Tesla Solar Panels Review – Legitimate Hype? Or Overpriced Rip Off?

tesla solar panels review

Solar panels are a great environmentally-friendly way to power your home. With the popularity of solar panels on the rise, you’ll find many companies developing solar panels that you can purchase.

Tesla is just one of the companies helping people live a more sustainable life. The company is a well-known brand that’s associated with luxury. If you’re considering adding solar panels to your home, you’ve probably thought about Tesla’s products. 

Before you jump the gun and purchase Tesla solar panels, let’s look into whether they’re worth all the hype they receive or if you should go with another brand.

Tesla Solar Panel Features

Knowing what features Tesla solar panels have can help you determine if they’re worth it for you. It would be best to examine everything from the panels’ design to their installation and other features before deciding on the Tesla solar panels. 

Design

Designers at Tesla wanted to ensure that you could hide the panels easily, so it doesn’t disturb your home’s curb appeal. They blend seamlessly into your roof so that they’re not as obvious. 

They managed to create a sleek finish with a concealed edge. 

These solar panels are sealed well to prevent any moisture from damaging them. The official name of the panels is the QPeak Duo Black Solar Panels. You can use their 3D modeling system on their website to see how they’ll look on your roof.

Tesla Powerwall

Powerwall is the rechargeable battery system that comes with Tesla solar panels. The Tesla app helps you track your usage and has various controls.

You have the choice between the Powerwall or Powerwall + model. They both have the same basic features, but the Powerwall + has some upgrades like increased power and capacity. Below you’ll find a chart outlining the differences. 

PowerwallPowerwall +
On-Grid Power5.8kW Continuous7.6kW/5.8kW Continuous
Backup Power5.8kW Continuous10kW Peak9.6kW / 7kW continuous*22kW / 10kW peak
Backup Load Start Capability106A LRA Per Powerwall118A LRA Per Powerwall+
Storage Capacity13.5kWh13.5kWh
Solar IntegrationCompatible with all grid-tied solar invertersIntegrated solar with 4 MPPTs
CommunicationWi-Fi, Ethernet, Cellular LTE/4G with Gateway 2Integrated Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Cellular LTE/4G
MonitoringHome loads, battery revenue accuracy (+/- 2%) with Gateway 2 for solarHome loads, battery revenue grade (+/- 0.5%) for solar
Grid DisconnectCompatible with Gateway 2 and Backup SwitchCompatible with Gateway and Backup Switch
Backup PerformanceSeamless backup transitionSeamless backup transition with enhanced off-grid performance

While the sun shines on your roof throughout the day, the Powerwall will charge and store power. The best thing about Powerwall is that it can power your home in the case of a power outage. 

Tesla provides information on operating the Powerwall system, as you’ll see in the table below. You can adjust the settings as you see fit. 

Control ModeDescription
Self-PoweredMinimize carbon footprint and to become energy independent. Requires solar pair.
Time-Based ControlLowers utility bills and maximizes economic benefit.
Storm WatchPowerwall will react to significant weather events that may cause a power outage.
Vehicle Charging During Power OutageUse Powerwall and Tesla vehicles to balance charging and energy needs during an outage.

Read More: Tesla Powerwall Review

Installation Process

Before installing Tesla solar panels, several things need to happen first.

First, you need to survey the site. You can do this by using Tesla’s self-survey option or hiring a site surveyor. This process will determine if your home has enough electrical output or requires upgrades. You or the surveyor will determine the number of Powerwalls needed during the survey.

After the survey, you’ll need to clear a path for installation so the technicians can work safely and efficiently. For setting up the Tesla app, you’ll need an internet connection. 

Finally, you can get to installation day. You or someone over 18 will need to be home during the installation. How long the process will be depends on the size of your home and the number of panels getting installed. 

Something important about the installation process is that you will be without power for most of the day. You’ll want to prepare accordingly. After installing the panels, the technicians will help you understand operating the system via the app.

