Thu. Jul 18th, 2024


Tesla Photo voltaic Panels

Low costs and a price-match assure

High quality tools

Decrease-profile panels
Do not like
Anecdotally, customer support could be poor

Fewer tools choices

In the event you plan to put in photo voltaic panels on you dwelling you might be doing so to economize in your vitality prices or generate clear vitality in response to local weather change. Whereas photo voltaic panels usually get monetary savings in the long term, they’re nonetheless a considerable funding and should require giant quantities of money or taking out a mortgage.

Whereas there could be dozens of photo voltaic installers to select from in a single space and a whole lot throughout the nation, Tesla stays one of many largest within the nation. It now installs photo voltaic panels and its distinctive Photo voltaic Roof in all 50 states and guarantees to match the costs of its rivals for photo voltaic panels.

Tesla gives low-profile photo voltaic panels, that are probably cheaper than these from different nationwide firms.


These assured low costs, matched with high quality panels, batteries and inverters means Tesla probably gives extra solar energy for much less cash than different nationwide gamers. Tesla prospects would possibly lose a few of that worth in customer support. Whereas buyer satisfaction rankings do not exist for the nonetheless comparatively new photo voltaic business, anecdotal proof suggests Tesla could also be skimping on customer support after buy. Tesla’s workmanship and weatherization guarantee might be stronger.

Tesla is an efficient choice for somebody who desires probably the most photo voltaic for the least sum of money, even when it means some challenges elsewhere. Whereas we weren’t in a position to take a look at a Tesla photo voltaic set up or the shopper’s expertise, for those who worth customer support you are prone to have a greater expertise with a unique supplier. Notice additionally that studies in December 2021 confirmed the US Safety and Change Fee was investigating a whistleblower declare that Tesla misled prospects and regulators when fixing fireplace hazards in its photo voltaic panel programs, although no new developments have been reported since. A search of the SEC web site in October 2023 did not flip up any additional developments or decision. Extra on that under.

Can photo voltaic panels prevent cash?

Concerned with understanding the affect photo voltaic can have on your property? Enter some primary info under, and we’ll immediately present a free estimate of your vitality financial savings.

It is tough to match photo voltaic suppliers, since every rooftop set up is completely different and can carry out in another way based mostly on the orientation of your roof, close by tree cowl, native climate from sooner or later to the subsequent and extra. I am going to provide the important details about Tesla’s photo voltaic panels and let you understand how it stacks as much as the competitors. I am going to keep on with Tesla’s panels right here, and evaluation the Photo voltaic Roof individually. 

What do I get from Tesla photo voltaic panels?

Tesla used to supply solely 4 sizes of photo voltaic arrays, however now gives quotes on programs as small as 4.8 and as giant as 17.6 kilowatts, growing in 0.4 kW increments. (That bounce in dimension is the capability of 1 photo voltaic panel, which frequently are available a 400 watt dimension). Tesla promotes its panels’ glossy, low-profile design. To my eye, Tesla’s installations are certainly much less obtrusive than others. If that is necessary to you, Tesla has a bonus right here.

What tools does Tesla set up?

Except you are specific about who manufactures your panels, what’s actually necessary is how lengthy they’re going to final and the way properly they’re going to work. Tesla’s photo voltaic panels have most effectivity rankings that vary from 19.3% to twenty.9%, which evaluate favorably with different panels (although barely extra environment friendly panels can be found).

You’ll be able to pair your buy with a number of Powerwall batteries, Tesla’s well-regarded vitality storage choice, and have vitality at night time and throughout energy outages, or reap the benefits of time of use charges. Many different main photo voltaic firms provide it with their installations.

Tesla’s guarantee says your panels are assured to work at higher than 80% capability for 25 years. 


The Powerwall can present 13.5 kilowatt-hours of usable vitality. Tesla says it has the power to energy most home equipment, although full use of bigger 240-volt home equipment like air conditioners and garments dryers might require extra batteries. How lengthy 13.5 kilowatt-hours lasts is dependent upon how a lot vitality you employ, however for those who keep away from utilizing energy-intensive home equipment it ought to final you a few days at the least. (Your photo voltaic panels will present energy in the course of the day and presumably recharge your Powerwall, climate allowing.) The Powerwall can present 5 kilowatts of vitality constantly or 7 kilowatts for a brief peak.

