Q Cells vs. Tesla: Which Solar Panel is Best for you?
Q Cells and Tesla Solar are among the leading solar panel manufacturers. But which brand is right for your solar panel installation? In this blog, we’ll review both companies in a few key areas, so you get a sense of the pros and cons of each:
Comparing Tesla and Q Cells Solar Panels
Who Makes Q Cells Solar Panels?
Q Cells is the solar manufacturing subsidiary of South Korean firm Hanwha Chemical. In 2012, they purchased the German-founded Q Cells brand and quickly became one of the world’s leading producers of solar panels.
Q Cells manufactures its panels in several Asian countries as well as in America. In 2019, Q Cells opened an assembly facility in Dalton, GA — the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. But they didn’t stop there with their investment in American manufacturing. In May 2022, the company announced a 170 million plan to increase its manufacturing capacity to 3.1 GW.
Their continued investment in manufacturing here in the US is why they are one of the top American-made solar panels.
Who Makes Tesla Solar Panels?
Headquartered in Austin, TX, Tesla is one of the world’s most recognizable electric vehicle manufacturers. Through the 2016 acquisition of SolarCity, Tesla entered into the solar industry, manufacturing panels in Buffalo, NY.
In addition to its low-profile solar panels, the company is also known for its solar battery system, the Tesla Powerwall, and the Tesla Solar Roof, which is a solar shingle hybrid product.
Tesla employs its own installation crews located in all 50 states. They also have a network of certified local installation companies.
Tesla and Q cells Solar Panel Prices
Whether you’re looking to power your home, business, or farm, the cost of solar is often a big factor when going solar. While it may be tempting to opt for the cheapest panels you can find, the better approach is often choosing the panels that offer the best value for your budget.
When it comes down to it, there isn’t a huge price difference between the two brands. How much are Tesla solar panels? While the price will vary based on location, they’ll typically cost between 2.00. 2.75 per watt before solar incentives. That’s less than the national average of 2.60. 3.00 per watt.
As of the writing of this article in November 2022, Tesla is also offering a price match guarantee. If you get a lower quote from an installer for a system of equal size, they could potentially match that price.
Q Cells solar panels will cost around 2.30. 3.00 per watt before incentives. This is right around the national average.
Which brand offers the better deal? That comes down to what you value. Tesla’s customer service process is somewhat unique. The process is less personalized than other manufacturers/installers and is completed in large part online. This is a pain point for many of their customers.
Additionally, they only offer nine standard system sizes. This means they will not customize their systems to fit your needs. This could mean you’re not getting the best possible ROI on your investment.
With Q Cells and other brands installed by local and regional solar companies, you’ll get a personalized experience. Their design team will create a custom system to suit your specific needs and property, and they’ll be there to answer any questions, make any changes, and help you through the process.
For what can be just a modest price difference, many solar owners prefer this route.
Which Are Efficient. Q Cells or Tesla Solar Panels?
Solar panels’ efficiency is the percentage of electricity a solar panel can create from the energy it receives from the sun. Along with temperature coefficient, power tolerance, and wattage, efficiency is an important metric in determining solar system production.
Tesla solar panels have efficiencies of 19.3% to 20.6%. Q Cells’ current solar panels range in efficiency from 19.78% to 21.16%. This gives Q Cells panels a slight edge.
When it comes to overall performance, you may hear that Tesla panels are more powerful than other panels. But that’s not because of superior technology. Tesla panels are simply larger than most other panels, meaning one panel will generate more electricity. However, because of their larger size, it could limit the size fo the system.
The unique size of Tesla’s panels could also make it difficult to replace them if there is an issue down the road and the same Tesla panel is unavailable.
Quality Protection: Which Brand Offers Better Warranties
There are two types of solar panel warranties. The product warranty and the performance warranty.
Q Cells and Tesla Product Warranties
Product warranties protect against defective and damaged panels. They’re good for ensuring you don’t end up with a damaged product, but they’re also a good marker of quality. A solar manufacturer that makes low-quality panels that constantly break couldn’t afford a long, extensive warranty.
Q Cells’ product warranties range from 12 to 25 years, depending on the model you select. Tesla’s solar panel warranty lasts for 25 years on all models.
Q Cells and Tesla Performance Warranties
As panels age, they’ll produce less electricity. Performance warranties protect against panel degradation by ensuring the panels degrade at a certain rate.
Q Cells and Tesla have the same performance warranty terms: a 25-year linear warranty. During the first year, both guarantee their panels will put out at least 98% of nominal production. For each additional year, they shouldn’t degrade at a rate higher than 0.54%.
Are Tesla Solar Panels Better Than Q Cells?
Both Tesla and Q Cells solar panels can be good options. They both offer efficient solar panels at mid-market prices, and they back up their products with good warranties. When it comes down to it, the biggest difference between a Tesla solar panel and a Q Cells is the service.
