Chances are, you’ve heard a lot about Tesla solar panels in the past few years, and you may be wondering if they’re any good. Maybe you’re considering solar power for your home and you want to know if the Tesla panels live up to their name. Are there better options for solar power? What is it that sets Tesla panels apart?
Tesla solar panels have mixed reviews. Some people love them because they’re reliable, nice-looking, and relatively affordable. Others claim they are cheaply made, don’t produce enough power, and that the company has poor service. Most agree that the panels have both pros and cons, like any product.
So, should you take a risk and go with Tesla solar panels? Read on to find out more about the panels, including their benefits and drawbacks, how they compare with the competition, and how they stack up against Tesla’s increasingly popular solar roof.
About Tesla Solar Panels
Tesla announced their plans for solar energy in 2015, and the company’s first solar panels were hitting the market two years later. Now, in 2021, hundreds if not thousands of people throughout the U.S. have installed Tesla’s solar panels.
Tesla solar panels are considered some of the most affordable solar panels you can buy. The company claims this is due to its “streamlined” process for ordering, design, and installation. Some negative reviews online claim it’s because Tesla uses cheap materials for their solar panels.
It’s unclear which is true, as there isn’t much information available on how Tesla makes their panels.
Tesla Solar Panels’ Visual Appeal
One thing that is clear is that Tesla makes some of the most visually pleasing solar panels. When you think of solar panels, you probably envision large, gaudy rectangles that destroy the appearance of your roof or yard. Not so with Tesla.
Tesla solar panels come in a variety of sizes so you can choose the best size for your home. They have a smooth, sleek appearance with very few gaps between each panel. They are generally mounted near the bottom of the roof, and Tesla’s unique mounting system has rounded side edges for a natural, low-profile appearance.
The all-black panels are thin and made to blend in with the surrounding roof. They can be easily integrated with other Tesla products for maximum sustainability, and you can track their energy production using the Tesla app.
Tesla solar panels also come with a fantastic warranty. According to Tesla’s website, the warranty covers the “workmanship and performance” of the panels.
Tesla guarantees their panels to last for 25 years and provides a 10-year warranty for the overall system. If you experience any problems with the panels or system during the warranty, Tesla will provide the repairs at no cost to you.
Tesla Solar Panel Benefits
So overall, Tesla solar panels sound pretty good, right? In this section, we’ll look at some specific benefits of having Tesla solar panels installed on your home.
Long-Term Savings of Tesla Solar
One of the biggest benefits of solar power in general is the money you save in the long term. By harnessing the energy from the sun, you can reduce your utility bills and supplement your electricity usage with solar power. Depending on your energy needs and the number of solar panels, you may be able to completely eliminate your reliance on the power grid.
With Tesla solar panels, you save even more money because the panels are relatively inexpensive to buy and install. Tesla does all their own installation and design, so you don’t have to pay one company to make your panels and another company to install them.
Solar power is one of the most eco-friendly energy options available. Whereas the power grid relies on natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy, Tesla solar panels simply rely on the sun. They often produce all the energy you need on their own, so if reducing your carbon footprint is important to you, installing solar panels is a great way to do it.
Even if the panels don’t completely meet your power needs, you’ll still be able to depend less on the power grid. Every little bit helps. The more we can replace our power needs with sustainable energy sources, the better off we’ll be in the long run.
Produce Your Own Electricity
Electricity prices have steadily climbed over the past few decades, and that trend shows no signs of reversing. If you’re tired of watching your utility bill go up year after year, it may be time to take your electricity needs into your own hands.
With Tesla solar panels, you pay for the cost of installation and the panels themselves–that’s all. It may take some time, but eventually, the panels will likely pay for themselves in the amount of money you save on your utility bill.
Instead of throwing money away every month, wouldn’t you rather invest in a clean, renewable electricity source that may enable you to ditch your electricity bill?
