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Cost of a Tesla Solar Roof vs Solar Panels. Tesla solar roof warranty

Cost of a Tesla Solar Roof vs Solar Panels. Tesla solar roof warranty

    Tesla Solar Roof Review: 2021 Pros Cons

    Tesla’s sleek, eye-catching Solar Roof looks amazing and will make you the envy of your block. You’ll have to pay more for a full roof replacement—not to mention the premium for the Tesla brand name. Those costs eat into the value of your investment into solar. But if you don’t mind ponying up, Tesla backs its new product with a generous 30-year warranty.

    Tesla’s Solar Roof is finally making its way to consumer homes. Ever since the product reveal nearly two years ago, people regularly ask us whether the Solar Roof is a sensible way to go solar.

    We decided to weigh the pros and cons of Tesla’s latest offering to see whether it lives up to the hype.

    Production of the Tesla Solar Roof has been limited, and are still sky-high to capitalize on new release hype. We love the design, but we need to see a steep price drop – and proof the product is reliable – before recommending it as a sound investment for the average residential consumer.

    The Basics

    What makes the Solar Roof unique? In a conventional setup, solar panels are housed in a dedicated module, which is then attached to a roof or installed elsewhere on your property. In contrast, Tesla’s Solar Roof is a rooftop with solar panels embedded directly into the shingles.

    The solar array isn’t a separate unit installed on top of your roof – rather, it is your roof.

    Each shingle is a discrete solar panel. A percentage of the panels are solar-enabled, while the rest are “decoy panels.” The non-enabled panels look the same to maintain a uniform aesthetic. Customers can determine what percentage of panels they need to enable them to meet their energy needs.

    Are You on the List?

    Tesla loves to build hype around their products long before they hit the market, and the Solar Roof is no different. After announcing the concept in October 2016, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tested the first trial installation in his home in Q2 2017. (Isn’t it nice to be the boss?)

    The publicity generated intense interest from consumers, who rushed to sign up on the waitlist for residential installations. It took less than three weeks after sign-ups opened for Tesla to sell out their stock through the end of 2018.

    Now, we’re getting our first look at what a completed installation looks like in a residential setting. YouTube channel E For Electric tracked down Tri Huynh, one of the earliest adopters of the Tesla Solar Roof, to speak with him about the installation process.

    Huynh applied to install a Solar Roof for his home as soon as the announcement was made. He said it took well over a year for Tesla to contact him to conduct a site survey. After screening his eligibility, Tesla warned it would be another year for production to finish before proceeding with the installation.

    Huynh didn’t mind the wait. His home already needed a new roof, and as an early adopter of new technology, he was willing to hold out until the Solar Roof hit the market. He put down the 1000 deposit to hold his place in line.

    Tesla finally met with Huynh for a site survey early this year. Two solar techs spent a day evaluating his property, even flying a drone above his house to take aerial pictures.

    Shortly after that, Tesla deployed a team of 20 workers to perform the install. It took about two weeks to complete, although rain added delays to the process.

    The size of the workforce and install time both seem excessive to us. But the Solar Roof is a new product, and Tesla wants to get it right. We expect that process to be streamlined as they work out the kinks.

    Evaluating the Pros and Cons of the Tesla Solar Roof

    Tesla is a company with a certain mystique about them – people get super excited about every announcement they make. So it comes as no surprise that people constantly ask us what we think about the new Solar Roof.

    We wanted to take a deep dive into what we know about the Solar Roof to help you determine whether it’s a viable option for your needs.

    First, a quick summary of the pros and cons:


    • WOW FACTOR. It’s gorgeous – no blocky solar panels jutting out from your roof.
    • DURABILITY. Solar Roof panels received the highest possible hail, wind and fire resistance ratings.
    • WARRANTY. The 30-year warranty goes beyond the industry standard. There’s also a lifetime tile warranty to cover physical damage.
    • EARLY ADOPTION. Who doesn’t love to be the first to get their hands on new tech?


    • EXPENSIVE. The Solar Roof costs about 4 times as much as a DIY solar installation. You pay a steep premium for the Tesla brand.
    • THE WAITING GAME. The first residential customers spent over a year on the waitlist before their Solar Roof was installed.
    • UNRELIABLE. discrete parts means more chances for hardware to fail. Past iterations of the solar shingle design were notoriously high-maintenance.
    • POOR ROI. Paying more for Tesla-branded eats into your investment.


    Slick Design

    First and foremost, the Solar Roof looks amazing.

    It’s designed to be indistinguishable from a roof built out of traditional materials. Looking at pictures of the Solar Roof, I wouldn’t have guessed there were solar panels built into this rooftop unless you pointed it out.

    Tesla will offer 4 different tile designs to match the style of your home. The panels come in textured, smooth glass, Tuscan, and slate designs, which rival the appeal of their asphalt counterparts.


    Tesla claims the Solar Roof tiles are three times stronger than traditional roof tiles. This claim is backed by standards tests conducted by ANSI, ASTM, and UL, which conduct standards tests for (respectively) hail, wind, and fire resistance. Tesla’s tiles received the highest possible marks in all three categories.

    The Envy Factor

    This is the hardest to quantify, but it can also be the strongest motivator for people willing to make a huge investment into an exciting new product like this.

    Before the price drops and the product becomes more widely available, it’s an awesome feeling to be part of the exclusive club that has access to cutting-edge technology before anyone else. Think of the first time you saw someone flying a drone – or driving a Tesla car on the street, for that matter. It evokes a natural sense of awe and curiosity.

    The Solar Roof is no different. Huynh said that his neighbors regularly stopped by to chat during the installation, and most couldn’t resist lingering to ask questions about the newest Tesla product.

