Tesla Solar Panels: The Most Detailed Review

February 7, 2024

Tesla already revolutionized the car industry, making electric cars the new norm. Now, this company aims to change the solar power industry, making it accessible across the U.S. They offer certified installers, multiple financing options, and long-term warranties on their solar system. Some like their deals, while others prefer to use other manufacturers.

Today, we will show you Tesla’s pros and cons so you can determine whether their deals are right for you. You will learn about the cost of Tesla Solar Roofs and solar panels, learn about Tesla Energy hardware components, and get more details about their mobile app.

The Tesla solar panels review from the Solar Power Systems team will save you time researching since we’ve gathered all the crucial information in one place.

The Difference Between Tesla Panels and Tesla Tiles

As of early 2024, Tesla offers two types of solar panels: traditional and solar roof tiles. Since we discussed solar tiles earlier, we’ll examine Tesla’s solar panels today.

A single Tesla solar panel provides 400 Watts of power. If you place five panels on your roof, you will get 2 KW of energy, enough to power your fridge, TV, and air conditioner.

Each Tesla solar panel measures 74.4 inches long by 41.2 inches tall and can be mounted on any roof. While tiles are available in 4 different styles, you can choose between two standard panel designs: black and all-black. The first option is black with a slight hint of blue, while the second option is entirely black.

We gathered the key parameters of Tesla solar panels and tiles in a comprehensive table to better understand their differences.

FeatureTesla Solar PanelsTesla Solar Roof Tiles
TypeTraditional crystalline silicon panelsThin-film photovoltaic shingles
Wattage per unit400 W71.67 W per shingle
Efficiency20.9%Not publicly available
Dimensions74.4″ x 41.2″ x 1.57″Varies depending on the tile type
Weight46.2 lbsVaries depending on the tile type
InstallationMounted on a racking system on the existing roofRequires full roof replacement
AestheticsVisible on the roofSeamless integration with roof
Wind resistance130 mph110 mph
Hail resistance1.25″ diameter ice balls at 80 mphClass 3
Fire ratingClass CClass A
Warranty25-year performance, 12-year product25-year product, 25-year weatherization, 25-year performance

Tesla’s Solar Panels are a more affordable option. You need approximately $10,000 to $15,000 to purchase and install them on the mid-size roof. Meanwhile, installing Tesla’s tiles on the same midsize roof may cost $35,000 to $60,000.

Tesla solar panels will be visible even on the black roof, while Tesla’s tiles will become an integral part of it.

A solar panel installation will take 1-3 days. Meanwhile, this process can take weeks with tiles since workers replace old tiles with new ones.

Ultimately, the best choice depends on your individual preferences. Before deciding which Tesla solar option suits you more, consider your budget, energy usage, desired aesthetics, and roof condition.

Where Are Tesla Energy Services Available?

You can buy and install Tesla solar panels in any state, including Alaska and Hawaii. However, some counties still don’t work with Tesla’s installers. The easiest way to determine whether you can install Tesla solar power systems is to write your address on Tesla’s site to check whether they have licensed installers in your area.

You should understand that availability is constantly changing. The best way to ensure your home is suitable for Tesla solar panels is to enter your address on the inquiry page for solar products. You can check for availability in your area on the Tesla website or ask our experts about it.

If you live outside the U.S., you can’t officially purchase and install those panels. If you want to install a Tesla solar system on your second house outside the USA, you can do it via third-party teams. However, you will lose all the warranties in this case.

Tesla Solar Panels Installation Process: General Steps

Tesla Solar Panels Installation Process

First, precalculate the needed capacity by determining average consumption over the last 1-2 years. Provide Tesla with your average bill and address so they can precalculate the required system size. They use satellite imagery to design your system layout. You can review and adjust the design in your Tesla account.

After that, Tesla solar representatives obtain the necessary permits from your local authorities. It may take 4-8 weeks, and they may ask you to provide additional documentation.

Once done, Tesla power experts will begin the installation process. Prepare the yard and driveway by removing massive portable objects to make it as safe as possible for workers. The installation takes 3-5 days, depending on the roof parameters.

Later, Tesla installers connect the system to the grid and obtain permission to operate (PTO) from your utility company. You can track energy production and usage history on Tesla’s app.

Beware that the entire process from order to activation can take up to 6 months, depending on your region and the processing times of your local authorities.

Tesla Energy Additional Hardware

Tesla Energy Additional Hardware

Source: Tesla

Tesla provides additional hardware and software to provide the best user experience. Solar inverters, Powerwall batteries, and the Getaway are integral to the Tesla Solar System.

