How to Get Tesla Solar with Zero Down

How to Get Tesla Solar with Zero Down

Solar energy used to be a concept of the future, but is now more present than ever. Adding solar energy to your home is easier than before with the Tesla solar roof tiles that can be added easily to most homes with little to no money down. The only issue many homeowners have is that these Tesla tiles can get expensive and finding budget friendly ways to switch to solar energy can be a struggle.

Homeowners that are interested in installing Tesla solar roofing for less money down have two potential options:

  • The Tesla Solar Rental Program, where you rent the tiles and service from Tesla themselves
  • Alternatively, homeowners can seek a loan to pay for Tesla Solar

Tesla has become synonymous with solar energy and a name that most homeowners trust. Of course, you will want to do deeper research into these two payment methods if you are interested in adding a solar roof to your home. Luckily, we have further broken down your options and which may work best for your needs.

The Tesla Solar Rental Program

While we will further discuss the loan programs from Tesla, the rental program is one that is a bit more unique and something that many have not heard of. This rental program was just introduced by Tesla in 2019 and has been a big hit with homeowners thus far.

This works similarly to most rental type agreements, Tesla installs the roof panels and still is in ownership of the equipment, but you pay a monthly rental fee to reap the benefits of the solar energy produced by the panels.

While this fits a similar pattern of renting equipment, what is different is that Tesla has made this process extremely simple. You are paying no upfront solar installation costs, there are not long-term commitments, and your monthly payments can be very low. Overall, for many homeowners with a stricter budget, this is a great option for getting clean energy resources in your home.

Why Did Tesla Create this Program?

Of course, when reading about this rental program it can be difficult to understand why Tesla would create a rental plan. The main issue is that there has been a slow decline in solar roofing from the company due to an increased focus in other areas. However, the company wants to increase their solar roofing business while still focusing on their advancing solar vehicles and other ventures.

Essentially, this is a mutually beneficial program for both the company and the renter. It has made solar energy more accessible and increased solar roofing sales for the company.

How Exactly Does the Rental Program Work?

In the past, you had only two options of purchasing a solar roof which was to buy it outright or get a loan. This rental program makes it simpler for you to get the roof you want by making simple monthly payments. This leads into what most are thinking, which is how much does this rental program cost?

Essentially, most renters will pay a range of pricing depending on how much solar energy they need for their home. If you have a smaller home, you will pay less. A breakdown of this is:

  • Small – Receive a 3.8 kilowatt installation for your home for only $50 per month.
  • Medium – Receive a 7.6 kilowatt installation for your home for $100 per month.
  • Large – Receive a 11.4 kilowatt installation for $150 a month for your home.

It is important to note that these prices may change depending on your location, which we will further discuss. However, this is a very close representation of what you will pay monthly for your system depending on the size of the system you need. If you are unsure of what size your home would need, you can contact Tesla directly to learn more about your specific solar roof.

It is important to remember that when you have your rented roof installed by Tesla, you will pay no costs upfront!

Who Can Get This Program?

At this time, the Tesla rental program is not available in the entire United States, but only in six states. This is expected to change over time, but has yet to be extended. If you live in one of the states where it is not offered, you should check for updates regularly to see if your state has been added.

Currently, those living in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New Mexico can receive this rental program for their homes.

At this time, most of the states follow this $50, $100, and $150 price range that we mentioned above. You can also receive an even larger system for $200 a month, which will be for very large homes. However, California is a bit more expensive, following this rental rate:

  • Small Monthly Rate – $65
  • Medium Monthly Rate – $130
  • Large Monthly Rate – $195
  • Extra Large Monthly Rate – $260

Electricity costs in California are often larger than the other covered states, still making this a good deal for the rental program and still saves many homeowners money each month comparative to their utility bills. Also, the average home in the US falls into the medium sized installation of 7.5 kW.

Starting Your Subscription Plan

Of course, you must contact Tesla directly to begin this solar subscription process and get your new solar roof installed. However, when you subscribe to this program, you will pay a monthly rate for the panel system they install in your home. This allows you to begin receiving solar energy quickly and easily, without paying the full cost of a system, which can be very pricey.

To start this process, you will follow these steps:

  • Go to the Tesla website and visit their Design Studio.
  • Here you will enter your address and monthly utility bill. This will help them find a solar power system that fits your needs. They can assess the amount of energy you use each month and compare this to the amount of sunlight your region receives.
  • At this point, you can also compare your suggested plan with the various solar panel sizes available from Tesla. You can even see an estimated 25 year savings breakdown that shows how much you can save over time.
  • The overall monthly subscription rate provided will fall into one of the four sizes available from small to extra large, mentioned previously.
  • The costs shown will represent everything you need to have your solar energy system installed, maintained, and any hardware required.

One thing that is interesting about these roofing systems is that Tesla aims to keep all rental prices under what the average utility bill would be in the area. This means you are practically guaranteed to save money with your solar roof.