    People are naturally drawn to innovation, and early adopters get a rush from riding the first wave of new technology.

    (Mostly) Generous Warranty

    The Solar Roof is covered under a 30-year warranty for power and weatherization. The power warranty covers the output capability of the solar arrays. The weather warranty protects against failure as a result of water damage or other weather effects.

    30 years eclipses the standard coverage for most solar arrays on the market, which typically offer a 25-year warranty. The extra 5 years may be a selling point to counteract the hesitation early adopters have when investing in an unknown product. With no established track record, there’s no guarantee the product life won’t be shortened by a major design flaw down the road. The 30-year warranty may help alleviate those fears.

    Tesla also offers a lifetime tile warranty, which covers physical damage to the glass in the tiles. If one of the glass panels ever breaks, even after the 30-year period, it will be covered under the lifetime warranty.

    However, this doesn’t quite tell the whole story. Most traditional solar panels come with a 25-year power warranty and a 10-year workmanship warranty. If your array breaks down due to product defects, you’re covered for 10 years.

    It’s not clear whether Tesla’s warranty covers the same ground:

    Our tile warranty covers the glass in the tiles. The power warranty covers the output capability of the solar tiles. Weatherization means that there will be no water leaks or other weather intrusions during the warranty period that result from our installation.-Warranty info from the Solar Roof product page

    There’s no mention of a workmanship warranty, except as it relates to weather intrusions. So if your system fails due to faulty wiring, bad connectors, or a broken junction box, you might end up paying for it out of

    Tesla’s warranty is longer than the industry standard, but the extent of coverage may leave something desired.


    There’s no doubt the Solar Roof is an innovative product. There’s nothing on the market that competes with it right now. That said, a handful of prohibitive factors would stop us from recommending it to a majority of hopeful buyers.

    Steep Up-Front Cost

    Let’s get The Big One out of the way: it needs to replace your existing roof for the Solar Roof to be financially viable. And even then, building a traditional roof with a dedicated solar array is a more efficient investment.

    When Consumer Reports ran the numbers on the cost to install a Solar Roof, they estimated a typical installation might set you back 73,500 for a 3,000-square-foot roof.

    Compare that to our discrete solar modules. A package for the same sized home might run one-third to one-quarter of that cost to install on your rooftop, depending on the energy output.

    Even if you paid for a brand-new roof and then built a solar array on top of it, you’d come out spending much less. EnergySage estimated a 33% price premium on the Solar Roof compared to building a traditional asphalt roof solar array.

    As you can see, the majority of the installation cost of the Solar Roof comes doesn’t come from adding a solar array. It comes from building an entirely new roof, which is a much steeper investment. And Tesla hopes to upsell you on roofing costs based on their strong brand capital.

    Low Return on Investment

    But let’s say the stars align. You’re in the market for a brand new roof, and you’re looking to go solar as well.

    The Consumer Reports analysis couldn’t conclusively state it would be a good investment even under these ideal circumstances.

    For a two-story home in Texas, where the A/C might run 300 days a year, the 73,400 in tax credits and energy savings fall short of the 86,100 cost to install the Solar Roof. In that scenario, the homeowner would find themselves 12,700 in the hole. Even with substantial energy savings, they would actually lose money over the life of the warranty.

    Things look slightly brighter for a small ranch-style home in sunny California, where energy costs are sky-high. Consumer Reports estimated a 56,800 Solar Roof might earn the owner 41,800 in net savings over the system’s life.

    That’s not bad, but it’s still a far cry from a traditional PV system, which can pay for itself 2-3 times over during the life of the warranty.

    The premium you pay for Tesla-branded roofing materials eats into most, if not all, of the money you save from reduced energy bills. The end result is that it takes ideal circumstances to break even on the investment.

    One of the main selling points for solar is its viability as a long-term investment. It’s not uncommon to see a 200-300% return on investment from a traditional solar array.

    Since the install cost is substantially lower, the average payoff period is much shorter. Investing in a traditional solar array can net you a healthy profit in the long run.

    With the Solar Roof, Tesla aims to upsell a product you don’t need (a new roof), eating away at the value of your investment into solar energy.

    In terms of the time value of money, it’s crazy to invest 70,000 for 30 years to see little to no return. There are better ways to put your money to work for you.


    Even if you need a new roof, we’re operating under the assumption that the installation will even be available to you. As it stands, you’ll need the leeway to plan the installation far in advance, as people have already been on the waitlist for the Solar Roof for over a year.

    If you’ve already decided you need to replace an old roof, you may not have time to wait to get started. The need to replace leaks or structural damage is likely too urgent for you to hold out on the waitlist.

    Similar problems arise with the construction of a new home. If you’re working with a contractor, your build is probably on a strict timeline. Holding out for the go-ahead from Tesla might not work with permitting, your contractor’s schedule, or your own target move dates. After all, you can’t move into a house with no roof because you’re waiting for Tesla to call you back.

    As production of the Solar Roof ramps up, we expect the waitlist to clear, at which point these problems will disappear. For now, Tesla needs to clear through its backlog of eager customers, which may throw a wrench in your plans.

    Untested Technology

    We touched on this a bit in the warranty section. New technology always comes with unanticipated problems and surprises. The first version of a product never works as well as its successors. It always takes a few iterations of new technology to come out with a stable and reliable product.

    The 30-year warranty does a bit to assuage these fears – if something breaks, you’ll be covered. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a hassle when things break. Failures mean calls with support, appointments with technicians, and warranty paperwork to fill out. It may not cost you money, but it still adds stress and takes time out of your life.

    Tesla designs great products, but every new product has some kinks to work out. A solution from a more established product line is bound to work more consistently and require less upkeep on your end.

