Tesla is steadily becoming the leader in the solar industry by offering the best solar panel technology at the lowest cost. However, there is often confusion around the process of ordering and installing Tesla solar panels on your home.
Tesla manufactures the solar panels, allows you to order them on their website, but Tesla does not always install the solar panels themselves. In some cases, Tesla hires out the physical installation to a local “authorized installer”. These authorized installers are typically a local roofing company, or a local solar company.
Could you order your Tesla solar from the local roofing company instead of Tesla? Would that be cheaper than ordering from Tesla’s website?
Read on to find out more about ordering Tesla solar from Tesla’s website vs an authorized installer.
Do You Have to Order Tesla Solar From Tesla?
No, technically you can order Tesla solar through your local authorized installer without ever involving Tesla, however you should expect to pay substantially more for the same product.
Although Tesla may hire out the physical installation of your solar, placing your order through Tesla’s website directly is going to give you the lowest price anywhere.
I recently called my local authorized Tesla solar installer to ask them several questions about this process, and actually learned quite a bit.
Some of the things I learned were:
- Is it cheaper to order Tesla solar from Tesla’s website or your local authorized installer?
- Can you get Tesla solar panels faster by ordering from your local authorized installer?
Is It Cheaper to Order Tesla Solar From Your Local Authorized Installer?
Tesla’s website allows you to enter your home address and receive an instant quote for adding solar to your home.
I went ahead and created a quote on both Tesla’s website and the local authorized installers website to compare prices.
Tesla quoted $20,160 for a 9.60kW solar panel system without a Powerwall. After the 26% Federal Tax Credit, the total price was $14,918.
Tesla’s quote comes out to $1.55 per watt.
Additionally, Tesla offer’s $300 off any solar panel order, bringing the cost per watt down to $1.53 per watt.
Local Authorized Installer
The local authorized installer quoted $22,953 for a 10kW solar panel system without a Powerwall. After the 26% Federal Tax Credit, the total price was $16,985.
The local authorized installer’s quote comes out to $1.70 per watt.
The local authorized installer requires that you pay $226.5 for “Deck Fastening” and $226.5 for “Wall Flashing”. However, when removing these two additional costs to get a closer side-by-side solar panel cost comparison at just the cost per watt, the local authorized installer is still charging $1.67 per watt.
When it comes to price, ordering solar panels directly from Tesla’s website is the cheapest option. Ordering from Tesla will cost roughly $1.53 per watt vs $1.70 per watt when ordering from a local authorized installer.
What About the Cost of Tesla Powerwalls?
The cost of Tesla solar panels are one thing, but Tesla also offers Powerwall that you can purchase as well.
These are essentially backup battery banks that get installed in your garage during (or after) the solar panel installation. They allow you to charge them up during the day, via your solar panels, and use the energy during the night after the sun has set and your solar panels are no longer collecting sun light.
Powerwalls are also great for power outages because you can switch to your Powerwall’s stored energy to power your home for several days.
Tesla Powerwalls can be purchased and installed during or after the solar panel installation, and their cost depends on how many you order.
So, is it cheaper to buy a Powerwall from Tesla or a local authorized installer?
Tesla charges $10,500 for your first Powerwall, and $6,500 per additional Powerwall.
The local authorized installer charges $12,500 for the first Powerwall, and $10,000 per additional Powerwall.
When it comes to price, ordering a Powerwall directly from Tesla’s website is the cheapest option. Ordering from Tesla will cost $10,500 for the first and $6,500 for the second vs $12,500 for the first $10,000 for the second when ordering from a local authorized installer.
Can You Get Tesla Solar Panels Faster by Ordering From Your Local Authorized Installer?
Tesla’s solar panel technology is superior to it’s competitors, but Tesla is not known for its customer service.
The initial quote and ordering process is fantastic on Tesla’s website. With a fully refundable $250 deposit to start the order process, what’s not to love?
However the period between the initial deposit and the physical installation has mixed reviews. There are rumors of several months wait time until installation and long periods of time without any communication.
So, is it faster to order from your local authorized installer?
Tesla estimates 1 week to 6 months from order to install.
The local authorized installer estimates 4 months from order to install.
This appears to be one of the comparison metrics that’s not so easy to compare. It will likely be specific to your order.
When it comes to install time, it’s going to depend on your region. Tesla seems to have better odds of installing faster because they estimate installation as soon as one week after ordering. Whereas the local authorized installer estimated at least 4 months to get on the schedule for installation.
Does Tesla Offer Any 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.
When comparing Tesla solar panel price, Powerwall price, and install time, it’s clear that ordering from Tesla’s website makes the most sense.
It’s cheaper, faster, and you can use the $300 off solar panels offer by ordering directly from Tesla’s website.
Tesla has made a name for themselves in the auto industry, and it appears they are using the same strategy to break into the solar panel industry as well.
Disclaimer: The quotes used in this article were real quotes, however they represent pricing in my region. When receiving quotes from your local authorized installer, pricing may vary.