What do Tesla solar panels cost? Are they the best solar panel? (2023)

Tesla is often synonymous with high-end, luxury renewable technology, but its solar panel business can be a bit confusing. Tesla got into the solar industry in 2016 by acquiring SolarCity, with the goal of streamlining solar panel and battery storage manufacturing.

When Tesla took over, they retained the same sales and marketing infrastructure, but lacked the ability to produce solar panels at scale.

Tesla first partnered with Panasonic, in its Buffalo, New York gigafactory. Panasonic provided Tesla with solar cells, the component within solar panels that converts sunlight to electricity for energy generation.Unfortunately, Tesla and Panasonic’s solar cell production partnership ended in 2020 due to low demand from Tesla, although they remain in conjunction to build Tesla solar batteries for Tesla Powerwalls and electric vehicles.

Tesla then switched to using solar panels from third-party manufacturers, such as Korean solar giant Q CELLS, before introducing two lines of Tesla-branded solar panels for use in residential installation jobs.

Because of the mix of parties that can fall under the Tesla brand, clarity about what panels you receive when you purchase Tesla panels is a challenge. In this blog, we lay out what to expect.

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    See how much solar panels will cost for your specific home

    Does Tesla manufacture its own solar cells?

    No, Tesla is not the manufacturer of its solar cells.

    (Video) Tesla Solar Panels Cost and Honest Performance

    As noted above, until recently, Tesla had a partnership with international electronics giant Panasonic to create Tesla solar panels. The partnership was based around using the highly-regarded Panasonic HIT cells to create Tesla’s solar panels.

    After Panasonic’s departure from solar cell production for Tesla, we understand that Tesla no longer manufactures its solar panels. Instead, it appears to be using third-party manufacturers to source solar panels for installation jobs.

    The only exception is the Tesla Solar Roof, a solar shingle product, for which Tesla reportedly is making its own solar cells. However, the production and rollout of the Tesla Solar Roof has been hampered by cancellations and repeated delays.

    So what exactly are Tesla solar panels?

    The exact solar panels that Tesla uses on residential solar installations is constantly changing.

    With Panasonic out of the picture, Tesla first switched to using solar panels from Qcells. Then in April 2021, Tesla announced the launch of its own solar panel, the Tesla T420S.

    Since then, homeowners getting solar panels from Tesla have been offered either Tesla-branded solar panels or solar panels from Qcells. Further adding to the confusion, Tesla provides virtually no details about its solar panels on its website.

    So, what should you expect if you order Tesla solar panels?

    Well, right now it appears that for residential solar panel installations, Tesla is using two models of Tesla-branded solar panels, the H-series and the S-series. Both models appear to be Q CELLS panels with Tesla branding on them.

    Here are the key features of these solar panels.

    Tesla solar panel specifications
    ModelPower outputEfficiencyProduct warranty25-Year performance warranty
    Tesla T395H395 W20.1%25 years86%
    Tesla T400H400 W20.4%25 years86%
    Tesla T405H405 W20.6%25 years86%
    Tesla T420S420 W19.3%25 years85%
    Tesla T425S425 W19.6%25 years85%
    Tesla T430S430 W19.8%25 years85%

    Here’s a short summary of how Tesla solar panels compare to popular Tier 1 solar panel brands:

    Performance

    Tesla uses large commercial-sized 72-cell panels, and each panel has an output of around 400 watts. However, when it comes to key technical specifications - such as module efficiency and temperature coefficient - Tesla’s solar panels are decidedly average compared to competing Tier 1 solar panel brands.

    For instance, the module efficiency of Tesla solar panels is 19.3%-20.6%, behind market leaders such as SunPower, which offers a solar panel with a max efficiency of 22.8%.

    Warranties

    Tesla offers three warranties. The solar panel product warranty is for 25 years, which is in line with the best solar panels on the market. The next is a 25-year performance warranty, where Tesla promises a maximum 0.54% annual degradation; this is slightly worse than average.

    (Video) TESLA Solar Panels Review 2021 UPDATED (SHOULD YOU GET THEM?)

    Finally, there is the 10-year comprehensive warranty for the entire system, which includes the solar inverter, the (optional) Powerwall, and balance-of-system equipment. A 10-year warranty is pretty standard for inverters and solar batteries, but there is convenience to having all of these warranties from a single company.

    Aesthetics

    One of the biggest benefits of a Tesla solar panel system is its aesthetic appeal. Typical solar installations include skirting in an effort to hide all solar panel mounting hardware from the ground view, ensuring seamless integration into the roofing material.