    Extra Maintenance

    In addition to the stability of first-generation technology, we have concerns that the design of the Solar Roof itself could lead to extra maintenance.

    Each shingle is a self-contained solar panel. That means that there are hundreds of individual panels that make up your solar array. And more parts equals more opportunities for an individual part of the system to break down.

    The best-case scenario is that each part functions independently, allowing it to be replaced without affecting how the rest of your Solar Roof functions. At worst, if the parts are inter-connected, one panel going out may put a damper on the energy generation capabilities of the entire array.

    There’s a precedent for these concerns. The Solar Roof is a new take on existing technology known as Building Integrated PV (BIPV). There’s a reason BIPV products fell off the market: the product was unreliable, difficult to install, and more expensive than traditional solar panels. As Green Tech Media noted, “BIPV frequently amounts to paying a premium for less of a return. That math has already killed a long line of companies.”

    Until Tesla’s new product eclipses the performance of its predecessor, we see no reason why the Solar Roof won’t suffer from the same problems that doomed BIPV.

    Contractor Woes

    Since the Solar Roof is a new product, finding a contractor capable of performing the install will be challenging. Tesla is notoriously picky with who they vet to perform their labor. Even if the Solar Roof is available in your region, there’s still the additional hurdle of securing a qualified installer.

    There’s another major complication with the installation process. The people who install the roof are different than the people who do the electrical work. Roofers typically aren’t electricians and vice versa. Installing the Solar Roof will require the coordination of multiple specialized contractors.

    In the past, we’ve had customers tell us they ditched Tesla over frustrations with the long waiting period and lack of available contractors to perform the install. Not only are traditional solar panels a more sound investment, navigating the installation process is more manageable than tracking down a team of Tesla-certified installers.

    The Final Verdict: Should You Buy a Tesla Solar Roof?

    The Tesla Solar Roof is a gorgeous product with a prohibitively high cost to install. Right now, it’s largely a premium solution for early adopters who don’t mind paying more to access cutting-edge technology in high demand. Anyone who invests in the Solar Roof should also be willing to contend with more frequent maintenance than a traditional solar array might require.

    Lastly, you should be willing to wait for production to catch up to demand. Just know that you’ll be running on Tesla’s schedule, and they’re a lot better about generating hype around new products than meeting production deadlines.

    Consider the Tesla Solar Roof if:

    • You have the financial means to make a substantial investment into a new roof
    • You like to get your hands on cutting-edge technology and don’t mind joining the waitlist
    • You don’t mind performing more regular maintenance on your solar panels
    • You live in a populated region with access to Tesla-certified installers

    Go with a traditional solar array if:

    • You want to maximize your return on investment
    • You want the most efficient product for your money
    • Your purchase is time-sensitive
    • You’re willing to sacrifice aesthetics in exchange for functionality
    • You want a stable, market-tested product

    Cost of a Tesla Solar Roof vs Solar Panels

    There’s no question that the Tesla Solar Roof is among the best looking rooftop solar systems on the market. When it was unveiled in 2016, there seemed to be a collective sense of “Wow, this is what the future of solar looks like.”

    But it appears that future is still a ways off. In 2019, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that he was hoping to manufacture “~1,000 solar roofs/week by the end of this year.” But in the second quarter of 2022, Tesla was deploying about 23 roofs per week.

    Much of the slow adoption is due to cost. The Solar Roof was expensive to begin with and the price has been moving in the wrong direction since hitting the market.

    So how much does a Tesla Solar Roof cost? In this article, we’ll compare the cost of a Tesla Solar Roof versus the cost of a rooftop solar panels to give you a better sense of your options for going solar.

    How much does a Tesla Solar Roof cost?

    The cost of a Tesla Solar Roof has always been somewhat of a moving target. It’s typically around 6 per watt before the solar tax credit is applied, but can vary quite a bit depending on roof, system size, and year.

    Tesla recently removed instant quotes from its solar savings calculator, but we crunched the numbers on a Solar Roof sold in 2020 to see what it would look like today.

    In 2020, LinkedIn engineer Robby Valles posted his solar contract on showing a gross cost of 34,067 for a 7.37 kW system, including removal of his existing roofing material. That boils down to 4.62 per watt, which is not an astronomical price, but it’s definitely more expensive than a traditional solar panel system.

    But the cost of the Tesla Solar Roof has since gotten more… interesting. First, Tesla introduced a “roof complexity” variable that increased the cost of Solar Roof projects by 30% to 150%. It even sent emails to customers who had already signed Solar Roof contracts asking them to sign a new agreement for a higher price or cancel their order, leading to lawsuits. Recently, it made purchasing a Powerwall battery a requirement to buying a Solar Roof, adding at least 10,500 per battery to each project.

    A minimum 30% roof complexity price increase brings Valles’ gross cost to 44,287. With the mandatory Powerwall, Valles’ Solar Roof system would cost at minimum 54,787 today, before claiming the 30% federal solar tax credit.

    Let’s see how that compares to a traditional solar panel system.

    At least one Powerwall is required for each Solar Roof project.

    Tesla Solar Roof vs solar panels

    Alright, let’s say Valles chose the solar panels route instead. How much would his project cost?

    According to Wood Mackenzie, the average cost of an 8 kW residential solar system is expected to dip below 3 per watt in 2023. But to be conservative, let’s call it 3.25 per watt.

    If Valles’ roof was in good shape, the gross cost of his 7.37 kW system would be 23,942. With a full 9,500 asphalt shingle re-roof, the cost rises to 33,443 and he’s still paying ~11,000 less for solar panels than a Solar Roof.

    And, by going the traditional route, Valles isn’t obligated to buy a Powerwall. However, battery storage can be very beneficial, especially once NEM 3.0 hits California, so let’s include it anyway.