You’ll be able to set up Powerwall batteries indoors and outdoors of your property. They’re roughly 6 inches deep, 2 and a half ft extensive and nearly 4 ft tall, in order that they should not be tough to tuck away someplace.

The ultimate little bit of {hardware} is the Tesla photo voltaic inverter, which converts the direct present electrical energy your panels generate into alternating present that your home can use. A key metric right here is effectivity. Tesla’s photo voltaic inverter operates at 97.5% or 98% effectivity, in response to the corporate. That places it close to the highest finish of what is typical. It comes with a 12-and-a-half-year guarantee.

What warranties does Tesla provide?

Tesla’s guarantee says your panels are assured to work at 85% capability after 25 years or it would substitute them. That is roughly in step with different main firms.

The Powerwall’s guarantee ensures that the battery will maintain at the least 70% of its rated capability after 10 years.

Tesla additionally gives a 10-year guarantee on the workmanship of the set up and a 10-year guarantee for the weatherization of your roof. These are pretty common for the business, however lag behind the leaders.

Does Tesla use in home installers?

It has been reported that Tesla has elevated the usage of subcontractors and pulled again by itself set up groups. It is unclear if Tesla nonetheless operates in home groups, however subcontractors have gotten extra widespread.

Does Tesla provide monitoring companies?

When all the things is up and operating, you’ll be able to monitor all of it from the slick-looking app Tesla gives its customers. By way of the app you’ll be able to monitor your vitality manufacturing and utilization. You probably have a Powerwall, you may as well customise the way it operates. You’ll be able to set how a lot cost you want your Powerwall to order for outages, increase its reserve when a storm is approaching, and modify while you draw vitality out of your Powerwall based mostly on time of day. I didn’t take a look at the app, however it has a 3.7-star ranking on Google Play and a 3.8 within the App Retailer.

How a lot do Tesla photo voltaic panels value?

Worth, as a result of it is arduous to generalize and evaluate throughout firms, does not issue into the rating we give photo voltaic firms, however it’s an apparent consideration while you’re purchasing for photo voltaic panels. A Wooden Mackenzie evaluation decided that an 8-kilowatt photo voltaic set up in 2022 value $2.99 per watt on common. Bigger programs will are typically cheaper per watt than smaller programs.

Tesla’s on-line estimates usually are available under that mark, except you embrace again up batteries. With one Powerwall and the federal tax credit score (30% of the associated fee for those who set up by 2031), Tesla estimates that installations vary in value from $4.29 per watt for a 4.8-kilowatt system to $3.48 per watt for 7.6 kilowatts and $2.70 per watt for 17.6 kilowatts. In the event you take away the steered Powerwall batteries, the estimates come to $2.10 per watt for every dimension. The Lawrence Berkeley Nationwide Laboratory studies the nationwide median-size photo voltaic array is 7 kilowatts. One Powerwall prices $10,500, although Tesla seems to offer a reduction for those who purchase a couple of.

Tesla’s costs for panels with out storage are properly under the data obtainable for different nationwide suppliers, although they might not be the ultimate value. Your $100 refundable deposit solely begins the method. Chances are you’ll must improve your electrical principal panel or pay further for hiding the conduit out of your photo voltaic panels. Tesla has additionally all of the sudden modified its photo voltaic panel costs within the latest previous. 

Tesla will match any installer who quotes you a cheaper price. If that quote comes inside 14 days and is for an array of the identical dimension or bigger, Tesla will match the worth on a dollar-per-watt foundation. All it’s good to do is to submit the competing quote by your Tesla account.

Tesla gives fewer selections than another installers. Whereas others would possibly provide Tesla’s Powerwall and one other model or dimension of battery, Tesla solely gives the Powerwall. As a result of your vitality wants range from others, you would possibly discover a higher match on your wants with one other firm.