    Tesla’s panels are also black in appearance, which ensures the panels are as aesthetically pleasing as possible.

    For more details, check out our full review of Tesla solar panels.

    Why are Tesla solar panels sourced from third parties?

    Tesla uses third-party panels for a few reasons.

    SolarCity’s business always sold third-party solar panels for its solar systems, and this practice carried over to their relationship with Tesla. Because it makes sense for Tesla to quote the cheapest cost solar panel to customers, it is not in its benefit to disclose the solar panel brand.

    With the former Panasonic partnership, those solar panels would technically be the “Tesla brand” solar panels. But, purchasing solar panels from other companies, like Qcells, was still practiced.

    Right now, it appears that Tesla is using Tesla-branded solar panels sourced from Qcells for most or all of its residential installation jobs.

    If you’re ordering a solar panel system, you should insist they provide you with the model and spec sheet of the solar panels they will be using. This will allow you to compare the solar panels against other leading solar panels in the market.

    How much do Tesla solar panels cost?

    Tesla solar panels range in price from $9,600 to $48,352, before incentives, depending on the system size that is best for your home.

    Tesla solar panel costs
    System sizeCost before incentives
    4.08 kW$9,600 - $12,048
    9.60 kW$19,200 - $24,096
    14.40 kW$28,800 - $36,144
    19.20 kW$38,400 - $48,192

    If you want to add energy storage to your system, each Tesla Powerwall will cost you an additional $11,500 before incentives.

    Keep in mind that solar incentives can significantly reduce your final costs. In fact, the 30% federal solar tax credit is available to all taxpayers, and many states and utilities offer additional incentives and rebates, as well.

    To see which incentives are available near you, use our solar cost calculator below.

    (Video) The Real Cost of Tesla Solar Panels + power wall

    See how much money you can save on solar with available rebates and incentives

    What is the right Tesla solar system size for your home?

    What do Tesla solar panels cost? Are they the best solar panel? (1)

    Tesla offers four standard solar panel system sizes. Image source: Tesla

    Until recently, Tesla offered a flat price for solar panel systems across the U.S. In March 2022, Tesla updated its solar pricing system, and there are now significant cost variations by state.

    In terms of cost per watt - a standard measure of comparing solar panel costs - Tesla solar panel systems can cost anywhere between $2.00 and $2.51 per watt.

    Luckily, estimating the potential cost for your home is pretty straightforward.

    You can go to the online portal and enter your address along with your average monthly electric bill to get a quote. In a trial run, we estimated the costs for a 2,300 square foot home with an average electricity cost of either $140/month, $280/month, or $420/month. Tesla recommended a 4.80 kW system, 9.60 kW system, and 14.40 kW system, respectively.

    The system sizes mentioned above are three of the standard system sizes that Tesla offers all residential solar customers. A fourth, larger system size - 19.20 kW - is offered in some markets, but you would need a very high electric bill to justify a system of that size.

    How much will a Tesla solar system cost for your home?

    It is actually pretty simple to figure out the cost of Tesla solar panels for your property based on your electricity usage.

    To determine the kilowatt hours (kWh) your home uses per day - and thus the system size you need - check your monthly electric bill. It will show you the number of kWh your home used that month. Divide that by the number of days in that month to get a daily usage figure.

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    For example, if your home used 1,200 kWh in March, you would divide 1,200 by 31 to get an average of 38 kWh used a day. Based on solar system energy production estimates (shown in the table below), you’d probably need the 9.60 kW system.

    Tesla solar panels: Cost and output by system size
    System sizekWh produced*Number of solar panelsCost before incentives**
    4.80 kW19 - 24 kWh/day12$11,088
    9.60 kW38 - 48 kWh/day24$22,176
    14.40 kW57 - 72 kWh/day36$33,264

    *Average range of solar panel output assuming between four to five peak sun hours

    **Costs shown for a home in Los Angeles, CA; exact costs may vary by state

    Final word on Tesla solar panels

    If you are a Tesla fan, Tesla solar panels are a great choice and can easily be installed with a Tesla Powerwall home battery for a completely renewable house.

    The solar panels might not be produced entirely by Tesla, but as long as you understand Tesla’s solar panel warranty, you should feel comfortable trusting a Tesla quote. Tesla does provide a 10-year workmanship warranty and at least 85% of nameplate power capacity after 25 years.

    But, Tesla solar panels are not the best option in the market in terms of panel efficiency. SolarReviews recommends these brands if you choose to shop for solar panels based on how efficient they are.

