Home > Solar > Tesla Solar Panels Review: Costs, Financing, & Customer Reviews (2023)

Tesla Solar Panels Review: Costs, Financing, & Customer Reviews (2023)

Updated Jan 10, 2023

Updated Jan 10, 2023

Home > Solar > Tesla Solar Panels Review: Costs, Financing, & Customer Reviews (2023)

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Tesla is one of the most recognizable brands in the advanced technology realm. Tesla’s solar panels offer a state-of-the-art design with professional and reputable installation for any homeowner. Tesla makes ordering solar panels straightforward, efficient, and quite affordable.

Our in-depth Tesla solar panels review dives into panel cost and installation, financing and payment options, other Telsa solar products, warranties, and more. Read on to learn more about why Tesla ranked among the best solar companies on the market.

Our Expert take on Tesla Solar Panels

According to our solar panel review standards, Tesla Solar earned a 4.3/5 rating from our experts. Many solar companies require you to visit a sales representative before getting a solar system or installation quote. With the Tesla solar system, you can go to the website, enter your address and electric bill, and get an instant quote.

Of course, if you want to talk to Tesla’s customer service representatives, they can also walk you through the process and get your initial quote.

Tesla panels, combined with the Tesla Powerwall battery, are a great energy storage option, making it easier to reduce your energy footprint and bills at once.

Pros and Cons of Tesla Solar Panels

Pros

  • Pre-designed systems for easy purchasing
  • Friendly customer service
  • Car and home solutions that can work together
  • Fair overall pricing, help with incentives and rebates

Cons

  • Service areas vary across the U.S. by ZIP code
  • Long wait times for installation

Tesla Solar Panels: Overview

Tesla was started by Elon Musk 17 years ago. It is a publicly traded company headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., with locations worldwide. The company began offering solar photovoltaic (PV) panels in 2016 with its acquisition of SolarCity, which had already been in business for over 10 years. Tesla’s solar panel system and Powerwall battery stand out in the solar industry.

Tesla’s monocrystalline solar panels are sold in 12-, 24-, 36-, and 48-panel packages. Depending on your home’s size, you can choose the low-profile package that fits your energy needs and budget.

Tesla Solar Panels Summary
Company nameTesla Solar Panels
Year founded2003
HeadquartersPalo Alto, CA
ServicesSolar Energy Products, Vehicles
Certifications
# of Employees100,000
BBB rating:A+
Our Rating:4.3/5
Average Cost:$15,000

Tesla Solar Panel Specifications Breakdown

Tesla creates its own high-efficiency 425-watt solar panels in a sleek, durable design. These panels weigh 47.4 pounds and have a black anodized aluminum frame. Each of the panels is 82.4” x 40.9” x 1.57” (including the frame). The operating temperature of a Tesla solar panel is between-40°F to +185°F.

The following table summarizes the technical specifications for Tesla’s popular T425S solar panel.

Technical Specifications for Tesla’s T425S Solar Panel
Wattage425 watts
Power per Cell2.95 watts
Efficiency19.6%
Dimensions (including the frame)82.4 inches x 40.9 inches x 1.57 inches
Weight47.4 pounds
Operating Temperature Range-40°F – 185°F
Frame MaterialBlack anodized aluminum
Source: Solar Hub

Solar Panel Sizing and Design

Tesla solar panels come in several sizes, making them suitable for many homeowners. You generally want a solar system that provides enough energy to offset your monthly electric bill. Tesla will work with you to design a system that meets your energy needs without producing too much excess power.

Some people purchase solar panels without considering how their electricity consumption will change. If you’re planning on expanding your family or increasing your electric bill—by purchasing an electric vehicle, for example—make sure you mention it to your solar company so it can design a system for you to grow into.

Tesla Solar Panel Wattage

It’s important to match your solar panels’ wattage to your home’s energy needs. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the average 2,000-square-foot home requires solar panels between 9 kW and 12 kW to run entirely on solar power.

Each Tesla T425S solar panel provides 425 watts, so you can calculate a system’s total output by multiplying the number of panels by 425. For example, Tesla’s small solar panel system uses 12 panels for a total wattage of 12 x 425 = 4.08 kW. The following table summarizes Tesla’s solar system sizes and their wattage.

System SizeNumber of PanelsWattage
Small124.08 kW
Medium248.16 kW
Large3612.24 kW
X-Large4816.32 kW

Other Tesla Solar Products

Tesla Solar Roof

The Tesla solar roof is a completely new roof made from solar shingles. These panels have no visible grid and mimic the look of standard roof shingles when locked into place. However, this aesthetically pleasing solar power system comes at a significantly higher price than solar panels.