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Inverter

The solar power inverter is the part that converts the DC power from solar into usable AC power. It allows you to use solar energy to power appliances in the home. It’s simple to install and runs off of the Tesla app. 

The inverter is equipped with Powerwall 2 technology and uses Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and cellular data for updates. You’ll find different models and specifications here.

Power3.8kW7.6kW
InstallationIndoor or OutdoorIndoor or Outdoor
Size26 in x 16 in x 6 in660 mm x 411 mm x 158 mm26 in x 16 in x 6 in660 mm x 411 mm x 158 mm
SafetyIntegrated rapid shutdown, arc fault and ground fault protectionIntegrated rapid shutdown, arc fault and ground fault protection
Weight52lbs52lbs
CEC Efficiency97.5% at 208V97.5% at 240V97.5% at 208V98% at 240V
Warranty12.5 years12.5 years

Efficiency

Tesla’s Hanwha solar panel has a 19.6% solar panel efficiency rating. Compared to the industry average of 11-15%, Tesla’s solar panels are more efficient than lower quality models.

Monitoring

With the Tesla app, it’s easy to monitor your system 24/7. Through the app, you’ll be able to see energy data, power flow, and impact cards. Impact cards show you the solar panel system’s impact and performance. 

The app also shows the user how the Powerwall, grid connection, and solar system work together and provide energy into your home. It shows you power trends to see how much power your system generates and if it’s decreasing in efficiency. 

An energy screen displays how much energy your home uses per month. The impact screen lets the user know how much power the house has and when the last outage occurred.

Warranty

A high-quality warranty is crucial when looking into solar panels for your home. Since these products are susceptible to weather damage, you’ll want a warranty if something happens. 

The Solar Roof Warranty protects your Tesla solar panels against weather damage, defects, and power capacity for 25 years. Your warranty begins on the date of installation. 

Specifications   

How many solar panels you’ll need will depend on how much power you want to save and what your budget is. You’ll want to consider your current power usage to ensure you have enough panels to account for this. 

Contacting Tesla is beneficial in determining how many panels you’ll need. Here’s how much power output you can expect from the different panel sizes to get you started. 

SizePowerPanelsRoof Coverage
Small4.8kW12260 square feet
Medium9.6kW24520 square feet
Large14.4kW36780 square feet
X-Large19.2kW481040 square feet

In addition to your power consumption and house size, the type of roof you have will determine if you can have solar panels. Below you’ll find a table with various kinds of roofs and if solar panels are possible. 

Roof TypeSolar PanelSolar Roof
3-Tab Asphalt Shingle Most common roof typeYesYes. Can be installed on top of current roof or as a new roof.
Dimensional/Architectural Asphalt Thicker shingle that enhances depth perceptionYesYes. Can only be installed as a new roof.
Concrete Tile May have a flat or curved shape.YesYes. Can only be installed as a new roof.
Metal Standing Steam May be flat or curved, requires 24-gauge thickness and anchors.YesYes. Can only be installed as a new roof.
Rolled Asphalt, Torchdown, or FoamYesNo
Corrugated Metal, Slate, Wood Shake, or Clay TileNoYes. Can only be installed as a new roof.

Read More: Tesla Solar Roof Review – Legitimate Hype? Or Overpriced Ripoff?

How Much Do Tesla Solar Panels Cost?

The Tesla solar panels range from $8,000 to $30,000, depending on the size of your home. Tesla has an online portal to input your address and utility bill to receive a quote. Here are some standard sizes and their respective costs.

System SizekWh per dayNumber of Solar PanelsCost
4.08kW10-1512$8200
8.16kW20-3024$16400
12.24kW31-4436$24600
16.32kW41-5948$32800

A few different subscriptions include cash upfront, a lifetime value, system ownership, cancel anytime, investment tax credit, or maintenance.