    Shop around and use our solar calculator to get a few competitive quotes before choosing a company and solar panel brand. After comparing costs, perhaps take advantage of Tesla’s price matching option if Tesla is your brand of choice.

    FAQs

    Who makes the most cost-effective solar panels? ›

    The 7 Most Efficient Solar Panels for Homes
    • Q Cells: Best Value.
    • Silfab: Best Warranty.
    • Canadian Solar: Most DIY Friendly.
    • Panasonic: Best Panels for Hot Climates.
    • REC: Best Durability.
    • SunPower Maxeon: Most Energy-Efficient.
    • Longi: Best Mid-Tier Option.
    15 Aug 2022

    What is the most cost-effective solar system? ›

    The Center for Sustainable Energy reports that the installation can cost, on average, between $15,000 and $25,000. Polycrystalline solar panels are considered the most cost-effective choice in solar panel installations, but it depends on the type of panels and how many are needed for installation.

    Are Tesla solar panels better than LG? ›

    The Tesla Powerwall has a slight upper-hand when it comes to warranty. While LG offers the same 10-year warranty, it only guarantees 60% capacity during that time. This means homeowners who install the LG Chem RESU would expect 10% more degradation of their battery over the same 10-year period.

    Why Tesla solar is so cheap? ›

    How are Tesla's solar panels so cheap? Tesla's easy ordering process is one of the reasons they have such low prices. Their brand name recognition also helps a lot. Tesla doesn't have to do a whole lot of work to get people to their website.

    What are the most efficient solar panels 2022? ›

    Panels built using advanced 'Interdigitated back contact' or IBC cells are the most efficient, followed by heterojunction (HJT) cells, TOPcon cells, half-cut and multi-busbar monocrystalline PERC cells, shingled cells and finally 60-cell (4-5 busbar) mono cells.

    What is the number 1 solar company in America? ›

    SunPower: Our pick for most experience
    Tesla Energy
    Logo
    SuperlativeOur pick for panel design
    Location Presence50 States
    1 day ago

    What are the 3 types of solar panels? ›

    In this blog we will explore the main three types of solar panel cells: polycrystalline, monocrystalline and thin-film.

    Is solar still worth it 2022? ›

    Solar panels will still work in less-than-ideal conditions. However, homes that receive little light or have limited roof space will not benefit from a system. Homeowners with high utility bills: If the cost of your utility bills is constantly high throughout the year, a solar system could help meet your energy needs.

    Which type of solar panel is best for home use? ›

    Monocrystalline solar panels are the most commonly used residential solar panel to date because of their power capacity and efficiency. Monocrystalline solar panels can reach efficiencies higher than 20%, making them the most efficient panel on the market.

    Which of the 3 main types of solar panels are the most efficient? ›

    Among all panel types, crystalline solar panels have the highest efficiency. Monocrystalline panels have an efficiency rating over 20%. PERC panels add an extra 5% efficiency thanks to their passivation layer. Polycrystalline panels hover somewhere between 15-17%.

    Why is my Tesla solar bill so high? ›

    You may notice a higher bill in the summer when your solar system is producing the most energy. This energy is typically applied as a credit by your utility for usage later in the year. Tesla no longer provides this financing offering for new systems.

    How long is the wait for Tesla solar panels? ›

    Depending on your location, the approval process typically takes one to six weeks.

    How long do Tesla solar panels last? ›

    Your solar panels are guaranteed by their manufacturer to at least 80% of nameplate power capacity for at least 25 years.

    Is solar worth it if my bill is low? ›

    If you experience higher electricity rates, switching to solar will likely be a good investment. However, if your home does not require a lot of energy consumption to operate day-to-day, you may not save enough to balance the installation cost.

    Do Tesla solar panels eliminate electric bill? ›

    After Tesla installs your solar system, you will still be connected to the grid and have an account with your electric utility provider. Your rate plan may change post-installation as required by your utility provider. Solar can greatly reduce your electric bill, but you will often still have a residual bill.

    How much does Tesla solar really cost? ›

    Tesla Solar Panels Cost and Payment Options

    According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the average price of a 6-kilowatt-hour (kWh) system ran between $16,000 and $21,000 in 2021.

    What is the longest lasting solar panel? ›

    Which Type of Solar Panel Lasts Longest? Both monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon solar panels last for a long time, with lifespans that go beyond their 25-year warranties.

    How much do solar panels increase home value 2022? ›

    A few studies have shown that solar installations increase a home's resale value by up to $6,000 for each kilowatt of solar panels installed, or by about 4.1% of the home's value.

