Are Tesla Solar Panels Better Than Traditional Solar Panels?

Are Tesla Solar Panels Better?

When we hear about Tesla, we think about their product designs for electrical cars, but as a technology company, they dabble in other avenues. One technology that they have been working in is solar panels. Only in 2017 did they start producing in this field.

As a whole, Tesla is the way to go, but many factors make it better. Although they are a better choice, there are some cons to Tesla and their solar panels as they are fairly new to this technology.

Many factors go into buying and installing solar panels in your home. You may or may not want some of the perks that Tesla has to offer, or you may want the perks that the other companies have to offer. Instead of searching to compare companies, here is all the information you need to know.

Tesla Solar Panels Vs. Others

Tesla is not the only company that distributes solar panels. Many companies are beginning to produce this technology as other resources have become more expensive in a long term perspective.

 Tesla Solar PanelsSunpowerSolar Panel Kits (Sol-Ark)
PriceAbout $2.01 per Watt$3.20 or $4.50 per watt$25,000 without Installation
Inverter Efficiency97.5%Not posted on their website96%
Solar Panel Warranty25 years25 years10 years
Solar Inverter Warranty12.5 years25 years10 years
Inverter Power3.8kW/7.6kW8.2kW9.1kW
Installation IncludedYesYesNo

How Efficient Are Tesla Solar Panels?

In terms of efficiency, there are two ways to look at efficiency. The first one is the efficiency of the solar panels themselves, and secondly, the efficiency of the solar inverter. Both lose power due to many reasons.

Solar Panels Efficiency

Most solar panels range from 15% to 18% efficiency. This means that the technology can convert about that much of the sunlight that it absorbs into renewable energy. Now, these numbers are ever-changing.

Tesla has improved their numbers and reached around 19%, which is above average. Some solar panels can get up to 22%, which is plausible. The technology is only getting better as scientists continue their research, but many solar panels fall in that average range.

Solar Inverter Efficiency

Solar inverters are responsible for taking the energy from the solar panels and delivering it to the Powerwall or battery back up and your house.

Energy can be released through the cables and other routes. Inverters average about 94% to 96% efficiency, with some being as much as 98% efficiency. Tesla’s solar inverter efficiency is around 97%, which is above average.

Tesla can also promise these percentages with roofs with awkward or weird angles that can sometimes impede the flow of energy from your solar panels to your powerwall or house.

How Does Environment Affect Efficiency of Tesla Solar Panels?

All of these percentages and numbers that have been thrown at you is only when the sun is out all day at ideal temperatures and with the best sunlight peak hours. With the environment and seasons as well as location, this number changes. Many environmental factors can cause a fluctuation in energy absorption:

  • Peak sunlight hours
  • Weather
  • Temperatures

All of these can cause your solar panel efficiency to go up or down.

Peak Sunlight Hours

If you have looked around at solar panels, you may have heard the term “peak sunlight hours,” but what does it mean? It means that the sun provides 1,000 watts of energy per square meter, which is about ten and a half feet. So even if the sun is out during the evening near dusk, it may not provide as much energy as during its peak hours.

As you move closer to the northern states, the average sunlight peak hours you get goes down. And as you move closer to the equator, you get more sunlight during peak hours.

If you have more sunlight during peak hours, you will get more out of your solar panels. People in Oregon may not get as many sunlight peak hours as someone in Nevada. This doesn’t mean you don’t get what you paid for. Your solar panels just won’t convert as much energy as the person living in Oregon.

The amount of sunlight peak hours a solar panel gets can also be the position of the panel. If the solar panels aren’t getting access to the sun at all peak hours, it isn’t getting all the power it needs to supply to your house and thus reduces efficiency. This often happens with roofs that are tilted East to West and vice versa or when your home is shaded by trees.

How Many Peak Hours Does A Solar Panel Need?

In an ideal situation, you would want to have sunlight peak hours 24/7 because a solar panel (if working at 100%) for Tesla can produce 310 watts per hour. This is why you need multiple solar panels and not just one to power your home.

With enough solar panels on your roof and a powerwall, you can generate enough energy to supply your house when the sun isn’t out.