Never Worry About Power Outages
If you choose to pair your solar panels with a Tesla Powerwall, you’ll be able to harness extra solar power on sunny days and store it for later use. This means that, even if the grid goes down, you’ll still have power available.
Tesla solar panels and Powerwall units are easy to use together, though it’s worth noting that Powerwall is only covered under warranty for 10 years, so you will likely need to buy at least two to last the lifetime of the solar panels.
That said, a solar panel plus Powerwall combo may be a great option if you often lose power during thunderstorms or anticipate the power grid going down for any reason.
Increase Your Home’s Value
If you plan to sell your home within the lifetime of your solar panels, having a solar energy setup is a fantastic way to increase both the appeal and the selling value of your home.
More and more, people are discovering the value of having solar panels, but they may not want the initial cost and hassle of having them installed. If the house you’re selling already has solar power set up, it will likely sell quickly even in a less-than-favorable market and may command a premium price.
Tesla Solar Panel Drawbacks
As mentioned above, every product has both pros and cons, and Tesla solar panels are no exception. Let’s take a look at some of the drawbacks of installing Tesla panels.
Up-Front Cost of Tesla Solar
This is true of any solar panels currently on the market. Even Tesla panels, which claim to be the most affordable you can buy, come with a pretty hefty up-front cost. You’ll have to pay for each solar panel you buy as well as the installation cost.
Depending on the size of your home and the number of solar panels you choose to install, your up-front cost will likely range from around $8,000 to over $30,000. If you choose to add a Powerwall, the cost will be even higher.
Yes, eventually the system will probably pay for itself. But if you can’t afford the up-front costs, the long-term savings won’t do you any good.
May Not Produce Enough Electricity
Check out any site with Tesla customer reviews and you’ll find that many of the negative reviews are based on the power output from the solar panels. Some people have found that their panels don’t produce as much electricity as expected and that they’re unable to replace their dependence on the grid.
This may be due to environmental factors, such as minimal amounts of sunlight or snow on the solar panels. Or it may be caused by not installing enough panels, or even by a technical problem with the panels themselves.
Whatever the reason, it can be extremely frustrating to buy solar panels with the intent of replacing your traditional power source, only to find that the expensive sustainable power source doesn’t actually produce enough power for your home.
Risk of Damage
Solar panels are subject to the same abuses as your roof. Some solar panel users have experienced damage from hail and wind, and others express concern that the panels deteriorate from constant UV exposure.
Of course, being solar panels, they’re made to take a lot of abuse from the sun. But some users have found Tesla solar panels to be prone to damage and made of cheap materials. Those who do experience damage often express trouble with getting in touch with Tesla and taking advantage of the warranty.
There’s little information available on whether or not Tesla will honor the warranty if their panels are damaged in a storm.
Tesla Solar Panels vs. The Competition
So how does Tesla stack up against other companies producing solar panels? Tesla may have the lowest prices, but do their competitors produce the better quality products?
In this section, we’ll discuss the panels offered by three of Tesla’s most popular competitors: LG Energy, Panasonic, and SunPower.
LG Energy Solar Panels VS Tesla
LG solar panels have been around a little longer than Tesla’s panels, and they are some of the highest quality panels you can buy. LG panels are more efficient than the competition, meaning they will capture a greater percentage of the available light. This, in turn, will provide a greater energy output for your home.
LG panels have the traditional solar panel appearance, so they may not look as pretty on your roof as Tesla’s panels would. Of course, appearance is a relatively minor consideration. Like Tesla, LG offers a 25-year warranty, meaning they’re fairly confident that their panels are going to stand up to the abuse they receive.
One drawback of LG solar panels is that LG doesn’t do the installation themselves. They do provide resources on their webpage to help you find an installer, but you will have to work with a third party to get your panels installed. Keep this in mind when getting a quote from LG–the quote will be for the panels only and will not include installation costs.
That said, the customer reviews online are almost all positive, with customers and reviewers alike stating that LG solar panels perform better than expected and are definitely worth the money.