    Are solar panels cheaper in 2022? ›

    Solar energy is becoming much cheaper all over the world according to a GTM Research study by solar analyst Ben Gallagher. He predicts that the price of constructing solar power technology will decrease by 4.4 percent each year, meaning that by 2022 the price of projects will have dropped by 27 percent.

    Who is the strongest solar system? ›

    Best solar company overall

    SunPower Solar takes the top spot on our best list thanks to its top-of-the-line solar panels and strong warranties. The solar panels SunPower offers have industry leading efficiency marks (22.8%) and a warranty that guarantees at least 92% production after 25 years.

    Which company is best for solar rooftop? ›

    Top 10 Rooftop Solar Installation Companies in India, 2022
    • Waaree Solar.
    • Tata Solar.
    • Mahindra Susten.
    • Sunsure Energy.
    • Fourth Partner Energy.
    • SURYA DAY PRIVATE LIMITED.
    • Orb Energy.
    • Vikram Solar.
    21 May 2021

    What is the most popular solar power? ›

    The most common types of domestic solar panels are monocrystalline panels, polycrystalline panels, and thin-film solar panels. There are additional types of solar panels on the market, however, these three are most commonly used for domestic purposes.

    Does solar increase home value? ›

    When you sell your house, these better savings equal bigger profits. According to Zillow, homes with solar panels sell for approximately 4 percent higher on average than homes without solar energy. That means an added value of about $9,200.

    How many solar panels would it take to power a house? ›

    An average home needs between 20 and 24 solar panels to fully offset utility bills with solar. The number of solar panels you need depends on a few key factors, including geographic location and individual panel specifications.

    What is a premium solar panel? ›

    Premium solar panels are the go-to solar panels for installations when you want to eliminate the likelihood of faults in your solar systems. They're a more advanced type of solar panel in terms of performance, quality, durability, and warranty.

    What are the 2 main disadvantages to solar energy? ›

    Solar Cons
    • Standard home solar does not “work” at night.
    • Home solar panels are not attractive.
    • DIY solar installation is difficult (if not impossible) for most homeowners.
    • Not every roof configuration is ideal for maximum solar power generation.
    • Solar manufacturing is not good for the environment.

    What is the solar tax credit for 2023? ›

    Solar PV systems installed in 2020 and 2021 are eligible for a 26% tax credit. In August 2022, Congress passed an extension of the ITC, raising it to 30% for the installation of which was between 2022-2032.

    Why is 2022 your last chance for solar? ›

    There is currently a 26% federal solar tax credit, called an Investment Tax Credit (ITC), available for all homeowners who install residential solar panels between 2020 and 2022. That means 2022 is pretty much your last chance to take advantage of the 26% tax incentive.

    What is the best size solar panel for a house? ›

    Based on our experience, our rule of thumb is that 1 kilowatt (kW) of solar installed in NC will produce 1,300-kilowatt hours (kWh) per year. So if your home uses 12,000 kWh per year, we'd estimate you need around a 9.2 kW solar system to meet 100% of your energy needs (12,000/1,300 = 9.2).

    Is there anything better than solar panels? ›

    Windmills have a higher energy yield than residential solar panels. Windmills can harness up to 50% of energy compared to 20% for solar panels. In fact, one windmill can generate the same amount of electricity in kWh compared to thousands of solar panels.

    What size solar panel is best? ›

    In 2022, a 350-400 W solar panel is the most popular choice for residential installations. This is because this range offers the best mix of the three most important solar panel factors: size, cost, and efficiency.

    How long will a Tesla powerwall 2 last? ›

    If you're using only the essentials, like your WiFi, phone, refrigerator, and some lights, you can expect the Powerwall to hold you over for around 24 hours during a blackout.

    Is the federal tax credit for solar panels refundable? ›

    This is a nonrefundable tax credit, which means you will not get a tax refund for the amount of the tax credit that exceeds your tax liability. 15 However, you can carry over any unused amount of tax credit to the next tax year.

    How long does it take Tesla solar to pay for itself? ›

    Again, this varies based on the cost of panels, incentives, energy prices in your region, and how much electricity you use throughout the year. According to most sites and calculators, the average U.S. homeowner can expect to pay off their solar panel system and get a return on their investment within 6-12 years.

    Does owning a Tesla raise your electric bill? ›

    Across all Tesla products, the average charging cost per mile is 4.56 cents per mile. So, if you only charge your Tesla at home, you can expect your electricity bill to increase by about $50 each month.

