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Tesla Solar Panel Review (2022)

In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team delves into the Tesla solar panel and the company’s other solar offerings to help you decide if they’re the right solar provider for your home.

A close-up image of Tesla solar tiles on the roof of a home Alamy

In This Review: Our Take | Solar Panel Options | Warranty Options | Tesla Solar Reviews | Installation | Mobile App | Payment Options | Our Conclusion | Company Overview | FAQs

Tesla provides homeowners with advanced solar panels that are able to supplement their energy needs with sustainable power. The company is also transparent about its solar panel offerings, walking online customers through the design, capabilities, and estimated cost of a system.

Tesla provides installation to most areas nationwide either directly or through the Certified Installer Program, which includes some of the nation’s highest quality local and regional installation companies. Read our in-depth review of the Tesla’s warranty offerings, panel design, related products, and sample customer reviews to find out if it’s the best solar provider for your home.


Our Take on Tesla Solar Panels

We gave Tesla a score of 79 out of 100 and found it to be the provider with the best availability, since it can serve homes across all 50 states, unlike many competitors.

Tesla offers solar panels with a sleek design that blends into your existing roof. Tesla’s transparent pricing information and detailed website makes it a smart choice for customers who want to learn more about solar panels without the help of a sales representative.

Compare the advantages and disadvantages of Tesla solar panels below.

Pros and Cons of Tesla Solar Panels

✔ Allows customers to receive an instant online quote
✔ Offers a solar panel price-match guarantee
✔ Provides 24/7 solar panel monitoring through their mobile app

✘ Customer service can have lengthy long wait times for repairs
✘ Powerwall battery systems are not available for purchase separately


Tesla Solar Panel Design Options

Tesla designed its minimalistic solar panels with no visible grid, a concealed edge, and a low profile, so your system doesn’t attract unwanted attention after installation. The panels interlock when installed, forming one solid solar panel array. Along with their modern aesthetic, the panels withstand temperatures of up to 185 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tesla offers standardized solar system sizes: small (12 panels), medium (24 panels), large (36 panels), and extra-large (48 panels). This makes the process of purchasing a system more simple and straightforward.

Tesla Solar Panel Specifications

  • Wattage: 425 watts
  • Weight: 47.4 pounds
  • Dimensions: 82.4” x 40.9” x 1.57” (including frame)
  • Frame type: Black anodized aluminum
  • Operating temperature: -40°F to +185°F

Other Solar Products Offered by Tesla

Tesla offers energy storage and an alternative solar power generator with its battery backup and solar roof offerings.

  • Powerwall—Tesla allows customers to store the excess energy their solar panels generate with a home battery backup. The Powerwall battery collects energy for you to use at night or provide backup power during an outage.
  • Solar roof—The Tesla solar roof is an alternative to solar panels and replaces your current roof with solar shingles. The solar shingles act as mini solar panels, harnessing sunlight to produce electricity for your home. This is an option to consider if you’re already considering installing a new roof.

Tesla Solar Warranty Options

All Tesla solar panels come with a 25-year performance guarantee which states performance is guaranteed by the manufacturer to at least 80% of nameplate power capacity for at least 25 years. This is somewhat vague language when compared to other solar installation companies’ warranties that state your guarantee is good for 25 years with no power capacity conditions applied to it.

Tesla also includes a 10-year comprehensive warranty. This warranty applies to all components of the solar system, and it helps with issues involving the Powerwall, inverters, and any roof-mounting problems and roof leaks.


Tesla Solar Reviews

Tesla, Inc. currently features a A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and it is not accredited. It should be noted that some companies decide not to obtain accreditation from the BBB because it comes at a cost.

Critical customer reviews on the site mention difficulty in scheduling maintenance or installation of Tesla solar products. Other reviews mention how friendly and helpful Tesla’s customer service representatives are and the amount of savings.

Read over some of the comments Tesla Solar customers have about their experiences here:

“The whole procedure was smooth and easy for me. Neal was an excellent advisor, clear, concise and knowledgeable. The installation company kept me up to date via email. It took very little effort on my part. My electricity bill has [been] $0.00 for the last three months!”—Randy W

“[Tesla Solar] had the statistics and details for me to ultimately negotiate the deal. Once I made my decision, the professional workmanship and wonderful customer service has been second to none. The install team really takes pride in their craft, and the communication has been first[-]rate.”—Al H.

“Recently bought a home that already had SolarCity / Tesla solar panels on the home. With the purchase of the home, there was an amendment to adjust the pricing per kWh for our new contract. We closed in June’21 and now in Oct’21 we still have been charged the original rate, and not the amended rate that was agreed upon on the transfer agreement. I have contacted Tesla many times, only to continue to be told I am right, it should be changed soon….”—Brandon S.

“I needed my solar panels removed because of needed roof repair. I informed Tesla of the issue and submitted the signed removal/installation documents on two occasions however I never received a scheduled date for the work. Due to the urgency of the needed work, I used a certified independent contractor to removed the solar panels and I informed Tesla beforehand of the removal and requested that Tesla reinstall the panels.”—Robert F.

*BBB information accurate as of May 2022


Tesla Solar Installation

Tesla handles your residential solar panel installation from start to finish. Here is how the installation process works:

  1. Site assessment—After ordering your panels, Tesla surveys your roof using remote aerial technology to measure its area and slope.
  2. Design—Before installation, Tesla designs your system to fit your home’s structure and energy needs.
  3. Permitting—Once the home analysis and system design are complete, Tesla will begin the installation, ensuring all necessary permits and inspections are completed.
  4. Installation—You can choose a date for your Tesla solar panel installation. Tesla claims that installation is finished the same day for most systems, and you only need to be at the house during the first hour. If you also ordered a Powerwall+ with your solar system, it will be activated and configured to Self-Consumption Only mode after installation. This means that the Powerwall will produce only enough energy required to power your home and charge your Powerwall.
  5. Inspection—Tesla will work with your local building department to arrange an inspection after installation is completed.
  6. Energization and activation—Tesla then works with your local utility company to receive Permission to Operate (PTO) for your Tesla system. The company states that depending on your location, this may take one to six weeks.