Tesla’s solar roof is its most expensive solar product, costing between $45,000 and $85,000 on average. Solar roof costs vary depending on the size of your home and your average energy usage. Larger homes and homes with higher-than-average electricity usage require larger and more expensive systems.

Read more: Tesla Solar Roof vs. Solar Panels.

Tesla Powerwall

The Tesla Powerwall allows you to save excess energy when you need it the most, so you still have backup power to control the home during a power outage. Think of it as having a home generator installed on your roof.

A solar battery also allows for much less reliance on the utility company and can help you go off-grid in some states. The only downside here is that the Tesla Powerwall is not available as a stand-alone purchase; instead, they are sold together with either the panels or the roof.

Tesla Powerwalls cost $6,500 per battery plus $4,000 for the initial setup and installation. For example, if you purchase two Tesla Powerwall batteries, you’ll have to pay $6,500 for each and $4,000 for the installation, a total of $17,000.


Tesla Solar Panel Cost

Tesla has a high-end look to almost everything it does, and the solar services and costs can scare some people away. However, we found that Tesla products are no more expensive than many others on the market.

The size of your home and current energy needs will significantly play into your total out-of-pocket expense. The larger your home and the more energy you use, the higher your Tesla solar installation will cost.

Below is a quick breakdown of the average costs you can expect when getting services from Tesla Solar.

ServiceAverage Cost
Tesla Solar Panels$9,000 to $36,000 (price matching is available)
Tesla Solar Roof$45,000 to $85,000
Tesla Powerwall$6,500 per battery, $4,000 one-time installation fee

If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with abundant sunshine, you might be able to offset your monthly electric bill with a small 5 kW to 7 kW system. Such systems cost an average of $9,000 to $11,000.

If you live in a cloudy climate or your energy bills are higher than average, you’ll need a larger 10 kW to 15 kW system. These systems are more expensive, with average costs between $20,000 and $36,000.

To better explain how much a solar panel installation from Tesla would cost you, we got a quote for a home in Savannah, Ga., with an average electric bill of $200 per month. When determining the average, we looked at peak energy needs in the summer and balanced that out with the low energy needs of a mild Savannah winter.

Tesla determined that a 14.40 kWh panel system was necessary based on our energy needs. This panel system has a starting price of $28,941. However, there is also the need for the Tesla Powerwall, which is an additional $10,500. The total price of the system came in at $39,441.

However, you can save based on the 30% federal solar tax incentive. The total savings for our system was $11,832, bringing the total cash price to $27,609.

In addition to the cash price, there was also an option for a solar loan. The loan required $4,044 down and a 120-month loan term. The current percentage on this loan was 5.4% from Tesla. This loan can be customized based on your preferences. Many homeowners choose the loan, using their energy savings to offset the electric bill and make loan payments.


Tesla Financing and Payment Options

Tesla customers have two options for purchasing their solar power system: direct cash purchase or solar loan. With both of these options, customers own their systems, allowing them to take advantage of federal incentives, state tax exemptions, and local net-metering programs.

The rate on the solar loans for Tesla panels is currently at 5.4%, and the loan term is 120 months. It is a cost-effective option for those with some money to put down but who don’t want to spend it all on the cost of a system up-front. These financing rates are slightly higher than those of other solar panel companies.

Unlike competitors like SunPower, Tesla does not offer solar leases or Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). Tesla does, however, offer a price match guarantee.


Tesla Solar Warranty

Tesla offers a 25-year warranty on its solar panels. If your system falls below 80% efficiency in that 25-year window, Tesla will repair or replace your panels.

Solar roof tiles also come with a 25-year warranty. Tesla also offers a 10-year comprehensive warranty against roof leaks and other external parts of the solar roof system.


Tesla Solar App: Features and Benefits

Tesla’s warranty differs from others on the market, which has much to do with the Tesla app. The Tesla app allows you and Tesla to monitor the effectiveness of any of your Tesla products. You can easily access your stats and information about your home battery and solar panels and how they work.

Tesla’s solar app is easy to use and provides a one-stop shop for managing your solar system. Here’s a look at the main features and benefits of the Tesla solar app.