    How long does it take for a solar panel to pay for itself? ›

    The most common estimate of the average payback period for solar panels is six to ten years. This is a pretty wide range because there are many factors that will influence the number of years it can take to pay off your panels and the monthly savings you can expect.

    How much does Tesla charge for solar panel installation? ›

    Tesla Solar Panel Prices
    StateMonthly Subscription (Small)Estimated Annual Generation
    California$65$1080-$1510
    Connecticut$50$760-$1080
    Massachusetts$50$760-$1190
    New Jersey$50$650-$860
    2 more rows
    7 Jul 2020

    Can you walk on a Tesla solar roof? ›

    The slippery nature of Tesla Solar Roofs is an unavoidable side effect of the way the solar shingles are made. This slipperiness is why you should never walk on a Tesla Solar Roof, even though there's little to no risk of damaging the roof itself.

    Does a Tesla solar roof pay for itself? ›

    Solar Roof helps pay for itself with the energy it produces. As a fully integrated system, Solar Roof can maximize your solar generation and help you take control of your monthly electricity bill. Solar Roof helps pay for itself with the energy it produces.

    Do solar panels need maintenance? ›

    Do solar panels need to be maintained? Solar panels generally require very little maintenance in order to function, so yes, you can usually just let them be. The only thing they need is a periodic light cleaning to make sure dirt, leaves, and other debris aren't obstructing the sun's rays.

    How long will a Tesla Powerwall power a house? ›

    Based on the average home consuming 28 kWh/day, one Powerwall will be able to power a home for 12 hours. Two Powerwall's will power a home for 18 hours, and three Powerwall's will run a home for 24 hours.

    Does the brand of solar panels matter? ›

    More prominent brands tend to offer better warranty terms, higher efficiency rates, and lower degradation rates. However, they also tend to be more expensive. When it comes to cheaper solar panels, on the other hand, the opposite is typically true.

    How much does a high quality solar panel cost? ›

    Solar panels cost, on average, about $16,000, or between $3,500 to $35,000 depending on the type and model. While solar panels can help save you money on energy costs, it's important to know the overall startup solar panel costs so you can plan a budget.

    Which country produces the best quality solar panels? ›

    Chinese solar panel manufacturers leverage solar energy and massive government support to dominate the list of best value solar panel providers. It has established a reputation for excellent manufacturing quality.

    What type of solar panel lasts the longest? ›

    Which Type of Solar Panel Lasts Longest? Both monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon solar panels last for a long time, with lifespans that go beyond their 25-year warranties.

    Which solar panel is best for home? ›

    The most efficient solar panel for homes is a monocrystalline (mono) panel. These panels, made of silicon crystal, have the highest efficiency, falling between 15% and 22%. Thanks to the technological advancements in the solar industry, mono panels can generate more power using smaller panels with half-cells.

    What is the best type of solar panels for a house? ›

    Monocrystalline Solar Panels (Mono-SI)

    The silicon's high purity causes this type of solar panel has one of the highest efficiency rates, with the newest ones reaching above 20%. Monocrystalline panels have a high power output, occupy less space, and last the longest.

    What is better than a solar panel? ›

    Windmills have a higher energy yield than residential solar panels. Windmills can harness up to 50% of energy compared to 20% for solar panels. In fact, one windmill can generate the same amount of electricity in kWh compared to thousands of solar panels.

    Why are people not buying solar panels? ›

    High upfront costs for your solar energy system. This is usually because solar equipment and/or installation costs are expensive where you live. Space restrictions mean that you can't install a solar panel system large enough to deliver adequate electric bill savings.

    What should I know before buying solar panels? ›

    15 Things to Consider Before Installing Rooftop Solar Panels
    • Does your roof need repairs? ...
    • What is the shape of your roof? ...
    • Which direction do the slopes of your roof face? ...
    • How much weight can your roof handle? ...
    • Where will the water go? ...
    • What about nature's other surprises? ...
    • How do you connect to the grid?

    Do solar panels increase bills? ›

    You won't notice any difference in your electricity supply. You can use your solar panels alongside a normal energy tariff, and there's no need to tell your energy company. You'll just use less electricity from the Grid, and therefore pay lower bills.

    How long does it take for solar panels to pay for themselves? ›

    Solar panels typically pay for themselves within nine to 12 years. Solar panels reduce or eliminate the cost of electric utility bills. Utilities may pay solar panel users through a process called net metering.

    Who is the world leader in solar panels? ›

    The top 3 global manufacturers are LONGi Solar, Tongwei Solar, and JA Solar. Most solar panels are manufactured in China, but some companies in Canada and the U.S. are gaining traction.

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