Tesla offers an online experience where you’ll input your information virtually and get one of nine standardized system sizes. If this approach is for you and you’re confident that you’ll get a system that suits your needs, this could be the right option.
With Q Cells, you’ll likely work with a regional solar energy installer like Paradise Energy Solutions. You’ll develop a relationship with your own consultant, who will be there to understand your needs and answer your questions. Then, they’ll design a solar energy system customized to meet your goals. If this more personalized approach appeals to you, Q Cells could be the right option.
Are you sold on the idea of saving money with a solar energy investment but need help selecting the best solar panels for your system?
Take the next step by getting in touch with our team by clicking the button below. If you’re located in the mid-Atlantic region, our team of solar experts will answer all your questions, help you select the best solar panels and inverters, and provide exact numbers for a system that best fits your needs.
Want to do more research on your own? Check out these other solar panel brand comparisons and this guide to the best solar panel brands.
With energy soaring and extreme weather knocking out power more frequently, more homeowners than ever can benefit from pairing solar with battery.
The Tesla Powerwall and Powerwall are two must-consider options when it comes to battery storage. In this article, we’ll breakdown the specifications, advantages, and costs of the Tesla Powerwall.
Tesla Powerwall Basics
The Tesla Powerwall is the best-known home battery on the market. The Powerwall sets the standard for the solar battery industry — it offers a great balance of capability, capacity, flexibility, and software, all at a very compelling price point.
Tesla manufactures the Powerwall at its giant battery factory, nicknamed the “Gigafactory,” outside Reno, Nevada. While this facility also produces battery packs for vehicles, Tesla uses a slightly different chemistry in the Powerwall to optimize its functionality as a stationary storage system.
The Tesla Powerwall provides all the standard advantages of solar batteries, including backup protection against grid outages, time-of-use load-shifting, and greater energy independence.
The Powerwall also comes with industry-leading software that allows homeowners to view the power flows in their home and adjust battery settings on the fly.
Tesla Powerwall version history
There are currently three versions of the Tesla Powerwall in existence, with a fourth apparently in the works for Spring 2023.
The first version of the Powerwall was a DC battery that launched in 2015. This version has since been discontinued.
This was followed closely by the Powerwall 2 in 2016, an AC battery with more than doubled the capacity of the original version.
Early Powerwall models and competitors, such as Sonnen and LG, are DC batteries, which require a separate inverter to convert electricity to AC before it sending it to the home or grid.
For the Powerwall 2, this inverter is part of the package, streamlining the configuration by eliminating the need for the separate inverter. However, the Powerwall 2 still required a separate solar inverter in order to receive and store solar output.
The latest version is the Powerwall. The Powerwall is essentially the Powerwall 2 with the addition of a built-in solar inverter. This allows the Powerwall to directly receive DC electricity from solar panels and eliminates the need for yet another series of solar inverters.
Finally, the Powerwall 3 was set to be released in Spring 2022, but is likely delayed until at least Spring 2023. It’s expected to have double the capacity of the Powerwall 2, among other optimizations.
Tesla Powerwall Specs
|5 kW continuous / 7 kW peak
|5,8 kW continuous / 7.6 kW peak
|Max amps of backup circuits
|45.3”H x 29.6”W x 5.8”D
|62.8″H x 29.7″W x 6.3″D
|10 Years / 70% Capacity Retention
|10 Years / 70% Capacity Retention
|Tesla Powerwall 2 Spec Sheet
|Tesla Powerwall Spec Sheet
|Battery only cost (before incentives)
Tesla Powerwall Advantages
One of the biggest advantages of Powerwall is stackable output. Because Powerwall is an AC battery, its output is stackable, meaning that adding more batteries will provide greater amounts of power.
So while one Powerwall outputs 5kW, two Powerwalls will output 10kW, three will output 15kW, etc. This also increases the amperage of the circuits that can be backed up. While one Powerwall can back up circuits up to 30 amps, two Powerwalls can back up circuits up to 60 amps, three up to 90 amps, etc.
This compares favorably to DC batteries, which do not have stackable output.
Installing multiple DC batteries will increase the system’s storage capacity – meaning the system will provide power for a longer duration in an outage – but the overall system output doesn’t increase. Multiple DC batteries can only back up the same circuit amperage that one battery can.
Another big advantage of Powerwall is its thermal management system. Powerwall, like Tesla vehicles, has a liquid heating and cooling system running through the battery pack that keeps the cells operating at the ideal temperature.
This system improves long-term performance, reduces degradation, and makes Powerwall more resilient for outdoor installations in high-heat areas.
Tesla Powerwall Cost
When purchased directly from Tesla, the Powerwall comes to 11,500 with installation included.
But there’s a kicker: Tesla no longer sells the Powerwall individually. In order to get the 11,5oo all-in price, you’d have to buy solar from Tesla, too.
Going directly through Tesla is a great way to get bulk pricing on solar and storage, but if you want a Powerwall on its own, you’ll need to go through a local installer.