    Tesla Solar Roof vs solar panels cost

    Tesla Solar Roof Rooftop Solar Panels
    Solar system only 44,287 23,942
    Solar with re-roof 44,287 33,442
    Solar with re-roof and Powerwall 54,787 43,942
    30% solar tax credit -16,436 -10,332 (does not include re-roof)
    Net cost (solar, re-roof, Powerwall) 38,351 33,610
    Net cost, solar only N/A 16,759

    Bold = Minimum gross project cost. Figures for example use only and do not represent a binding quote.

    Even with a full re-roof and a Powerwall, Valles could save nearly 5,000 by going with traditional solar panels. If his roof was in good shape and he didn’t want a battery (which he didn’t get with his Solar Roof in 2020) he could save over 21,500 by going the traditional solar route.

    It’s important to note that the solar tax credit does not apply to traditional roofing work, but does apply to the Solar Roof since the roof itself is considered solar equipment, which helps even out the cost of a Tesla Solar Roof.

    Is a Tesla Solar Roof worth it?

    Whether a Tesla Solar Roof is worth the extra cost depends on your home, energy goals, and financial situation. At the end of the day, the Solar Roof is a luxury product and an emerging technology, which comes at a premium.

    But keep in mind, if you’re in for a penny, you’re in for a pound. The Solar Roof requires at least one 10,500 Powerwall and the price of the solar system varies widely based on the complexity of your roof.

    There’s also something to be said about the Solar Roof’s brief and rather erratic track record. Following the price increases (and ensuing lawsuits) in 2021, Tesla delayed and paused Solar Roof installations several times in 2022 due to supply chain issues. In some cases, customers were left with waterproof film protecting their roof for several months.

    For some homeowners, have a sexy roof and being on the cutting edge of technology is worth the extra cost and risk of buying a Solar Roof — and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, homeowners looking for a more practical approach to reducing their energy costs and carbon footprint are better served by solar panels.

    cost, tesla, solar, roof

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How much does a Tesla Solar Roof cost?

    The cost of a Tesla Solar Roof is typically around 6 per watt, but varies based on your energy consumption, roof, and location. Roof complexity (panes, pitch, and obstructions) can substantially affect the cost of a Solar Roof project.

    How long does a Tesla Solar Roof last?

    Tesla Solar Roofs have a 25year product warranty for defects in design and materials. It also has a 20-year module warranty that guarantees the output capacity will decline by no more than 0.5% per year.

    Does Tesla Solar Roof increase home value?

    Going solar in general can increase the property value of a home. The exact figure varies by location and datsource. In 2019, Zillow found that, on average, homes with solar panels sold for 4.1% more than comparable homes without them. Kelly Roofing in Naples, Florida has the figure closer to 11%.

    The Tesla Solar Roof: Pros and Cons of Installing Solar Roof Tiles

    Tesla’s Solar Roof tiles have been creating plenty of buzz in the world of solar power, and some people want to know more about these tiles and if Namaste Solar installs them. Namaste Solar does not currently install Solar Roof tiles, but we can help you cut through some of the media hype to decide whether solar roof tiles are a good option for you. In this post we’ll look at the pros and cons of the Tesla Solar Roof for your residential solar energy system.

    Tesla Solar Roof: What You Need to Know

    Deployment of Tesla’s Solar Roof product has been slow with significant delays. According to PV Magazine, there may only be 100 Solar Roof systems connected to the grid so far, even though the product has been available for three years. The wait may be worth it for some who value the differentiating elements of the product. Other homeowners may want to start seeing the benefits of clean solar energy now, including seeing solar savings in their

    Pros of Tesla Roof Tiles

    Design: The most noticeable difference between solar panels and the Solar Roof is design. Tesla offers four different styles to choose from; textured, smooth, Tuscan, or slate styled solar roof tiles. The tiles mimic the look of a traditional roof so your neighbors won’t even know you have solar on your house (though many of our customers enjoy being solar trendsetters). If you want to maintain the aesthetics of your rooftop, the Solar Roof tiles are a great option for adding solar energy to your home.

    Warranty and durability: Tesla roof tiles are made with tempered glass that is more durable than standard roofing tiles. Tesla stands behind the durability of their product with an infinite warranty (or the lifetime of your house). We don’t know the full details of their warranty, but that’s quite a bold offer.

    Cons of Tesla Roof Tiles

    Cost: To install Tesla’s Solar Roof, you’re required to replace your whole roof – even if you don’t need a new roof right now. That means you’re paying for the cost of both a solar energy system and a new roof. According to EnergySage, on an apples-to-apples comparison: “Tesla’s solar roof will cost nearly 25,000 more than installing solar panels, and yet will only deliver 77 percent as much solar electricity (due to it being a smaller system size).

    Unknown Maintenance Costs: Since the Tesla roof tiles are a new product, the maintenance costs and processes are an unknown. If you have a roof leak, for example, how complex would it be to fix? Could you call a roofer in your area or would Tesla be the only company able to perform the fix – and how much more would that cost than a regular roof repair? There is also the question of how Tesla will deliver on the infinite warranty for required maintenance. Will the company have the financial strength and longevity to deliver on that guarantee?

    Unknown Return on Investment: When you crunch the numbers (like this Forbes contributor did), solar panels still offer a significantly higher return on investment. According to their head-to-head comparison of the Tesla Solar Roof vs. solar panels for the same house, the Tesla Solar Roof cost 48.9% more and yielded just 2.79% of the savings that the solar panels delivered. In other words, with the Solar Roof you pay almost 50% more and get 97% less in savings. Ouch.

    Are Solar Roof Tiles for You?