How do You Pay?

You never pay for your solar roof from Tesla until it is installed and powered on. Once your system is on your home and working, your subscription payments will begin. Each month, the payment will be processed on the date your system was activated.

There is a way to enlist in automatic payments on the Tesla website, which means the money will come out each month from your provided bank account. This can be done both residentially or commercially, should you chose to add a solar system to your company. There are additional ways to change your payment options later on through the site.

Can You Cancel this Subscription?

When Tesla first introduced this subscription process for renting solar roofing, they had a cancellation fee in place. However, there is currently no cost for cancelling your subscription! This means that you have no contract to keep the solar rental, no minimum time you must keep the program, and you can feel free to cancel it as you see fit.

If you have a period of time where you cannot pay these costs but may want to restart the rental later on, you can leave the panels in place for later use. If you are hoping to cancel the rental program and have the equipment removed, Tesla will remove these panels for a fee. They will work with you to find a time for this.

Can you Purchase the System?

Many fall in love with getting this clean energy but do not love paying the monthly payment for this system. If you find that you really enjoy your solar energy and want to own the panels yourself, this is a possibility. After five years of being in place, Tesla offers their renters the choice of purchasing their roofing panels.

You will have to work with Tesla directly to discuss how much purchasing the equipment would be after this five-year mark. Of course, if you wish to continue your rental process and do not want to purchase, this is available as well.

Commonly Asked Questions

Of course, this sounds great for those who want to add solar energy but do not have the money to pay large down payments or buy the system directly. However, there are probably some questions you still have in mind about this process and making it work for you. Some common questions and answers about this rental process are:

  • Can You Make Changes to Your Plan? – If you enroll in a smaller plan and later need more panels, this can easily be added to your plan. The ability to upsize your system at any time can be completed on the Tesla website. Unfortunately, they do not offer downsizing at this time.
  • What If You Sell Your Home? – If you sell your home and move during your rental, you can transfer the agreement to the new homeowner if desired. If the new homeowner does not wish to take on this rental, you can have the system removed by Tesla. You will want to cancel your contract and pay the removal fee.
  • Can You Add Powerwall? – If you are familiar with Tesla, you may know that their Powerwall batteries are a great way to harvest solar energy for future use. These are not added to the program initially, but you can buy a Powerwall separately and use it with your rental equipment. You will have to buy this battery outright.

Will You Save Money?

Tesla has worked to keep rental prices lower than the traditional energy costs of the areas they offer these programs. For example, if you need a small size rental, you will only pay $50 a month. Often, this is far lower than what your electricity bill for the month would cost.

However, there are a lot of factors that come into play when it comes to how much you will save with your rental. Some things to keep in mind are:

  • The price you pay for electricity is higher in some areas than others. For example, those living in California may save more since the costs of electricity here are higher. Those in the Southeast will often save more than those in the Northeast.
  • Areas with more sun may save more money! If you live in an area that is often sunnier, you are going to have more energy produced by your panels and this can save you even more money. Those living in darker areas may not produce as much energy and it can hinder overall savings.
  • Compare your average monthly utility costs to the rental plan costs to further see how much you will save. If these percentages are not large enough for your benefit, you may want to opt out. However, if there is a large savings percentage, it will essentially pay for itself.
  • You will need to pay for electricity for your home regardless, so these rentals often make sense. It is also important to remember that nothing is keeping you in this rental, as there are no time-based contracts. If you decide that you are not saving as much as you had hoped, you can cancel it at any time.

Purchase the Solar Roof with a Loan

The second option that you have for getting a Tesla roof with no money down is to take out a loan for your new roof. By getting a loan, you can have your system created and installed with no costs upfront and still keep lower monthly payments. Of course, this style of financing can rely very heavily on your credit.

A loan will allow you to begin getting clean energy in a way that is more affordable than purchasing the product outright. This is a great investment for your home but does come with a few issues if you do not have a high credit number. If your credit is struggling, renting the system may be a better option but those with better credit often prefer getting a loan.

Some things to keep in mind when it comes to your loan from Tesla for a solar roof are:

  • The loan is one of the most affordable ways to get clean energy and actually own your system. Unlike renting, once the system is paid off, you own it.
  • Most of the time, your loan payment will be lower than your actual electricity costs. This means it will essentially pay for itself after some time.
  • Once you pay off your loan, you own the system and will continue to reap its benefits. At this point, the system is only saving you money. The electricity produced at this point will be completely free!
  • The long-term value is huge with these systems. Not only do you continue to save, but it increases the value of your home. If you do ever decide to sell your home, it can be priced higher due to the solar roofing.
  • There are not any prepayment penalties. This means that you can pay off the loan early if this is a possibility for you. This can lower any interests costs and give you ownership of your system sooner.

How Do the Payments Work?

The loan process is relatively simple through Tesla, but you will need to work with the company directly to learn more. The first invoice for your loan will begin about a month after the installation process. You will then pay each month for the solar roof, depending on the monthly payments laid out by your loan.