You can purchase solar panels with cash, through a loan, a subscription, a power purchase agreement, or a lease. Tesla offers its customers many different payment options depending on their situation.

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Price Match Guarantee

The solar price match guarantee states that Tesla will match any cheaper solar panel system’s price. The regulations require a similar system to have an inverter, a minimum 10-year warranty and be the same size or larger than Tesla’s system. 

To qualify for their price match guarantee, you must ensure that another company dated the quote within 14 days of the order. The cost of permits and installation should be included in the quote. 

To get your solar panels at the lower-priced quote, you’ll need to place an order with Tesla to see what the total cost will be. Then, you’ll send an email energyorder@tesla.com.

When you email Tesla, be sure to make the subject line “Price Match Guarantee” with your reservation number. Tesla will review the competitor’s price and get back to you if you are eligible.

Why Are They Cheaper Than Other Solar Panels?

There are a few factors that allow Tesla to sell cheap solar panels. First, you can complete the process online. Other companies require you to contact several different people and have multiple surveys of your home. Tesla has a simple online process that saves you time and money.

The Tesla name plays a huge factor too. Since this is a highly profitable company, they can sell solar panels for a lower price because they already have a high income from their other products like their cars. 

Another way Tesla keeps their solar panels affordable is by offering different payment options that other companies don’t. You can pay with loans and subscriptions. 

Many other solar panel companies spend a lot of their funds on salespeople and advertising. Tesla doesn’t need to do so as their brand and name are already well known. 

Getting a Loan With Tesla’s Solar Panel Financing

If you decide to take advantage of Tesla’s Solar Loan, you avoid paying the full amount upfront and instead make monthly payments. The payment amount depends on the size of the system installed. 

Tesla states that most people’s monthly loan payments will be less than their monthly energy bill before installing the solar panels. Here is some estimated monthly pricing dependent on the size of the solar panel system provided by solarreviews.com.

System SizeFinanced AmountDown PaymentMonthly Payment
4.25kW$7688$854$74
8.50kW$15 375$1708$148
12.75kW$23 063$2562$223
17.00kW$30 751$3416$297

Tesla’s Customer Service

Tesla has multiple avenues for people to reach their customer service. You can contact them via phone, email, or online chat. Many customers report having a positive experience with their customer support, while others weren’t as satisfied. 

What Previous Customers Are Saying 

One customer praises how great the solar panels work in the winter. This is a common concern for those who live in places where there are extreme weather conditions. This thread says that the snow doesn’t stick to solar panels, and they hold up well. 

People claim that their solar panels don’t meet Tesla’s promised energy production levels. One Reddit thread claims that they had issues with their solar panels and had trouble getting a hold of Tesla to come and fix the problem. This suggests that the customer service team may be challenging to reach.

One review even claims that their credit rating took a hit after dealing with Tesla. They didn’t contact the customer with any bills after installation. The credit had expired, and Tesla hadn’t made the customer aware.

From most reviews, some customer service representatives are great, while others are not the best.

Overall, Are Tesla Solar Panels Worth It?

Yes, Tesla’s solar panels are a great way to save money on your utility bill. While they are a little costly, there are many cost-effective ways to purchase them. You can use loans and subscriptions to avoid paying the total upfront. 

Tesla’s system is excellent for anyone who wishes to reduce their electricity bill by using power from the sun. Tesla is also the 2nd largest solar panel company and has some of the most affordable options. 

These solar panels are also great for anyone concerned with combating climate change. That is because a lot of carbon dioxide is released from the use of electric power. Solar panels remove this carbon dioxide release.

Tesla solar panels have a reputation for producing more power than other solar panels. This is because they are larger solar panels than commercial ones. More surface area results in more power output. 

If you live in an area where frequent power outages are a problem, then the Tesla solar panels are a great choice for you. You will still enjoy using heat and electronics when the power goes out.

Pros and Cons

Here are the main pros and cons of Tesla solar panels.