  • Monitor your system. The Tesla solar app lets you monitor your solar system’s energy production in real-time. It also shows useful statistics about your energy usage, helping you lower your carbon footprint and reduce your energy bills.
  • Several control modes. The Tesla app has several control modes to help you get the most out of your solar panels. Time-based control mode helps you save money by adjusting your energy usage if your electricity rates change throughout the day. Self-powered mode helps you lower your overall energy usage, regardless of how your electricity rates vary.
  • Storm watch. If you have a Tesla Powerwall as part of your solar system, you use the Tesla app to set up your Powerwall to react to weather events that cause a power outage. It is one of the Tesla app’s most helpful features, letting you continue to charge your electric vehicle and run your home’s essential appliances after a damaging storm.
  • Synergy with other Tesla products. You can also use the Tesla app to manage your Tesla electric vehicle, Tesla Powerwall, and Tesla electric vehicle (EV) charging station.

Tesla Service Area and Availability

One of the things that help Tesla stand out is its availability across the entire United States. There are options for Tesla across 50 different states. However, within each state, there are some pockets where Tesla solar installation is not offered.

If Tesla service and installation are not currently available in your area, you can submit your information, and it will let you know when it becomes available.

Partnerships

Many companies want to partner with Tesla. One of the more interesting of these is Tesla’s partnership with Sunrun, another solar power supplier and installer. Sunrun can install the Tesla Powerwall battery with its Sunrun system through this relationship. As we mentioned, the Tesla Powerwall cannot be purchased on its own, so this is a unique option to get a Tesla product without going directly through the Tesla company.


Tesla Solar Installation Process

Tesla doesn’t perform in-house installations. Instead, it contracts out its installations to independent solar installation companies nationwide. Each solar installer may have a slightly different process, but here’s a big-picture look at the Tesla solar installation process:

  1. Initial inspection. A technician from your solar company will come to inspect your home. They need to measure your roof’s area, note any structural challenges, and assess how much direct sunlight your roof receives.
  2. System design. With the necessary measurements, your solar provider will design a solar panel system that meets your home’s energy needs.
  3. Permitting. Most solar companies handle the permitting process for you, so you don’t have to worry about interpreting any legal information. Obtaining permits sometimes can take a while, so don’t be surprised if your installation takes longer than you expect.
  4. Installation. Once your system is designed, and you have all the necessary permits, you can schedule your installation. Most solar installations take less than a day, although battery backups and EV charger installations may require additional time and often happen after the main panel installation.
  5. Inspection. Your solar provider will arrange for the local building inspector to assess your solar installation.
  6. Energy production. If the building inspector signs off on the work, you will receive Permission to Operate (PTO). Your solar company will connect your solar system to your local electric grid, so you don’t have to worry about setting it up yourself.

Tesla Solar Reviews and Reputation

Tesla has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) but is not accredited. Most customer reviews regarding installations were positive, stating that the crews were neat, polite, and efficient. Negative reviews we found had issues with long wait times associated with high demand for the panels.

Tesla Solar Panels Reviews From Actual Customers

Here are a few customer reviews we’ve pulled from the BBB:

“A neighbor referred me to this firm as I had no idea where to start. Being retired, I was concerned about saving money in the now. The system that was built for me was able to save me 50% on my monthly electricity costs. Every dollar counts at my age, so I am more than happy to accept those savings.”- Amirit R

“My experience with Tesla Solar is that they were the easiest, most honest Solar company I had the pleasure of doing business with. After a simple phone call and a $100 deposit, we swapped paperwork over the phone. I bought an 8,000-watt system and 2 Powerwall+ batteries. I paid $33,300, which came to $25,000 after my tax credit. Took 2 months for installation. I live in Florida, and for 6 months, from October through March, my $130 bill was only about $30 each month. April and May, I only pay the $10 service fee that you have to pay each month. The best part is I’ve already sent about half a megawatt back to the grid and have used zero from the grid the last 2 months. Let’s say it’s far exceeded my expectations. Simplicity for buying A+ Energy production A++ Keep in mind without the power wall or battery storage, you can’t run your solar system. Because if your electric company’s grid goes down, your solar panels would back feed the grid and electrocute the workers trying to fix it. I’m happy with Tesla, and I’m pretty sure they’ll be around if there’s a problem with the warranty. Also, keep in mind smaller companies go out of business and open up under a new name, and your warranty is useless.”- Patrick D

“I live in Las Vegas, Nevada. I had been doing my due diligence on solar companies here in Southern Nevada. I had been courted by a well-known company and sought another company’s information on my own accord. My best friend recently discovered yet another solar company here in Las Vegas. For me, that was a third business, data that I could compare with the first 2 I had been considering. This third organization, TESLA ENERGY SOLAR, had the statistics and details for me to negotiate the deal ultimately. Once I decided, the professional workmanship and wonderful customer service have been second to none. The install team really takes pride in their craft, and communication has been the first rate. I wholly recommend Tesla Energy Solar.”- AH


Final Thoughts: Is Tesla Solar a Good Company?