The main difference between getting a loan for your solar roof versus buying it outright is that some interest can be added. For many, this does not overshadow the benefit of having practically no upfront costs for your installation. On the other hand, you will pay a final payment that is slightly higher than if you were to purchase it outright from the start.

Renting Versus Getting a Loan

There are many benefits to taking out a loan for your payment compared to renting the system. The biggest reason that many do the loan process compared to renting is because they are able to own the system upon completion of paying the loan off. Some things to keep in mind when it comes to which option you chose are:

  • The Monthly Costs – If you want to pay the loan off quickly as in five or ten years, it can be a bit more costly each month than if you rent the system. However, you can also choose to pay the loan off over a more extended period of time, lowering these monthly costs. Overall, consider what your budget can afford, and which style of payment works best for your home.
  • Loans May Not Save Money Initially – The loan process means that you may pay more each month initially, which can mean that you do not save as much on your electric costs. However, once you pay off the loan it will be practically free energy created. If your loan payment is anywhere near your usual electrical costs, it is often worth the payment.
  • Consider the Time You Will be In Your Home – If you are in your forever home or believe that you will live in the home for ten plus years, loans are a great choice. You will often still be in the home when your loan is paid off and can enjoy your solar roofing. However, if you are in a home that is more temporary, rentals make more sense.
  • Where You Live Comes Into Play – The rental program from Tesla is not offered in every state and this can make it impossible for you to choose this option. If you live in a state that does not offer the rental program but does offer solar roofing, loans are a great choice.

Why Purchasing with Cash is the Best Option?

While it can be the most difficult to purchase the solar roofing system outright, this is the best option for saving money in the long run. The problem here is that you have to have the full amount to do this. However, when it comes to the Tesla systems, you will get the most for your money by purchasing it completely.

When you purchase the system outright, you will get it for the lowest price as there will be no added interest or payments. You will also own it from day one, which means that you will begin receiving free energy from day one. If you have the money, this is the best way to get your clean energy for the lowest price possible.

Ordering Tesla Solar? Save $300+ instantly by using a Tesla referral link.

Consider the Incentives

A final thing that stands out as a benefit for both buying outright or getting a loan for your solar panels from Tesla is the Federal Tax Credit. This Federal Tax Credit is not offered to those who are renting the system, which can be a bit of a disappointment for those opting to do this style of purchase. If you are unfamiliar with the Federal Tax Credit, this is:

  • Any solar systems installed in 2020 or 2021 will be eligible for a tax credit.
  • This has dropped over the years and has yet to be renewed for 2022.
  • This tax credit is 26% for 2020 and 22% for systems installed in 2021.
  • There is currently no maximum amount that can be claimed at this time.

If you are interested in receiving this tax credit for your solar power system, any tax professional should be able to assist with this. In order to receive it, you must have purchased the system through directly paying for it or a loan. You should also ask about any local incentives that may be offered as well since many states have begun offering incentives for clean energy.

Does Tesla Offer Discounts on Solar?

Tesla solar is already the lowest cost-per-watt solar 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 products is by using an existing Tesla owners “referral link” when ordering.

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

How Much Can You Save with Tesla Solar Roofs?

Of course, before you make your final decision on how to purchase your roof, you may want to consider how much you will actually save. Many choose to switch to these clean energy sources because they are more environmentally friendly. This can not only improve your overall carbon footprint but is more beneficial to the world as a whole.

However, aside from being more morally sound, these systems can save you some serious cash. Tesla has recently increased their solar tiles, making them larger and more efficient. This means that you can produce some serious energy with these tiles and save thousands each year.

In addition to making their roofing systems bigger and better over time, they have actually made them a lot cheaper as well. Your initial costs for purchasing and installing these systems will be lower than years past and is very comparative to normal roofing costs. Essentially, this means that you will be able to get your solar roofing at a very affordable price, leading to increased energy profits.

For most homeowners, the solar energy systems installed in their homes will pay for themselves in about ten years. This means that the energy costs saved will begin to surpass the installation fees. This essentially means that your energy is going to be free.

When it comes to Tesla systems, they have an unmatched 25 year warranty! Your energy will be paying for itself long before you should expect the systems to get damaged or break down. You will be certain that you are getting clean, reliable energy for years.

Save Money with Clean Energy for No Money Down

If you want to begin saving money and the environment with a quality solar energy system from Tesla, but do not have the funds to pay for the system outright, you have options. For those with better credit, a great choice is to get a loan for the system, which means you will own it upon completing the payments.

However, in some states, Tesla now offers a rental program that allows you to have a no obligation solar power roof installed for low monthly payments that can be cancelled anytime and can still save you money on your energy costs.

Still, the best option overall, if you have the funds, is just to purchase it outright! By doing so, you will have free power for your entire house from day one—something that will pay for itself over time.

Solar Discounts:


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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