    The Tesla Solar Roof is an option for homeowners who are concerned about the aesthetics of their rooftop because the tiles look like a traditional rooftop. The tiles do come with a high price tag, though, and will make a Tesla Solar Roof cost prohibitive for many homeowners. Solar panels are still a reliable, tested, and durable option for homeowners who are looking for a great return on investment.

    On the Front Range and Thinking About Going Solar?

    If your home is on the Front Range in Colorado, Namaste Solar is happy to help you decide if solar is the right fit for you! Reach out to get a quote from one of our non-commissioned solar experts today.

    Recommended Reading:

    Solar Panel Warranty 101 (What to Know in 2023)

    Each product and or company featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

    Written by Dan Simms

    Dan Simms is an experienced writer with a passion for renewable energy. As a solar and EV advocate, much of his work has focused on the potential of solar power and deregulated energy, but he also writes on related topics, like real estate and economics. In his free time — when he’s not checking his own home’s solar production — he enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, skiing and rock climbing. Learn About This Person

    Reviewed by Andrew Dunn

    Andrew Dunn is a veteran journalist with more than 15 years of experience reporting and editing for local and national publications, including The Charlotte Observer and Business North Carolina magazine. His work has been recognized numerous times by the N.C. Press Association and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. Andrew earned a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as a certificate in business journalism and a minor in Spanish. He’s also an avid outdoorsman, an Eagle Scout and volunteer leader in the Boy Scouts of America. He lives in Charlotte, N.C. Learn About This Person

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    What Are Solar Panel Warranties?

    Solar panel warranties protect you from things like panel damage and Rapid degradation of your panel efficiency. Ultimately, they provide you with peace of mind for your solar investment and can save you money on repairs or replacements if you do run into any issues. Unfortunately, not all solar panel warranties are made equal, so it’s important to understand the coverage you’re getting, how it compares to the industry average and how helpful the protection plan will really be.

    In this article, we’ll discuss what a solar panel warranty is, what it covers, common exclusions and more to help you fully understand what to expect from your warranty.

    How Helpful Are Solar Panel Warranties?

    Solar panel warranties should be a major consideration when choosing a panel brand and a solar panel installation company. They come in two main varieties—equipment warranties and production warranties—and both can save you quite a lot of money in the long run.

    Equipment warranties can insulate you from repair or replacement costs for panels that fail due to manufacturing defects. The average panel replacement cost is around 1,064, assuming the average per-watt cost of 2.66 and the typical panel output of 400 watts. Repairs tend to cost between 500 and 750, but still, that’s an expense you don’t need after spending 20,000 on your solar array.

    Solar energy power output warranties help guarantee that your panels won’t rapidly lose efficiency, which would lead to lower and lower energy savings over time. The typical solar array pays for itself in around 12 years and provides energy savings of more than 22,000 over the next 13 years of expected panel life. If your efficiency drops too quickly, those savings will also plummet, and your panel payback period could even be longer than your panels will last in extreme cases.

    Overall, panel warranties are helpful for saving money on repairs, replacements and energy bills, and they improve the value of your solar energy system overall. The peace of mind you get knowing your multi-thousand dollar renewable energy system is protected is also priceless.

    Blue Raven Solar

    What Do Solar Panel Warranties Cover?

    Warranties from panel manufacturers can include the following:

    • An equipment warranty, which protects against manufacturer defects and unexpected panel damage. This is standard for most panels.
    • An efficiency warranty, which provides a maximum degradation rate per year after installation. This is standard for most panels.
    • A labor warranty, which covers issues stemming from the installation process, as well as labor costs to correct the problem. This is common among companies that manufacture and install panels, like SunPower and Tesla.
    • A roof leak warranty, which covers damages caused by leaking at your roof penetration sites. This is far less common and is only provided by a handful of companies.

    We’ll explain these warranty options and discuss what they specifically cover in the following sections.

    Equipment Warranty

    Equipment warranties mostly cover problems that stem from manufacturer defects. These include the following:

    • Solar panel hot spots
    • Total solar panel failure
    • Leaking voltage
    • Moisture or water damage to interior components
    • Cracks in the solar cells
    • Unexpected damage to protective materials
    • Potential-induced degradation (PID)
    • Poor soldering or failing adhesives that keep the solar cells wired in series

    Like any warranty coverage, your panel warranty will come with some exclusions, although the specific things that are excluded will depend on the manufacturer. Some things that might not be covered include the following:

    • Normal wear and tear
    • Efficiency losses due to installation in extreme temperatures
    • Damages that stem from the installation process — some companies will cover these issues in their labor warranties, but it’s often not a part of the equipment warranty
    • Damages caused by natural disasters — companies vary quite a bit here, as some providers cover damages caused by high-speed wind and hail
    • Shipping costs for replacement parts

    A 25-year product warranty is standard for solar panels, and most fall within a range of 15 years to 40 years. Although the average panel lifespan is estimated at around 30 years, most clean energy systems pay for themselves in energy savings in just 12 years.

    That means the typical equipment warranty will provide adequate protection for much longer than it takes your panels to become profitable. Over the typical 25-year warranty, your panels should pay for themselves and save an additional 22,000, making the warranty term more than adequate.

    Performance Warranty

    All PV panels degrade and lose efficiency over time, and a solar panel performance warranty tells you the maximum degradation you can expect over the warranty period. Below are some of the things that are usually included in your efficiency warranty:

    • Degradation in response to thermal cycling, which is a term describing the natural temperature fluctuations around your panels
    • Solar cell degradation in response to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light
    • Efficiency losses due to the weakening of solar cell connections as they expand and contract

    Performance warranties often won’t cover the following:

    • Specific production rates, as this depends on your location, shading, solar panel angle and more
    • Accelerated degradation caused by use in extreme temperatures

    The average efficiency warranty lasts for 25 years as well, although coverage for tier-two panels and DIY solar panel kits more often lasts for between 10 and 20 years.

