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Although Tesla started as an auto company, it made a name for itself in the solar industry when it unveiled its solar roof in 2016. The product has a modern, eye-catching roof design that uses small solar panels to mimic the appearance of regular roof shingles. This sleek look, combined with Tesla’s widely recognizable name, has made it a popular choice among homeowners. But how good are Tesla solar panels, really?
We analyzed solar panel specifications, industry trends, customer service reviews, and more to determine the top solar energy companies available to put this to the test. This Tesla solar panels review covers the company’s products, payment options, reputation, services, and more.
Important Note: Tesla makes solar panels and batteries, but it doesn’t install them. Choose from one of the Tesla certified installers below to install your Tesla solar products.
Fast Facts About Tesla
- State Availability: 50 (changes according to zip code)
- Warranty Options: 25-year performance guarantee
- Panel Options: Monocrystalline (Hanwha)
- Payment Options: Purchase and solar loan
- Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating*: A+
*BBB rating is accurate as of April 2023.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Tesla
Review key highlights about Tesla’s solar panels:
✔ Offers unique solar roofs for low-key aesthetic
✘ Features mixed online customer reviews
✔ Offers 24/7 active monitoring
✘ Limits panels to standardized sets
✔ Produces its own solar battery, the Powerwall
Tesla Solar Reviews
We analyzed the 100 most recent additions to Google Reviews for Tesla’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California. Overall, the reviews were mixed, with 47% being three stars or less. However, these reviews also covered Tesla’s cars, not just its solar products.
Customers primarily complained that Tesla doesn’t have human customer service representatives. People also had difficulty scheduling repairs for products like its solar battery, the Powerwall. More positive reviews praise the quality of Tesla’s products and the company’s efforts to make renewable energy accessible.
Read what some customers had to say below.
“Absolutely love our … Solar Panels: We had a 5 kW system and upgraded to 10 kW, customer service was top notch, and the whole experience was delightful (both times). Powerwalls: A MUST if you’re getting solar … love the app, look at it three times/day. Always a fun challenge to get below net grid usage. Welcome to the future built by Tesla. … We are largely energy independent. Thank you, Tesla Team!” —Aaron Nutten via Google Reviews
“The salespeople are very helpful, and they answer all questions you may have….” —Libby Chang via Google Reviews
“I’ve called customer service four separate times, and I still don’t have access to automatic billing in my Tesla Account. Terrible customer service.” —Brandon T. via Google Reviews
“Tesla energy use[s] deceptive practices and conman sales tactics! First off, it took over two years from the date of the deposit to installation of the two Powerwalls! And before installation they were going to finance the project at 2.5% and get me the SGIP rebates. I was told in emails and verbally that Tesla would file the SGIP rebate documents with the utility company…. Now after the project is completed I’m being told that they can no longer file the SGIP forms, and I will have to pay full price for the project.” —Jay Garden via Google Reviews
Tesla has been making a name for itself in alternative energy with its electric vehicles (EVs) since 2003. In 2016, it acquired SolarCity and began providing renewable energy products for residential solar energy systems. It later introduced the Tesla Powerwall solar battery, which has become one of the most popular solar batteries on the market.
Tesla is also known for its solar roofs. Rather than simply placing solar panels on your existing roof, the Tesla solar roof uses minimalistic solar panels to create a new roof with no visible grid, a concealed edge, and a low profile. This makes the Tesla panels look like typical roof shingles and offers a modern, less noticeable style. Tesla’s solar roofs also use monocrystalline solar panels, the most efficient currently available.
Tesla’s solar products and services are available in all 50 states but vary according to zip code. We recommend checking with the company to see whether it services your home’s address.
Tesla Cost and Payment Options
Tesla has a calculator on its website to help you determine how much its solar power system may cost you.
For example, a standard 12 kilowatt (kW) system for a home in Austin with roughly $200 in electric bills each month, and around 2,700 square feet of roof space costs an estimated $30,120. Adding one Powerwall to this system would cost an additional $11,000. Though this makes the system $41,120, Tesla estimates that tax incentives would reduce that price to $30,429.
Tesla offers two payment methods for its solar energy systems:
- Solar loan: Solar loans work like any other loan. Based on your credit score, you pay a monthly fee to own the solar panels and benefit from local and federal solar incentives. However, this is not as cost-effective as a full-on purchase because interest rates mean you pay more in the long run.
- Full purchase: You may also purchase a Tesla solar system at an up-front price. This is the most cost-effective option because your solar investment is completely paid off, and you can take full advantage of any tax incentives and rebates.
You can make your solar panel system even more affordable by taking advantage of the federal tax credit and other local tax incentives. We suggest using the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency to see what rebates and credits you might receive for a Tesla solar installation.
If you’re interested in a solar power system but concerned that it may change your home’s appearance and character, Tesla is a good option. The company’s solar roofs offer high-efficiency solar panels without a distracting look. However, Tesla’s customer service has mixed reviews, and the company’s standardized sets of panels offer limited options for solar installation.
If you’re interested in a more customizable but still highly efficient solar system, Momentum Solar is excellent. The company intentionally limits its availability to states that have established solar rebates and incentives and net-metering programs. These programs feature an arrangement with your utility company to track your system’s surplus energy and subtract that amount from your electricity bill, maximizing your solar savings.
Alternatively, if you’re interested in securing your solar investment as much as possible, you should look into Palmetto Solar. Its Peace of Mind Protection Plan provides one-click support, personalized monthly reports, annual cleaning visits, and more.
Use our tool below to learn which solar providers are available for your address.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will a Tesla Powerwall provide power?
The Tesla Powerwall battery provides electricity for roughly 12 to 15 hours, depending on your energy consumption.
How long does it take solar panels to pay for themselves?
It typically takes anywhere from nine to 12 years for solar panels to pay for themselves. However, you may be able to cut down on this time if your home has high energy consumption.
What brand of solar panels does Tesla use?
Tesla uses Q Cells as its solar panel brand.
How many solar panels does it take to run a house?
Most homeowners need between 20 to 30 solar panels to run their home, but the total number depends on your monthly energy consumption and roof design.
How We Chose the Top Solar Companies
We researched and analyzed dozens of solar panels and solar installation companies. We then formulated a rating system based on each solar installer or manufacturer’s services and products on several significant factors. Factors include the types of solar panels and their quality, customer support network, warranty lengths and limitations, and additional benefits for homeowners, such as mobile apps for monitoring and customer service.
Speaking directly to a representative at each company, we determined how each solar company personalizes its solar panel installation for each home. We also analyzed each company’s warranty options to ensure their product and performance guarantees match or exceed industry standards.
We evaluated each provider based on their rating and history with the BBB to determine reputation. In addition, we analyzed the 100 most recent Google Reviews for each provider across various locations and branches.
Read more: Our Methodology