Tesla Solar doesn’t have the best reputation for customer service, primarily because it outsources its installations to third-party companies. However, Tesla’s solar panel technology is cutting-edge, provides outstanding efficiency, and is coupled with great durability. Plus, the company offers price matching to help keep the costs of going solar down as much as possible.

Overall, we recommend Tesla for customers looking for industry-leading technology but who don’t mind getting below-average customer service in some cases.


Frequently Asked Questions

Where are Tesla solar panels made?

Tesla partners with solar manufacturers to produce its own branded panels. Up until 2019, the majority of Tesla’s panels were produced by Panasonic in the Tesla Gigafactory in Buffalo, N.Y. However, the company unexpectedly made some internal changes and now outsources a good portion of its production to another manufacturer, Hanwha.

Hanwha is headquartered in China, and most of the panels from this manufacturer are produced in Jincheon.

How long do Tesla solar panels last?

Most tier-one solar panel brands are expected to last for around 30 years, and Tesla is considered a tier-one brand. When we estimate long-term energy savings, though, we typically use 20 years, as this is a bit more conservative, and we’d rather under-estimate and have customers be pleased with their real-life results.

That said, Tesla’s product warranties last for just 10 years, including the coverage for Powerwalls, panels, inverters, mounting brackets, and the labor involved in the installation. The company also offers a 25-year warranty for solar production.

What are the benefits of Tesla solar panels?

Tesla panels come with quite a few upsides over the competition. First and foremost, Tesla is a technology giant that excels in new tech and innovation. Its panels are among the best in the industry in terms of efficiency.

Tesla panels also come with a production warranty for 25 years. This guarantees that your panels won’t drop under 80% efficiency over 25 years of normal use.

In addition to the production warranty, the company offers a 10-year comprehensive warranty covering all components, labor, and roof leaks. Roof leak coverage is uncommon in the solar industry, so this is a great perk.

Finally, Tesla panels are widely available. The company focuses its efforts on manufacturing and outsources installations to third parties. While this can mean below-average customer service in some cases, the company can provide fast service throughout the country.

How long has Tesla Solar been in business?

Tesla began offering solar panels in 2016 with its acquisition of SolarCity, which had been in business for over 10 years. The company has an A+ rating with the BBB but is not accredited.

What solar inverter does Tesla use?

Tesla solar panels used Delta and SolarEdge inverters in the past; now, it uses its own model.

House Method’s Solar Ranking and Review Methodology

At House Method, transparency and trust are our most important values for the reader. That’s why we took the time to create an objective rating system and score each solar energy company/service according to our methodology.

Our research team dug deep into the fine print of contracts, combed through more than one hundred customer reviews, and thoroughly investigated each solar energy company’s services, costs, and products. We’ve done the homework for you by researching nearly all the solar energy companies on the market so you can have the information you need to make the best choice for your home.

We developed a formula to objectively determine the best solar energy companies and give each a score out of 100 based on the following criteria:

  • Plan Options (30): Do they provide various plan options? We looked at the number of plans each solar energy company offered and the flexibility of adjusting the plan.
  • Services (20): How many services are offered in each plan? We looked at whether the company manufactures its solar panels, whether it contracts out installation, and what additional products each company offers.
  • Trust (10): What do customers say after installing solar panels? Does this company offer a guarantee? We considered how satisfied customers are post-service if the company does what it says it will, BBB accreditation, and service guarantees.
  • Prices (10): How reasonable are the costs of the plan or service in comparison to the industry average? We compared the costs of each company to competitors that offer the same solar energy services.
  • Unique perks (10): Does the company offer discounts or special services such as financial incentives, rebates, or a useful mobile app? We looked for extras each company offers that set them apart from the competition.
  • Customer Service (10): How is the customer experience when contacting the company? We considered the speed of response, weekend/holiday availability, and ease of communication through phone calls, email, and online chat functions.
  • Nationwide availability (10): How many states does the company offer its services? Companies that operate nationally and in all zip codes are favored over those with limited availability.

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