    The typical 25-year warranty usually includes a maximum first-year degradation since efficiency losses happen most rapidly right after installation. The average loss of efficiency in year one is a maximum of 2.5%, although some companies guarantee no more than 1%.

    The warranty also usually includes a per-year degradation thereafter for the remainder of the warranty term. The average is 0.5% annually over the following 24 years. Some companies guarantee as low as 0.25% annually.

    The average 25-year efficiency warranty is usually plenty to ensure your panels perform for well beyond the time it takes for your solar project to become profitable. It takes around 12 years for most panels to pay for themselves, at which point most panels would still retain 92% of their original efficiency. Even with typical losses, your panels should save over 20,000 within the standard warranty term after they pay for themselves.

    It’s difficult to quantify exactly how much you’ll save with an efficiency warranty as opposed to not having one. However, with capped efficiency losses, you can more or less ensure that your system pays for itself and continues to save money for over a decade after that point.

    Labor or Workmanship Warranty

    A labor or workmanship warranty is usually only offered by manufacturers that also handle installations in some capacity, including companies like SunPower and Tesla. Some companies that have a certification process for installers will also provide this kind of coverage. Installers can also offer their own labor warranties on top of what the manufacturer provides.

    Labor warranties often cover the following:

    • Repairs and replacements for panels that were damaged during installation
    • Efficiency losses and panel malfunctions that stem from the installation process
    • Damage to wiring that could have been avoided during the installation

    There are some possible exclusions that you should look out for in your workmanship warranty, including the following:

    • Damages or issues caused by third-party equipment. This can sometimes include problems stemming from the mounting racks
    • Improper maintenance carried out by third parties, including other solar companies hired in the interim

    The average labor warranty lasts for 10 years. Since the majority of the issues that are caused by poor installation techniques will come up shortly after installation, the 10-year average should be plenty to keep you adequately protected.

    The typical price for replacement equipment, repair parts and labor for repairs sits around 1,000, so having a lengthy labor warranty can save you quite a bit of money if there are issues that pop up.

    Roof Leak Warranty

    A roof leak warranty is sometimes included in the workmanship warranty, but many companies keep it separate because the length of coverage is different. This kind of warranty is almost never offered by panel manufacturers unless the company also handles the installation. You’ll more often see this from your installer, which can sometimes be the same company.

    Roof leak warranties often cover the following:

    • Localized roof damage caused by water intrusion at the roof penetration site
    • Water damage to building materials directly beneath the roof penetration

    Roof leak warranties can come with a handful of caveats, so we recommend reading the agreement carefully to check for the following common exclusions:

    • Total roof replacement; usually, the covered repair includes just a portion of the total cost or a partial replacement
    • Leaks in areas where there was evidence of a pre-existing leak or roof weakness
    • Leaks under panels that have been serviced by a third-party company between installation and the leak occurrence
    • Damages sustained during extreme weather events and natural disasters, including hurricanes, tornadoes, tropical storms and more
    cost, tesla, solar, roof

    Most companies don’t offer a roof leak warranty at all, and those that do average around 10 years of coverage.

    Unfortunately, roof penetrations that are made during panel installations will eventually leak. Thankfully, the likelihood is that it will take many years for the penetration to get to the point of leaking, but that also means that the leak is likely to occur outside of that 10-year coverage window.

    As such, this is one of the only instances of a solar panel warranty that we feel could potentially be inadequate. This is especially true because the cost to repair a roof leak and the resulting water damage can total between 1,000 and 10,000, depending on the severity. That makes it one of the most expensive issues you could run into after going solar.

    Which Solar Installers Offer the Best Warranties?

    Most solar system installation companies offer some kind of labor warranty to complement the manufacturer’s warranty and make their services more appealing. The typical labor warranty offered by PV panel installation companies is for 10 years and covers damages stemming from the installation process.

    SunPower once again tops the list in terms of warranty length and value. ADT Solar also stands apart from the competition with longer-than-average warranty terms. Below are 10 of the best warranties we’ve seen from the larger installers in the country.

    • SunPower:SunPower tops the list as an installer in terms of warranty coverage as well, providing the same 40-year coverage for the labor as it does for the equipment and amount of electricity the panels generate. This is the longest workmanship we’ve seen from any provider. Additionally, the company provides roof leak coverage for 10 years.
    • ADT Solar: ADT Solar has the second-best warranty coverage as an installer that we’ve seen. It covers the labor for 25 years, which is 2.5x the national average.
    • Elevation Solar: Elevation Solar has an outstanding 25-year warranty for the equipment and labor, the latter of which is more than twice as long as most companies offer.
    • Freedom Forever Solar: Freedom Forever has an all-inclusive 25-year warranty, which, incredibly, includes labor.
    • Momentum Solar: Momentum Solar is another provider that covers labor in its 25-year warranty protection plan.
    • Tesla Solar: Tesla has a 10-year labor warranty, which is in line with the average. However, it also covers roof leaks, which most installers will not.
    • SunRun: SunRun provides its “SunRun Guarantee,” which includes a 10-year labor warranty and roof leak coverage. It should be noted that while the protection on the surface is above-average, the company has a history of slow responses to warranty claims.
    • Vivint: Much like its parent company, SunRun, Vivint offers 10 years of labor and roof leak protection. However, it has the same reputation for poor response times to warranty claims.
    • Blue Raven Solar: Blue Raven Solar offers the standard 10 years of labor warranty, but it couples its products and services with a customer satisfaction guarantee, which is uncommon in the industry.
    • GRNE Solar: GRNE Solar has a standard 10-year labor warranty, but it’s known to have good customer service, which provides even more assurance than the coverage alone.