On cloudy days, your solar panels will not work as efficiently. Just like shade from the trees can obstruct the amount of sunlight your solar panel can absorb, so do clouds. But all solar panels will face this sort of obstacle, not only Tesla’s solar system. This is where Tesla’s powerwall comes in handy.


This is the same if it is too hot. Solar panels are not ideal for locations where it is constantly hot because solar panels decrease in efficiency and aren’t able to convert the power well. The ideal temperature conditions for a solar panel to work with are 77 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Anything higher, your solar panels may not produce as much energy.

Oddly enough, solar panels work best in colder temperatures and can work in conditions below freezing. Tesla claims their solar panels work at -40 degrees Fahrenheit! That’s pretty cool.

Tesla Solar Panel Wattage

Tesla’s solar panels used to have a wattage of 315W, but for the new year, they have said they increased their panels to 340W. How does this affect your solar panel system? The wattage basically means how much power your powerwall or house will receive from the individual solar panel and not the entire solar panel system.

Most solar panels being produced currently are anywhere between 150W to 370W. This shows that Tesla’s solar panels are on the higher end than most solar panels.

The wattage of your panel lets the installation company know how many solar panels will be required to supply your house. If the solar panel has less wattage, you may need more solar panels per square foot. For solar panels with more wattage, you will need fewer solar panels per square foot.

Solar panels with higher wattage are more useful for smaller roofs and spaces. And who doesn’t love having fewer solar panels taking up space?

Tesla Solar Panel System Prices

At first, Tesla wasn’t very appealing because the prices were quite steep compared to competitors. Thankfully, Tesla has revamped their whole business that they are now the cheapest option compared to other solar systems.

Payment Options

There are many ways you can pay for solar systems. These are your options:

  • Solar match guarantee
  • Pay outright
  • Payment plan
  • Tax credit

Not each option is a payment option, but it can help save you money and are perks to going with a Tesla solar panel system.

Solar Match Guarantee

This isn’t quite a payment option but more of something to help you find the best price. If you have been looking around, you can match other solar systems with Tesla. If their price is better and it is a similar system, Tesla will match their price.

When Tesla matches their price, you may not spend as much. You can also get the wonderful installation process that Tesla has to offer.

Pay Outright

If you have the money, you can pay for the installation and the solar system outright. You don’t have to make a payment plan, and it would save you money on interest as well.

Payment Plan

There are many options for financing, so you don’t have to pay outright. You don’t even have to put down a deposit. They give you the option to pay at different levels, whether you pay the loan in 10 years or 25 years. They have plenty of financial options.

Tax Credit

When you invest in solar power, you get quite the tax break the following year. This pays for part of the solar panel system and quite a chunk of it as well. Over the years, the tax credit can save you thousands of dollars.

Why Are Tesla Prices So Low?

Tesla has recently come out with even lower costs than most solar panel companies. How are they almost a third of the cost of their competitors? Well, it’s not because their product is less. Their products are great.

Tesla restructured the way they produce leads and gain customers. Instead of investing in ads, they have a great incentive program for their current customers for referrals. This allows them to cut their prices on their solar systems and make them more competitive in the solar panel market.

They have also reduced the number of employees needing to go out to homes and takedown measurements by using aerial specs or using information and pictures you have provided.

They also match prices, so this makes them more amiable to choose when looking at competitors.

Does Tesla Offer Discounts on Solar?

Tesla solar panels are already the lowest price solar panels on the market, but are there any other ways to save money when ordering?

In short, the only way to get a discount on Tesla solar panels is by using an existing Tesla owners “referral link” when ordering your Tesla solar panels.

Tesla has did this same “referral program” concept with it’s vehicles and essentially it allows new customers to get a discount on their purchase by using an existing customers personal referral link.

In regards to Tesla solar discounts, using a Tesla referral link when ordering will save you $300 off solar panels or $500 off solar roof.

The referral discounts are typically only available for a limited time before Tesla stops offering the discount, so take advantage of the savings while you can.

tesla solar panel discount

Who Manufactures Tesla Solar Panels?