Tesla Solar App

The Tesla app allows you to manage not just your Tesla solar system but any Tesla products from anywhere, 24/7. This includes integrating your solar panels, Powerwall, and Tesla electric vehicles into one user-friendly space.

The Tesla app displays a real-time power flow, showing how your Powerwall, grid connection, and solar system work together to provide energy to your home.

Here are some of the energy preferences you can customize your Tesla Powerwall with using the Tesla app:

  • Self-Powered—This preference lets you minimize your carbon footprint and become more energy independent.
  • Time-Based Control—This setting helps you lower your utility bill and maximize your economic benefit if your energy usage varies throughout the day.
  • Storm Watch—This setting lets you set up your Powerwall to react to inclement weather events that may cause a grid outage.
  • Vehicle Charging During Power Outage—This preference makes your Powerwall and Tesla electric vehicles balance your charging and energy needs during any power grid outages.

Tesla Solar Payment Options

To help customers estimate the cost of installing solar panels, Tesla provides them with a cost calculator based on their location and average monthly electric bill. To help you get an idea of how much a Tesla solar system costs, we received a quote for a single-family home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with an average monthly electric bill of $170.

Tesla allows customers to own their system through a cash purchase or loan in select states.

  • Solar loan—Solar loans work similarly to a home or auto loan, with customers paying a monthly fee to own their panels and benefit from solar incentives.
  • Purchase—You may also purchase a Tesla solar system outright if you have the funds available.

Pricing

System size Wattage Total Price Price After Incentives
System size Wattage Total Price Price After Incentives
Small 4.25 kW $9,647 $7,139
Medium 8.50 kW $19,294 $14,278
Large 12.75 kW $28,941 $21,416
Extra-Large 17.00 kW $38,588 $28,555
Solar Roof (6106 sq. ft.) 13.40 kW $137,300 $101,600

*Prices do not include the cost of a Powerwall home battery.

Rebates

We received a quote for $11,840, which included the cost of installation and discounts from the 26% federal Residential Renewable Energy tax credit. Only customers who own their solar panels can take advantage of a federal tax credit on the cost of their system installation. In addition to a federal tax credit, some states will offer their rebates to solar customers.


Our Conclusion

If you’re looking for a solar panel company with transparent pricing information and modern design, Tesla solar panels may be a solid choice. Customers have the option of installing Tesla solar panels with a third-party installer.

If you’re looking for solar companies in your area to install Tesla solar panels, we recommend entering your ZIP code below to get matched with installers near you.

Compare Tesla to Other Solar Providers

Provider Tesla Semper Solaris ADT Solar (formerly Sunpro Solar)
Provider Tesla Semper Solaris ADT Solar (formerly Sunpro Solar)
Solar services Solar panel sales and installation, battery back-up, solar roof Solar panel installation, battery back-up installation, solar maintenance services Solar panel and battery back-up sales and installation
Service areas Nationwide (installation availability varies by zip code) California Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas
Panels offered Tesla Silfab, LG, Panasonic, Solaria N/A
Warranty length 25-year performance guarantee 25-year bumper-to-bumper warranty 25-year power production, panel, inverter, and labor warranty
Payment options Buy, finance, solar subscription Buy, finance, power purchase agreement Buy, finance, lease

Tesla Overview

  • Company name: Tesla Inc.
  • Company type: Public
  • CEO: Elon Musk
  • Years in business: 17
  • Address: 3500 Deer Creek Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304
  • Phone: 1-888-518-3752
  • Website: https://www.tesla.com/

Frequently Asked Questions About Tesla Solar Panels

How many watts are Tesla solar panels?

Tesla solar panels are 425 watts.

How efficient are Tesla solar panels?

Tesla claims that its solar panels feature 19.6% efficiency. It also claims that the panels degrade by approximately 0.5% each year in terms of efficiency.

Why is Tesla Solar so cheap?

Tesla’s brand name and size allow the company to offer its solar panels at a cheaper rate than other solar companies. Tesla appears willing to take a loss at up-front cost at the start of your transaction.

How much does a Tesla Powerwall cost?

$10,500 for the first Powerwall, with discounts as you add more. Typically, homes require solar energy systems to incorporate at least two battery back-ups to be 100% self-powered.

How do I clean my solar panels?

Tesla recommends cleaning your panels with running water when the sun is low. If customers have excess dirt and debris on their panels, Tesla suggests hiring a solar panel cleaning service.


Our Rating Methodology

The This Old House Reviews Team is committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. This means earning your trust through transparent reviews and having the data to back up our ratings and recommendations. Our rating system for solar providers is on a 100-point scale based on five factors:

  • Payment options (40 points): Options include purchase, loan, lease, and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). Companies receive points for each of those four options it provides.
  • Solar services (30 points): Does the company provide in-house installation of solar panels and battery backups? Can the company also monitor energy production and perform energy-efficiency audits to ensure system performance. The more options available, the higher the score.
  • Warranty options (10 points): The success of a residential solar system depends on the workmanship, performance guarantees, and length of product coverage. We score companies based on the number of warranty options available. The more warranties a company offers, the higher the score it receives.
  • State Availability (10 points): We award the most points to companies with the broadest service area and state availability.
  • Reputation (10 points): We factor in how the Business Better Bureau (BBB) scores each company. We deduct points for any alerts or pending lawsuits.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.