    Worst Installer Warranties

    Unfortunately, there are also a lot of solar installers that offer no warranty for the labor at all, let alone roof leak coverage. Below are some examples of regional and national providers that don’t provide warranties for labor at all.

    • Titan Solar: Titan Solar not only has no workmanship warranty, but the company overall has a poor reputation for customer service and quality of service.
    • Vision Solar: Vision Solar is a large, regional installer. It outsources most of its installations, which means it can’t offer any workmanship warranty.
    • First Solar: First Solar has a five-year labor warranty. This is not only half the industry average, but the company also has a poor reputation for customer service and warranty claim response times.

    Which Solar Manufacturers Offer the Best Warranties?

    The average warranty coverage from panel manufacturers includes 25 years of coverage for the equipment and manufacturer defects and 25 years of guaranteed maximum efficiency losses.

    Most manufacturers don’t handle installations as well, so they don’t typically provide labor or roof leak warranties. Those that do usually cover labor for 10 years and roof leaks separately for the same time period.

    There are a few manufacturers that go above and beyond with their warranty protection. SunPower is, by far, the best solar panel manufacturer in terms of warranty coverage for its products, and Tesla is another excellent provider that has above-average coverage overall. Some of the best warranties come from the following manufacturers:

    • SunPower/Maxeon: SunPower has an industry-leading 40-year warranty for the equipment durability and the production. This is nearly double what most other providers offer. SunPower also covers labor for 25 years, and it has a 10-year warranty for roof leaks.
    • Tesla: Tesla is one of the few other manufacturers that provides warranty coverage for the equipment, production, labor and roof leaks. The equipment and production warranties are in line with the solar industry average of 25 years. The labor and roof leak coverage last for 10 years.
    • Panasonic: Panasonic has one the best performance warranties, as it guarantees a maximum annual degradation of just 0.26%, second only to SunPower’s for 0.25% and about half of the typical efficiency loss. Panasonic’s first-year degradation is just 2%, which is also below the industry average of 2.5%.
    • LG: LG pulled out of the panel manufacturing industry to FOCUS on battery production, but the warranty coverage for homeowners who already have LG panels installed is excellent. It stands out particularly because of the efficiency warranty, which guarantees a minimum of 92% of the original efficiency after 25 years. This is far better than the industry standard of around 85%.
    • Q Cells: Q Cells has a 25-year labor warranty if you register your panels, which is superior to the standard 10 years of coverage. The first-year degradation set forth in the performance warranty is also 2%, about 0.5% less than most other panels.
    • Solaria: Solaria offers extended solar warranties of we’up to 30 years for different coverages if you register your panels.
    • Trina Solar: Trina Solar’s maximum first-year degradation guaranteed in the performance warranty is one of the lowest in the industry at just 1%.
    cost, tesla, solar, roof
    • AXITEC: AXITEC is one of the few manufacturers that automatically transfers warranty coverage to the new owner if you sell your home. This makes things convenient and saves you some time if you do relocate.
    • Aptos Solar: Aptos also automatically transfers warranty protection to the new owner if you move.
    • Silfab: Like AXITEC’s and Aptos’ coverage, Silfab’s warranty coverage is around standard in terms of length and coverage. However, coverage automatically transfers to the new owner if you sell your home. Most other companies require paperwork to be filed before coverage is transferred.

    Worst Manufacturer Warranties

    Of course, not all manufacturers offer great warranty coverage. Below are some examples of companies that provide less appealing solar warranties. Keep in mind that we’re not including manufacturers that simply don’t offer labor or roof leak coverage, as these options are more often provided by your installer.

    • Grape Solar: Grape Solar predominantly makes panels for DIY installation. The solar panel product warranty and the efficiency warranty both last for just 10 years—less than half of the industry average for both coverages. The performance warranty can last for 25 years, but only for efficiency dips caused specifically by manufacturer defects and not normal aging or wear and tear, like other panel brands.
    • Renogy: Renogy is another DIY panel brand, so its warranty coverage is expected to be lower. The equipment warranty on some products lasts for just three to five years.
    cost, tesla, solar, roof
    • Jinko Solar: Jinko’s performance warranty lasts for the typical 25 years, but the degradation rate per year is 0.7%, around 40% higher than the industry average.
    • JA Solar: JA Solar’s panel warranty lasts for just 12 years, which is less than half of the national average.
    • Canadian Solar: Overall, Canadian Solar’s warranty coverages aren’t terrible. However, the degradation is faster than you’ll find from most providers, with up to a 3% efficiency dip in year one and 0.55% per year for the following 24 years. Both are faster than the average.

    Can Any Other Insurance or Warranty Plans Cover Solar Panels?

    Most home warranties won’t cover solar panels, and even the ones that include roof leak protection typically won’t provide coverage if you have solar panels installed.

    However, your homeowner’s insurance policy will typically include coverage for your panels at no extra cost. That means they could keep you insulated from repair and replacement costs that come about because of damage sustained during extreme weather events, natural disasters and unavoidable issues. These include things like hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, fallen trees and more.

    Additionally, while most roof leaks from solar panel roof penetrations won’t be covered under your homeowner’s insurance, there’s a good chance leaks that come about from extreme weather are. For example, if your roof starts leaking because of excessive rain during a hurricane or damage from a tree limb that comes down in a major storm, your homeowner’s insurance might cover the damage.

    Can Installing Solar Panels Impact Any of Your Existing Insurance or Warranty Plans?

    Yes, the roof penetrations typically used during panel installations can affect coverage from other warranties and insurance coverages, and the addition of solar might affect your insurance premium and coverage.