Pros

  • Cheapest solar panels available
  • Many different payment options
  • 25-year warranty
  • Reduce carbon footprint
  • Reduce power bill

Cons

  • Lengthy customer service wait times
  • Powerwalls not available for individual purchase
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Tesla Solar Panels vs. Tesla’s Solar Roof

Solar panels are the cheaper option since you can install only a few if you want. In contrast, the solar roof will cover the entire roof and cost a lot more. The solar roof will save you more on your electricity bill since it covers a larger area, but it is more expensive. You have to decide what is best for you and your budget. 

The solar roof can also be challenging to install on many roofs as the entire roof has to be covered. Here are the costs associated with the number of solar panels installed:

  • $13 500 for a 5 kW system (14 solar panels)
  • $22 500 for a 10 kW system (27 solar panels)
  • $30 500 for a 15 kW system (40 solar panels)
  • $38 500 for a 20 kW system (53 solar panels)

For a typical 1,800 square foot home, the cost of a solar roof would be about $55,000.

It’s important to note that you cannot place the solar roof on a damaged roof. This means that you must repair any damages at your own expense before installing the solar roof.

Overall, solar panels are the more advantageous choice for most people.

FAQs

Here are some of the most asked questions by customers when considering Tesla’s solar panels.

  • Does Tesla Manufacture Their Own Solar Panels?

    No. Tesla has a partnership with Panasonic. Panasonic developed the solar panels in Tesla’s factory and then shipped them overseas. Panasonic wasn’t making enough profit from the partnership and left.

  • Are Tesla's Solar Panels Made in the USA?

    Yes! They make their solar panels in Buffalo, New York, at Tesla’s Gigafactory 2, jointly operating with Panasonic. Tesla also has a factory in Nevada where solar batteries and solar cells are manufactured.

    SolarCity sold third-party panels, which carried over into their partnership with Tesla. Tesla does not disclose the solar panel brand so that they can have cheaper quotes.

  • How Long Do Tesla Solar Panels Last?

    Tesla’s solar panels come with a 25-year warranty. Tesla claims that the solar panels will keep 80% of their power capacity for 25 years. They will cover any damage and repairs in that time. They also have a 10-year comprehensive warranty.

    Anytime after ten years, they will repair your Powerwall, solar inverter, or any roof mounting issues at their cost. Elon Musk has claimed that solar panels are so durable that they last in natural disasters.

    Tesla admits that they can’t make any promises for the equipment to last outside the warranty period. Tesla solar panels do not require any regular maintenance. However, cleaning them may improve energy generation. You can do this by using a garden hose, sponge, or cloth.

  • How Efficient Are Tesla's Solar Panels?

    They have an efficiency rating of 19.6%. This is 10% more efficient than their most recent model.

  • Can I Cancel My Tesla Solar Panels?

    It is possible to cancel your order and receive a full refund. You must submit a request to your Project Advisor within seven days of system activation. Tesla will send out a team to remove all installations.

    Any solar panels will be removed and replaced with waterproof sealing. They will not repair any previous damages on the roof, however. You can find refund and cancellation information in your Energy Products Order Agreement.

  • Does Tesla Solar Panels Increase My Home’s Value?

    Yes, Tesla solar panels increase the protection of your roof from snow and water for years. Tesla promises their warranty from weather damage for 25 years and will replace the panels if need be. Having extra weather protection increases a home’s value.

    Tesla roof panels have also proven to be more durable than most shingles. They don’t break down or wear as quickly as shingles do.

    Paying for the solar roof through Tesla increases building equity as at the end of the agreement, you will own the roof. Paying an electricity bill every month does not do this.

    It is self-explanatory that people will want to purchase a home with a lesser power bill. This results in fewer payments and increases the value of the house.

    You can use the power created from the solar panels during a power outage to increase the value. People will be intrigued and want to purchase a home where they can use energy even during an outage.