay it over ten years at an interest rate of 5.4% per month. Since you own the system with Tesla’s loan, you qualify for 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
Peak Duo Black solar panels from Hanwha Qcells, more especially the Q.Peak Duo Blk-G6+ modules, have historically been utilized by Tesla for their solar panel installations. Tesla, however, declared that they would begin using its own solar panels in 2021.
The H Series and the S Series are two solar panel product lines offered by Tesla. Let’s examine the performance that these panels provide:
|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 ardent supporters) are always emphasizing how “more powerful” their panels are compared to other residential panels available on the market. Because each panel is the same size as a commercial solar panel, Tesla’s solar panel output isn’t very spectacular. The S Series panels are larger than the majority of commercial solar panels, in fact.
The area of Tesla’s panels is larger, which enables more solar cells to fit in the frame and raises the panel’s power rating. It’s not because Tesla employed a novel technological advancement. It would produce the same amount of energy as other solar panels on the market if you used those same solar cells in a typical home size.
Don’t misunderstand us; the Tesla panels still have some excellent technical features. The temperature coefficient and power tolerance rating are comparable to well-known Tier 1 solar brand names, thus they ought to perform admirably in actual use.
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 solar panels are covered by a 25-year product warranty that ensures they are free from manufacturing and material flaws. When compared to the 12-year industry standard, this product warranty is excellent.
Solar panels lose their ability to generate as much electricity as they once could as they get older. Performance guarantees describe how solar panels deteriorate over time.
According to Tesla’s warranty, its solar panels will continue to produce at least 98% of their initial rated electricity after a year of use. The panels’ power capacity won’t decrease for the remaining 24 years of the guarantee by more than 0.54% yearly.
The average annual degradation rate for panels is 0.50%, thus this is pretty much in line with industry standards. It’s not a good thing that Tesla’s is a little higher than that (when it comes to degradation rate, the lower, the better). Tesla’s solar panels may age slightly more quickly than other solar panels on the market, but this shouldn’t be a deciding factor in whether or not to purchase them.
But beware, there are a few alternative warranty clauses for Tesla products floating around. The one we just stated should be used because it is the company’s website’s official warranty paperwork. However, the datasheet for the H Series panel (which they don’t give on their website, by the way) and a statement on their website that includes yet another performance warranty are listed with a different set of performance warranty terms.
10-year comprehensive warranty
The extensive warranty covers every component of your Tesla solar system, including the inverter, any Powerwalls you decide to install, roof mounting, and leaks. It is convenient to get a complete warranty so that if something goes wrong with your equipment, you only have to contact one business.
You would need to keep track of several distinct company warranties if you used a normal solar panel system, where your inverter is likely to be from a different company than your solar panels. You may avoid future hassles by getting a comprehensive warranty from one company, like Tesla.
The details of Tesla’s extensive warranty are included in your purchase agreement when you order the solar panels, but they are not displayed on the company’s website.
Which panels will Tesla install on your roof?
Tesla doesn’t even directly list the technical details of their panels on their website, so it’s unknown what size or series of panels they will install on your roof. However, it appears from a table published here that Tesla is employing a conventional panel that is 400 watts in size. Having said that, there are a lot of outdated sections on their website, so in all honesty, you won’t really know until you place an order.
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 use the sun’s energy to create power. After passing through the Tesla solar inverter, the electricity from the solar panels is transformed into AC power for your home’s appliances.
Your electricity cost will go down when you use the electricity your solar panels produce instead of energy from the grid.
When the sun is at its zenith in the sky during the middle of the day, the solar panels will generate the maximum electricity. If you decide to install a Tesla Powerwall battery, any energy your solar panels create that is not used by your home will be routed to the utility grid.
Depending on how your system is configured, you will use electricity from the grid or your batteries at night when your home’s energy consumption exceeds what your solar panels are producing.
The Tesla app allows you to monitor the performance of your solar power system and how the Gateway monitoring system monitors this process.
Do you need to install a Tesla Powerwall with Tesla solar panels?
Tesla has vacillated back and forth over the past year on whether or not they mandate a Tesla Powerwall with the installation of solar panels. As of October 2021, Tesla solar panels do not need to be connected to a Powerwall.
The cost of installing your Tesla solar panels will increase by $11,500 if you choose to include energy storage.
What is the difference between Tesla’s solar roof and Tesla solar panels?
Tesla solar panels resemble the standard solar panels you find on roofs. They are put in place on top of your current roof and produce power for usage in your house.
It is impossible to tell that there is solar placed on the roof thanks to Tesla’s solar shingles, which are made to resemble conventional roofing materials.
Tesla solar shingles blend in with the rest of your shingles because they require a completely new roof replacement. Unlike their standard rooftop solar panels, Tesla makes its own solar shingles in their gigafactory in Buffalo, New York.
Tesla’s customer service comes up short
It’s true that choosing Tesla will likely result in you paying the least for solar energy. However, the cost of maintaining a long-term relationship with your solar installation is also included in the price of solar, and Tesla appears to be making savings here.
You may read about Tesla’s historically pretty poor long-term customer service in customer evaluations on SolarReviews.com, however. They can’t provide you with the kind of individualized assistance you require when going solar because they are such a big business.
Customers of Tesla have complained that they are difficult to reach when there is a problem with their system, and that it can take a while to send someone out to investigate the problems. You might possibly lose a sizable sum of money as a result of this.
You will have less electricity to power your home and a higher electric bill if your solar panels aren’t producing energy properly. You lose money as a result of the length of time it takes to have your system fixed.
Are Tesla solar panels worth it?
A Tesla solar panel installation appears straightforward at first glance. They offer high-quality solar panels for an absurdly low price and have a simple purchase process. We can only state that something is most likely false if it seems too nice to be true.
The communication between you and your solar firm is crucial when it comes to solar. You’ll have to put up with them for at least 25 years! Because of their past performance, Tesla may not be the company you want to rely on if something goes wrong. Saving money won’t be worth the hassle you might experience after installing solar.
Before deciding to go solar with Tesla, we advise receiving bids from a few nearby solar installers. Prices from a local installer will undoubtedly be higher than those from Tesla, but they will also contain the value of a lasting customer relationship, which, in our opinion, is priceless.