    If you have a home warranty that includes roof leak protection or a standalone roof warranty, that will likely be voided if you install panels. Even if the coverage isn’t totally voided, you might not see a payout for specific leaking events that are determined to be caused by your panels.

    Your homeowner’s insurance could also be affected. Since solar panels bump up your home value and the amount you need to be covered, you might need to increase your coverage to ensure your panels are included. That could mean that your annual premium increases to account for the added protection.

    How to File a Solar Panel Warranty Claim?

    Filing a claim with your solar provider or manufacturer should be a straightforward and simple process, provided you had a reputable and reliable installer carry out the work.

    Still, it’s worth doing everything you can to avoid running into an issue where a claim might be necessary. Below are some tips for avoiding efficiency and performance issues that might warrant a claim being filed:

    • Avoid installing your panels in partial shade: A panel that sees shade during the day will always produce less than the same panel that sits in full sun. Installing in partial shade can also lead to temperature imbalances in your panel, which could promote hot spots from forming. Hot spots cripple efficiency and lead to accelerated degradation. Always install in full sun when possible to avoid having to file a claim for dips in efficiency and performance.
    • Choose a high-quality panel brand: You might pay more for a high-quality panel from a company like SunPower than you would from most other solar panel manufacturers, but you’ll also be less likely to see damages and efficiency loss. Top-tier manufacturers use advanced technology and materials to reduce leaking voltages, cracked solar cells, hot spots and other issues that might lead to a warranty claim.
    • Have a professional handle the installation: Attempting a DIY solar installation might be tempting to save some money, but we always recommend having a reliable professional do the work. DIY installation can lead to panel damage and improper installation that causes drops in efficiency and malfunctioning that could lead to warranty claims.

    If you do run into a panel performance issue and have to submit a warranty claim, you can follow the steps below to do so:

    • Step 1 — Confirm the issue is covered: First, read through your warranty information from your manufacturer or installer to ensure your issue is covered.
    • Step 2 — Get your documentation ready: Prepare for the first contact by getting your documentation ready. This could be the panel model information your installer provided, the warranty information included with your equipment or proof of purchase.
    • Step 3 — Contact your panel manufacturer or installer: Next, contact the warranty claims or service department. If you’re seeing an issue with panel performance, you should first call your manufacturer. If there’s an issue with a roof leak, start with your installer.
    • Step 4 — Schedule an inspection: Next, your manufacturer or installer will need to schedule an inspection to assess the issue. You will need to be home for the inspection to provide access.
    • Step 5 — Provide any additional information required: Once the inspection is done, the company might ask you for additional information, including documentation for your equipment or installation.
    • Step 6 — Follow up: Finally, we recommend you follow up regularly on the warranty claim until your repair or replacement is completed.

    Are Extended Solar Panel Warranties Necessary?

    Some companies offer extended solar panel warranties just for registering your products, while others charge a fee to gain access to the added coverage. If you get any additional coverage for registering with the manufacturer, we strongly recommend you take it. Provided you’re not paying anything extra, it’s always worth it to get added protection.

    However, we generally don’t recommend paying for an extended panel warranty. In most cases, included warranty coverages are plenty long to protect your equipment through the panel payback period and beyond, which means your solar panel system will be profitable by the time they expire.

    The five to 10 years an extended warranty adds isn’t worth it, in our opinion. Thankfully, most panels don’t experience any severe issues even beyond their warranty term. Many panels installed 25 years ago are still functioning and providing sufficient power today.

    Some companies also offer free panel maintenance and service if you choose a specific financing option. SunRun is a classic example of this, as it includes maintenance if you choose a lease or a power purchase agreement (PPA).

    While added protection is great, most panels don’t need maintenance or cleaning, so the extra coverage is more or less worthless. Plus, leases and PPAs save you far less over time than cash purchases and solar loans, so we strongly recommend against them, even if it means added protection.

    Solar panel warranties are crucial to understand before you hire a solar installer or choose a panel brand for your home. Your warranty can help maximize your energy savings over time and protect you from high repair and replacement costs.

    We suggest choosing a reliable installer that offers at least the industry standard in terms of warranty coverage, and we recommend a provider that includes equipment, efficiency and labor coverage for total protection.

    Solar Warranty

    The solar warranty covers any defects of PVs, system failures, and damages to the roof caused by inappropriate workmanship during the whole length of the warranty, which ranges from 5, 10, to 25 years from company to company. LA Solar Group provides its customers a comprehensive look at their overall system performance. Solar panel installation is an investment that should provide a customer with a reliable energy source and give peace of mind that it is worth it.

    LA Solar Group provides its customers with a complete warranty package. This includes the best solar panel warranty with 25 years solar panel manufacturer’s and production warranty, and a 25-year workmanship and roof penetration warranty.

    Manufacturer’s Solar Warranty

    Besides the 25 years equipment warranty for solar modules, inverters and optimizers, LA Solar Group also gives a 10-year warranty for the Tesla Powerwall 2.

    This comprehensive warranty is among the longest available in the solar industry, giving customers peace of mind that the solar company will protect their system in the event of an accident or malfunction.

    Roof Penetration Warranty

    If the installation causes leaks, then roof penetration warranties cover the roof’s damage caused by the leak after solar panel installation. However, a roof penetration warranty is not applicable if the solar installation does not cause the roof leak.

    Output Solar Warranty

    It is no surprise that panels lose efficiency in the long run. However, with the system design, the solar company also ensures you an amount of system output that you can expect. The system’s electrical output shall not decrease by more than 10% during the 10 years and 20% for the other 15 years.

    We only work with insured partners who are licensed to install and maintain the system. We provide a Solar System Warranty, Roof Warranty and Output Warranty for the entire agreement term.

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