Tesla uses a third party to manufacture its solar panels. Previously, they partnered with a pretty popular company, Panasonic. They parted ways after realizing production costs didn’t, and now Tesla uses a third party called Hanwha to manufacture their solar panels.

Many companies actually use third party companies to produce their panels because many solar panel designs are quite equal when it comes to efficiency. It’s really the warranty of the solar panels that Tesla and other companies have to offer rather than the solar panels themselves.

How Long Do Tesla Solar Panels Last?

There is no exact date on when a solar panel will last and when its efficiency will decline. Solar panel technology is still fairly new, and science is ever-changing. Because of all of this, it is really hard to tell when the technology may conk out on you. Good thing you have a 25-year warranty with Tesla solar panel system!

Estimated Decline of Efficiency

After several years, your solar panels’ efficiency does decline, but don’t fret! This is where the 25-year warranty comes in, and with Tesla, they will do the manual labor and replace the parts at no cost to you!

With the warranty, your solar panels will be replaced if their energy output decreases below 70% of the original output within those 25 years. Your powerwall updates Tesla constantly with power output and system information. This allows them and yourself to know when your solar panels aren’t working properly.

There is also a warranty on the solar inverter as well that will make sure your power output is still efficient. This warranty only lasts for ten years, but this is standard for many solar systems.

Average Solar Panel Life Expectancy

There isn’t a lot of data when it comes to life expectancy, especially since solar panels are changing and being updated as technology progresses forward. What has been seen so far is that solar panels often start to decline after 25 years. The average life expectancy is anywhere between 25 and 30 years.

Understanding this, we see why Tesla’s 25-year warranty is important. This shows that once the solar panels start to decline in their production of energy, Tesla will replace those solar panels at no cost to you.

What Makes Tesla Solar Panels Different?

Many solar panel systems are quite similar, but it’s what makes them different that people often choose one over the other. Some things that make Tesla solar panel stand out are the following:

  • Installation process
  • Design
  • Powerwall
  • Mobile App

These are all perks that Tesla has mastered compared to other leading solar panel systems.

Installation Process

With other companies, the installation process can be difficult and lengthy. Yes, it takes a little bit of time in general, but sometimes the installation process can be dragged out unnecessarily. Tesla has mastered the ease of installation.

When you sign up with Tesla for solar panels, you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to pick up a tool or do any of the installations. You don’t have to assemble anything. This is great, especially for those who aren’t handy or just want to sit back and watch your electric bill go down.

Tesla will gather aerial pictures of your home and figure out all the specs. If your home is new, don’t worry. All they need are a few pictures either from you, or they will send one of their representatives out to take pictures. With this information, they will install everything.

If for some reason, there is a snag in the installation process, often it is because the electric company has to approve the solar panel system. The great thing about Tesla for being well known is that they often already have worked with most electrical companies. This reduces the wait for you to get your system installed.


Although many solar systems have black designs, Tesla’s design is sleek and looks great on your roof. They understand that aesthetics is important as well as efficiency. No one wants bulky panels on their roof that neighbors find as an eyesore.

Tesla brags about its design. The panels are designed to have no grids, a low profile, and a concealed edge. This gives it a sleek design that doesn’t stand out.

This design also helps improve the efficiency of solar energy that is absorbed and converted into electrical energy.


Many solar systems provide some type of battery system to go with it unless you want just an on-the-grid system and don’t need to have a backup. The powerwall has the most advanced technology yet.

You can even use the powerwall without solar panels if you are intrigued by this device. It can be used with the grid to help lower your electric bill and provide power when there are blackouts in your area. The powerwall and the solar panels are not mandatory to be together but are most efficient when paired that way.

Can I Say “No” To The Powerwall?

Absolutely yes! You do not have to get the powerwall if you choose not to. The powerwall is great as a backup system when the power goes out or if you want to go off-grid. You can choose to stay on-grid and decide to just feed the extra electricity into the transformer near your house.

When your solar panels produce more energy than you are using, that energy will be put into the transformer near your house. Later, when you need more energy than the solar panels can provide, you will pull that energy from that transformer. This will still save you money with the electric company.