Tesla Solar Powerwall

Tesla Solar Powerwall

Source: Tesla

It is a rechargeable battery system for storing energy that you’ve generated during the daytime. This Tesla home battery can be a great backup power option during outages.

You can utilize it for load shifting and off-grid living by storing energy produced during peak electricity hours. This helps you avoid incurring high costs associated with grid energy consumption.

There are two Tesla options for energy storage:

  1. The Powerwall 2 is currently available for everyone across the U.S. The Powerwall 3 is still under development and is promised to be released in mid-2024.
  2. Powerwall 2 delivers a continuous output of 5.8 kW and a peak output of 10 kW. Meanwhile, Powerwall 3 will provide a significantly higher continuous output of 11.5 kW. Its peak output hasn’t been officially announced yet.
  3. The older version needs a separate Tesla solar inverter. The 2024 battery has a built-in solar inverter, simplifying installation and potentially increasing the system’s efficiency.

You can chain Powerwalls to accumulate more energy, but note that there are differences between current and new models. With floor-mounted Power 2 batteries, you can stack up to three, but stacking wall-mounted options is impossible; they can only be used separately.

The new version will provide more freedom since you can stack up to four Powerwall 3 units regardless of their installation type. If you want to build a system with both battery types, they can only be mounted independently. In the app, you will see them as separate Powerwall 2 and Powerwall 3 stacks.

Tesla Solar Inverter

It is a high-efficiency inverter designed to convert solar panels’ direct current (DC) electricity into alternating (AC) electricity for home usage. The Tesla solar panels inverter can convert up to 98% of the DC from your solar panels into AC.

You can monitor its work through the Tesla app. As of 2024, the inverter is available in two sizes: 7.6 kW and 13.5 kW. The basic option has a 10 kW peak output, while a powerful model can provide 17.5 kW during peak efficiency.

They are similar in dimensions, but the basic option is 25 lbs lighter than its more powerful colleague. The 7.6 kW inverter weighs 100 lbs, while the 13.5 kW option weighs 125 lbs.

Tesla Solar Gateway

This device enables communication between Tesla panels, Powerwalls, and the utility grid. The system monitors the energy your panels produce, the storage in your Powerwalls, and your grid usage. This data is relayed to the app through the Gateway, enabling you to review and adjust as needed.

It can provide safety features, including emergency shutoff functionality and overload protection. You can use it with the Tesla Solar ecosystem and compatible systems from other manufacturers.

Tesla Solar Monitoring Services

The Tesla app offers extensive monitoring services for your solar energy system. This data will help optimize your energy usage, identify potential issues, and maximize the Tesla benefits from your investment. Here are the main features of the Tesla mobile app:

  1. Real-time data: You can remotely analyze the system’s performance and monitor energy production, power usage, battery levels, and grid interaction.
  2. Historical data: All data is stored on the cloud, so you can check usage history to identify long-term consumption patterns and potential trends.
  3. Alerts and notifications: You’ll get alerts about potential system issues, such as low battery levels or performance anomalies, to ensure your system runs smoothly.
  4. Insights and recommendations: The Tesla app provides recommendations based on your data, suggesting ways to optimize energy usage.
  5. Remote control: You can manage the charging and discharging schedules of the Powerwall systems remotely. It helps you to optimize energy usage and manage peak demand periods.

With this app, you’ll have enhanced control over both energy consumption and Tesla solar panels output. It will facilitate proactive system maintenance and optimize self-consumption. You can enjoy peace of mind as you track even the minute details of your system.

Does Tesla Use In-House Installers?

In most cases, they use the help of local certified installers to mount Tesla solar panels. That way, they can achieve outstanding coverage in every state. However, in some counties, Tesla can provide direct installations through its installer network.

You can find out which team is available in your area by entering your address on Tesla’s website or asking Solar Power System experts. In both cases, you will get a team of certified installers to mount your Tesla solar panels. So, you’ll get a warranty for all Tesla’s components.

If multiple options are available in your area, we will notify you. That way, you can choose the installer team that perfectly suits your needs.

Do Tesla Solar Panels Generate Enough Electricity To Go Off-Grid?

Do Tesla Solar Panels Generate Enough Electricity To Go Off-Grid

There is no one-for-all answer since it depends on your needs and roof parameters. Analyze your power consumption before ordering panels or contact Tesla customer support. It will give you clear expectations.