Panasonic Solar VS Tesla Solar
Up until recently, Panasonic actually manufactured the solar panels for Tesla. The partnership ended because the underwhelming demand for Tesla solar panels was causing Panasonic to lose money.
Now, Panasonic continues to produce their own solar panels, and they are also considered some of the best on the market.
Panasonic’s unique HIT technology makes their solar panels highly efficient. In fact, they are among the most efficient panels available, producing up to 13% more power over other solar panels. That said, as you might imagine, they come with a pretty hefty price tag.
Like LG panels, Panasonic panels are installed by a third party installation company, so you will have the extra cost of installation. They are also covered by a 25-year warranty and most models are guaranteed to produce a minimum power output of at least 90% even after 25 years.
Clearly, Panasonic solar panels are built to last, so if you can afford the up-front cost, they may be the best solar panel option you can invest in.
SunPower Solar Panels VS Tesla
SunPower solar panels have the greatest efficiency of any solar panel available. Their A-Series and X-Series panels can produce an astounding 22.3% efficiency, giving you the most power from the fewest panels.
SunPower appears highly confident in their product, as they offer one of the most inclusive warranties of any of the companies discussed in this section. The panels are completely covered under warranty for 25 years, and they are guaranteed to continue producing at 92% even after 25 years.
In addition, SunPower installs its own panels, so the cost of installation should be included in your solar panel quote.
SunPower panels are fairly pricey, but with such a high efficiency percentage, you won’t need to install as many panels as you would with Tesla to cover your energy needs.
Are Tesla Solar Panels Worth the Money?
So at this point, you may be wondering, “are Tesla panels really worth it? Aren’t there better options out there?” Ultimately, you’re the only one who can decide that for yourself.
If you can afford the up-front cost, then you probably won’t find a more affordable solar panel option. In fact, Tesla offers a price match guarantee, so if you do find a lower price, you may be able to have Tesla do the job for that price.
That said, those who can afford the up-front cost may want to invest more for a better-quality panel from one of the companies discussed above.
One other option, which we’ll talk about in the next section, is buying Tesla’s Solar Roof instead of their panels.
Tesla Solar Panels vs. Solar Roof
A couple of years ago, Tesla made quite a splash with the introduction of their solar roof. Made up of small, tile-sized panels, the solar roof is a fantastic option for people who want the benefit of solar power without the unsightliness of traditional solar panels.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of a Tesla solar roof compared against regular solar panels.
Solar Roof Has Smaller Panels
Tesla’s solar roof is made up of both solar and non-solar tiles. They all look the same, and you can choose to have as many solar tiles as you need for your house. The solar tiles are essentially small, inconspicuous solar panels–they work the same way Tesla’s regular panels would work.
Because the panels are so small and look like the other roof tiles, it won’t look like you have solar panels on your roof. They will blend in with the surrounding tiles, which give your roof a stylish, modern look.
Solar Roof Will Work for Any Roof
Some roofs just aren’t ideal for solar panels–they may be too small or oddly shaped. If your house has one of these roofs, you may benefit from getting a solar roof instead of regular panels.
The solar tiles are small enough for small houses, and they can be dispersed throughout the roof wherever it’s most practical to put them. Shape size, direction–none of that matters. Solar roofs will work on any house.
Solar Roof is Expensive
Tesla’s solar roof is significantly more expensive than their regular solar panels. Keep in mind though, you’re not just getting solar panels installed on the roof; you’re getting a whole new roof.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Tesla’s solar roof, you can read more about it and find a cost calculator at Tesla’s website.
Tesla solar panels are more affordable than many solar panels on the market, but they may not produce enough electricity to fully power your home. Other, more pricey solar panels, such as those produced by SunPower and LG Energy, are much more efficient.
That said, Tesla panels may be a good option if you’re not ready to fully commit to solar power, if you use them together with Tesla’s Powerwall, or if you want to spend a little less money on an overall decent set of solar panels.