Think of it as you are putting extra money on your electric bill, and so it is giving you credit for the next bill. When you spend more money, first, the electric company will use your credit and then charge you whatever is left unpaid.

Mobile App

With its 24/7 monitoring system and smart application technology, you can use the powerwall to reduce your carbon footprint and make your home more efficient when using electricity.

You can see your energy use live to see what you are spending in real-time, or you can see your usage history from the moment the powerwall and system were turned on. This is all great to make you a smarter and efficient consumer.

The Tesla app is available for all phones, and you can even use it with your Tesla electric car (if you have one).

What to Look Forward with Tesla?

Tesla has shown throughout the years that they are willing to transform their companies in big ways and small ways to better themselves. This is great, especially if you want the best products. They aren’t just trying to advance their technology but their business models and how they interact with their customers.

Technological Advancements

Tesla is always trying to improve not only their solar panels but their system as a whole. As a company of technology, there is always room to grow. There are many areas where they are constantly trying to improve on and are trying new innovative ideas like their solar panel roof, their mobile app, and solar power for electric cars.

Tesla Solar Panel Roof

Tesla is trying to improve their solar panels not just in efficiency but in style. They are creating a new solar panel roof so that your entire roof is merely a solar panel system. This provides a more sleek design and doesn’t change the aesthetics of your house.

This can be a game-changer for solar panel manufacturing and create a new way to present solar panels. More people may be interested because of the change in style and for the fact that it will just look like their roof.

This is a great transition into renewable energy, especially if you need a new roof anyway. You might as well invest in something that will reduce your electric bill while installing and updating your roof!

Mobile App

Tesla is always updating how to monitor their solar systems. With their app, you can control your devices as well as better how you use your energy! You can change the modes on your Powerwall (which there are many for different uses) and see how to reduce your carbon footprint.

This gives you more control and allows you to have 24/7 access to your devices even when you aren’t at home. It also provides more access to Tesla’s support. They can help you through their application if you need them right away.

Solar Power for Electric Cars

Tesla has shown even more innovation in trying to bring solar power technology to their electric cars. This is a wonderful idea, although it may be a ways off. It shows that they are trying to move forward and being creative.

So why are these advancements important when choosing their technology now? Well, this shows that they are always trying to improve their technology and support applications. This is imperative to make sure their customers are always getting the best from their company.

It shows that Tesla sees their flaws and will thrive to better themselves. No one wants to settle for less than the best, and Tesla is trying to grow as a company as a whole and not just in one aspect.

Business Platforms

Since 2017, Tesla has been transforming their business platform for the better. In the beginning, their solar panels were quite expensive. So expensive that not many customers were investing with Tesla. They noticed this and decided to transform their business model in hopes of reducing their price and increase their customer base.

Instead of investing in ads and trying to market themselves, they have chosen to let their inexpensive but efficient solar panels speak for themselves. This has made them more marketable and competitive in the solar panel industry. And they have made quite the incentive program for referrals from customers to other customers.

Tesla Solar Panels Downfalls

There are a few downsides to buying a Tesla solar panel. They may not be as efficient as a few other solar system programs. The business platform has been changing over the years, so many customers that are not used to change don’t adapt to this.

A few reviews suggested that some customers had to wait for parts to be replaced or had trouble getting a hold of Tesla. But Tesla has addressed all of these issues. They have improved their solar panel systems and compatible technology over the years.

Although their solar panels are not the most efficient, with the combination of their smart Powerwall and other technology, they may be the better option. If you are set on other solar panel systems, then it may be better for you to go with them.

Their business platform has changed and made it easier for the company to communicate with customers as well as customers to communicate with the company. This is seen with their new mobile app. You can contact them 24/7 and get help promptly.

It is always best to complete your research when making such a large decision to weigh your pros and cons. Only you know what is the best fit for you and which solar systems will meet your requirements.

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The articles here on are created by Greg, a Tesla vehicle and Tesla solar expert with nearly half a decade of hands-on experience. The information on this site is fact-checked and tested in-person to ensure the best possible level of accuracy.

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