The system’s capacity should meet your needs. Overestimating can lead to wasted energy, while underestimating can leave you reliant on the grid.

Sunlight availability in your area is another crucial factor when choosing the place to install Tesla solar panels. If you live in a sunny state like California or Nevada, you’ll generate twice as much as your pal in an identical home in Illinois or Minnesota.

Beware that energy production fluctuates throughout the year due to changes in daylight hours and weather conditions. Once Tesla solar panels become shadowed or covered with snow, it lowers the output of the whole system. To go fully off-grid, consider using storage solutions like Tesla Powerwall.

Consider properly cleaning your Tesla solar panels if you want to install them in a snowy region. Snow acts as a blanket, blocking sunlight from reaching the solar cells. The thicker the snow cover, the less sunlight can penetrate, leading to a drop in power generation.

If you want to read the user’s Tesla solar panel review, look for those who tested panels in your region for a year. That way, you’ll get the most accurate representation of how the Tesla Energy system will work for you.

How To Buy Tesla Solar Panels: List of Financing Options

As of 2024, the cost of Tesla Solar Roof falls under the middle range. Meanwhile, you can facilitate your life by using additional financing options, such as:

  • Tesla’s loan
  • A third-party loan
  • Solar lease

The most common option is direct purchase. You buy Tesla solar panels from the manufacturer with cash or a credit card, becoming a full-fledged system owner. You can sign up for multiple government incentives, such as tax credits, tax exemptions, rebates, or net metering. These incentives won’t lower the initial costs, but they can save you money in the long run.

Tesla Financing (Direct Loan) is an option for those who want to purchase and install their solar systems in the United States. The interest rates depend on credit score and the history of Tesla’s purchases. According to user reviews, they offer reasonable rates compared to other loan options.

In this case, you can choose a down payment ranging from 0% to 30%. It allows for customizing your initial investment and monthly payments. You can pick a preferable repayment term from 3 to 12 years. Once you pay the loan, request government incentives for your Tesla solar panels.

Third-party loans are a great option if Tesla Financing is unavailable in your area. Their conditions, credit rates, and potential tax benefits vary from case to case.

The last option is solar leases from installers. You won’t have any upfront costs for panel purchase and installation in this situation. Instead, you will get fixed monthly payments over a lease term, which usually varies from 10 to 25 years.

What Warranties Does Tesla Offer?

Tesla offers comprehensive warranties for its solar panel and storage products. Just ensure that you collaborate with a certified installer team. If you decide to install Tesla solar panels on your own or use a team not approved by Tesla, your warranty will be revoked.

If you work with certified installers, you’ll get a 25-year product and power output warranty on your Tesla solar panels. The company guarantees that the panels will be free from material defects and provides a 25-year power output that guarantees at least 80% of the rated nameplate output.

Once you buy the Powerwall panels, you’ll receive a 10-year standard warranty covering material and workmanship defects. After the initial 10-year warranty period, you can purchase extended warranties (up to 20 years). The same warranty conditions apply to the inverter.

A Tesla solar warranty is transferable to subsequent owners of your property. It also covers labor costs for repairs under warranty. However, we still recommend you thoroughly read the terms and conditions to understand all exclusions and limitations in your particular case.

Are Tesla Solar Panels Worth It?

Are Tesla Solar Panels Worth It

Whether Tesla solar panels are worth it depends on several factors, including your financial considerations, energy needs, etc. Determine whether Tesla’s upfront costs and potential energy savings suit your needs. Consider additional financing options like leases, solar loans, or government incentives.

We also recommend you pre-calculate your average energy needs — examine bills for the last 2-3 years. If you don’t have them, turn on as many devices as possible for a week and check the power consumption. Multiplicate the result by 4 to figure out your maximum monthly energy flow.

Remember the roof’s characteristics. Consider your roof size, orientation, and potential shading limitations affecting solar panel efficiency. You should pick a place where you can clean Tesla solar panels from time to time.

Consider any potential changes in your household’s energy needs in the coming years to ensure adequate system capacity. Understand the ongoing maintenance requirements and warranty coverage.

In summary, Tesla solar panels are great investments for those who want to reduce their reliance on the grid while being eco-friendly for an average household. They can save money on bills while contributing to a more sustainable future.

Jed Hilton
Jed Hilton

Jed Hilton, our Founder and CEO, has over a decade of experience in the solar industry. His innovative leadership and expertise in solar technologies guide our company's vision and strategy.