In December 2021, Reuters reported the SEC was investigating a whistleblower’s claims that Tesla didn’t notify prospects of a problem which will have precipitated some photo voltaic arrays put in earlier than 2018 to catch fireplace. The corporate launched Venture Titan in 2018 to repair the problems, however was not upfront in regards to the purpose and didn’t provide to close down photo voltaic panels to lower the dangers, in response to the complain. A number of of its photo voltaic prospects have sued Tesla over fires. The SEC mentioned that the continuing investigation into Tesla doesn’t imply it has discovered that Tesla broke the legislation, Reuters reported, and no new developments have come to gentle since. The SEC declined to touch upon any probe in response to a CNET request in April. Tesla, which doesn’t function a press workplace, didn’t reply.

Learn extra: Simply on the lookout for an emergency backup? Try moveable photo voltaic panels and photo voltaic mills.  

What financing choices does Tesla provide for photo voltaic panels?

Tesla permits you to buy photo voltaic panels in money or by its personal financing choice. In the event you finance your panels by Tesla, you may owe 10% down (assuming you will have “glorious” credit score) and you will begin making funds 35 days after your photo voltaic array receives permission to function.

Learn extra: Your Photo voltaic Panels Can Make You Cash. Discover Out When and How

Watch this: New Photo voltaic Shingles You Could Not Even Discover


Does Tesla function in my state? How do I order?

The one surefire strategy to know if Tesla’s photo voltaic panels can be found in your space is to plug your deal with into its web site and test. I discovered service in components of all 50 states. At some addresses, photo voltaic panels can be found by licensed installers, whereas at others they’re obtainable immediately from the corporate.

Zooey Liao / CNET

The ordering course of is pretty simple: Enter your deal with. Enter your common month-to-month electrical energy value. Tesla will then spit out a steered photo voltaic array and variety of Powerwall batteries. It additionally gives an estimated value and a visible mockup (although not of your home). You’ll be able to add or take away photo voltaic panels and Powerwalls out of your order and see the way it will have an effect on your estimated electrical energy utilization and storage capabilities.

Whenever you’re happy along with your setup, you’ll be able to place your order with a refundable deposit of $100.

From right here, you may must submit your utility invoice and take a couple of photos of your roof. Tesla makes use of that info and satellite tv for pc imagery to design your system. 

It isn’t clear when Tesla first sends somebody out to view your roof and property, however it appears to be attempting to scale back prices. (Whereas the price-per-watt value of residential photo voltaic is falling, the worth of panels, inverters and different {hardware} is falling sooner than tender prices like labor and website visits.) Specialists say it is important that an installer does a website go to to take account of obstructions which will have an effect on photo voltaic panel efficiency. Counting on satellite tv for pc imagery solely will get you to date.

Tesla photo voltaic panel companies can be found in components of 25 states.


At this level, you may signal a contract and set up strikes forward largely as it could with any installer. Permits are pulled. Tesla units an set up date (which could be rescheduled). An area workforce places panels in your roof.

Your set up could also be subcontracted to an authorized installer. Tesla has in-house set up groups, however increasingly more it is counting on third-party installers to develop the attain of its tech. Specifically, it certifies installers for the Powerwall and its different photo voltaic choice, the Photo voltaic Roof.

Though Tesla didn’t reply to requests for affirmation about its choice course of for set up groups, that is info try to be supplied earlier than you signal your contract, if it is necessary to you. 

You have got a few backstops, too. You’ll be able to cancel your contract inside as much as three days after you signal. Additionally, your remaining fee is not due till the newly put in system passes an inspection by your native authority. You even have the choice to return your system for as much as seven days after it is absolutely practical. Some work will not be refunded or returned (like a Powerwall set up) and Tesla will not make beauty repairs to your roof after it removes panels. What’s or is not returnable and refundable might be detailed in your vitality merchandise order settlement, which you need to learn rigorously earlier than signing.

Is Tesla your best option?

As with every main buy, you need to get a number of quotes from a number of firms. Ensure that they reply all of your questions and supply the data you want. Whereas Tesla does not have a press workplace, its customer support representatives had been simple to get in contact with and appeared educated. Nonetheless, it should not be your solely name.

In the event you’re on the lookout for the bottom costs and the backing of a nationwide model, Tesla is the best way to go. Tesla’s value match means it would all the time be aggressive by way of value. Likewise, the estimates it gives on-line (that are solely estimates) are available properly under the nationwide common. If the look of your panels is absolutely necessary, Tesla’s do sit nearer to the roof and look sharp. Tesla additionally gives extra info up entrance about its guarantee than among the different gamers. Nonetheless, be sure you can view it intimately earlier than committing.

The Powerwall is among the many business leaders in photo voltaic batteries. It units Tesla’s tools aside, however it’s additionally obtainable from another installers.

There’s little or no dependable customer support and satisfaction info for the photo voltaic business. Tesla Photo voltaic does not have a rating with the Higher Enterprise Bureau, however anecdotally Tesla’s customer support for photo voltaic is dangerous sufficient in some instances to make individuals remorse their buy. Its customer support name heart was responsive and it is not arduous to seek out customer support complaints for any of the foremost photo voltaic installers, however the complaints about Tesla appear louder and extra quite a few.

ProsCheaper than different nationwide brandsQuality panels, inverters and batteriesConsCustomer service has a nasty reputationOffers fewer choices than different installers

How we consider photo voltaic firms

Reviewing photo voltaic firms in a hands-on manner is tough. Accounting for all of the variations mission to mission is unattainable. To offer a useful evaluation, we targeted on what we will measure and meaningfully evaluate amongst firms.

We deal with three buckets of standards: tools, warranties and repair. 

Throughout the tools class, firms obtain scores for the panels, inverters and batteries they set up. Warranties embrace the ensures on the panels, workmanship and weatherization towards leaks. Corporations earn factors for service if they provide a value match, a significant stage of value transparency and a well-rated app for monitoring photo voltaic manufacturing. They lose factors if there are main points pertaining to customer support (lawsuits, investigations or clear reputations for shoddy service). These points will all the time be detailed within the evaluation.

You’ll be able to learn an in depth take a look at how the scoring breaks down.

We do not think about the common value of an organization’s installations of their rating. This info is tough to seek out and arduous to match throughout service areas (and even roof to roof). Corporations are sometimes sluggish to reveal it, too. We additionally miss simply discovered however not helpful info like what number of states an organization operates in.

Tesla photo voltaic panel FAQs

Are Tesla photo voltaic panels price it?

Tesla photo voltaic panels stay one of many least expensive photo voltaic panel set up choices obtainable. In the event you discover a cheaper choice, Tesla will match the worth (given the competing quote is for an equal array and comes quickly after your quote from Tesla). However, whereas there is not any surefire strategy to measure buyer satisfaction within the photo voltaic business simply now, the final consensus on-line is that Tesla’s customer support is perhaps a problem.

Photo voltaic panels, generally, usually prevent cash in the long term. You’ll be able to calculate your timeline to photo voltaic financial savings with the entire value of your system minus rebates and tax credit and your common vitality financial savings per 12 months. It is best to have an thought of this timeline on your state of affairs earlier than you signal on to have photo voltaic put in.

How environment friendly are Tesla photo voltaic panels?

Tesla photo voltaic panels have an effectivity ranking from 19.3%-20.6%. Extra environment friendly panels will produce extra vitality, however usually the distinction is sufficiently small that paying extra for barely extra environment friendly panels is not price it. 

How lengthy do Tesla photo voltaic panels final?

Are you able to lease Tesla photo voltaic panels?

In keeping with Tesla’s web site, your two choices for getting photo voltaic panels are money or financing with Tesla. Leases, and their shut relative energy buy agreements, may also help individuals go photo voltaic with out the upfront prices, which could be out of attain for some individuals. The trade-off is often much less financial savings over the lifetime of your photo voltaic panels, although excessive rates of interest can complicate that rule of thumb.

Correction, Jan. 31, 2023: An earlier model of this text misstated the Higher Enterprise Bureau’s grading course of. Any firm can obtain a grade from the Bureau, no matter whether or not it has paid to undergo the accreditation course of.

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