Buying a Tesla Powerwall through a local installer typically runs about 12,000-16,500 fully installed (8,400 to 11,550 after the 30% federal tax credit is applied). That includes all of the ancillary components needed to make the battery function – see our article on solar battery pricing for more information about the factors that contribute to battery pricing.
If homeowners buy multiple batteries at the same time, installers will typically reduce the cost of the subsequent batteries, since some of the equipment can be economized.
Does the Tesla Powerwall qualify for the 30% federal tax credit?
Yes! With the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, all battery with capacity greater than 3 kWh qualifies for the 30% Residential Clean Energy Credit.
This new and improved credit now applies to standalone battery (battery storage not paired with solar) and battery storage added to existing solar systems.
There are also state and local incentives like California’s SGIP program that offers rebates up to 1,000 per kWh of battery storage installed.
The Bottom Line
Overall, Powerwall is an industry-leading option home battery. It offers great capabilities at a very compelling price point.
The Powerwall can store solar or grid energy to use during power outages or to work around expensive time-of-use rates. When paired with solar, battery storage turns your home into a mini-utility powered by clean energy.
Boris Feldman is our own Solar.com customer who had a Tesla Powerwall 2 installed at home. Here’s what he had to say about his experience with his new backup battery.
“The Powerwall 2 is a really cool piece of technology that allows me to have total control of our household electrical usage. It’s a sleek design, and the mobile app is incredibly intuitive.”
Tesla Powerwall 2. 2018 Buyers Update
Tesla’s Powerwall 2 is perhaps the most famous solar backup battery option, though it is not the highest volume sold. Tied to celebrity tech entrepreneur.
Tesla Powerwall 2 vs. Sonnen Eco
On October 28th, Elon Musk dazzled audiences with the unveiling of Tesla’s Solar Roof and updated Powerwall home energy storage system. Fans are already putting.
Tesla’s Powerwall: A Viable Home Energy Storage System?
In early May, Tesla Motors unveiled the new Powerwall, a home battery pack to be used in conjunction with a solar panel system to provide.
Tesla’s solar rental program: what you need to know
Generally speaking, there are two primary methods for financing solar: customer-owned or third-party owned. In a customer-owned installation, you purchase your panels outright either with an upfront purchase or with a solar loan. With a third-party-owned installation, a solar company installs solar panels on your property and retains ownership of the equipment, while you make a monthly payment for the solar power produced by the panels.
The Tesla solar rental program offered customers in six states–Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New Mexico–three, pre-set options for installing solar on their homes:
- A small, 3.8 kilowatt (kW) installation for 50 per month;
- A medium, 7.6 kW installation for 100 per month;
- And a large, 11.4 kW installation for 150 per month (note these costs are higher for California residents).
When first introduced, Tesla included a 1,500 solar panel removal clause. However, they updated the terms of the rental program to remove that cancellation fee, meaning the rental program truly has no long-term commitment.
Why did Tesla introduce the rental program?
The rental program was a shot in the arm for Tesla’s struggling solar business. Since acquiring SolarCity, which was once the largest residential solar company in the US, Tesla has slowly been phasing away from the solar market. In fact, Tesla’s quarterly solar installations dropped from 93 megawatts (MW) in Q3 2018, to 73 MW, to 47 MW, and, finally, to 29 MW in Q2 2019.
This came about as Tesla moved away from traditional residential solar marketing practices, quickly introduced solar purchasing to their electric vehicle stores, and then moved the entire solar business online. The Tesla solar rental program has the potential to make solar more accessible to a wide group by pairing no upfront cost with no long-term contract.
Did the Tesla solar rental program save homeowners money?
The short answer: yes, but not as much as you would save by owning your own solar panels (a fact that Elon Musk has acknowledged in the press since the rental program’s launch). The longer answer? It depends.
Given that the monthly cost of rental solar panels is the same in New Mexico and Massachusetts, a solar shopper would receive more bang for their buck from a production standpoint in the Southwest than in the Northeast.
The other key component of determining whether the Tesla solar rental program can save you money is how much you pay for electricity. Solar saves you money by helping you avoid a portion (or all) of your electricity bill. Since the cost of electricity varies across the country, it’s not only important to know how much electricity your panels will produce but also how much you would have paid for electricity if not for your solar panels.
For instance, although you would receive more solar production for the same price in New Mexico than in Massachusetts, the cost of electricity is much higher in the Northeast. As a result, the savings from the rental program–i.e., the cost of purchasing electricity from your utility versus the monthly cost of the rental–might actually be higher in Massachusetts, even though the panels produce less electricity.
Although Tesla no longer includes a panel removal fee, if they were to re-introduce it at a later date, here is how to calculate how much you could save by joining the program: i f you stand to save an average of 30 per month from the solar panels, or 360 per year, you’d need to keep the solar panels for about five years to ensure that you break even (by saving enough on electricity bills to offset the cost of the panel removal fee.)
Considerations for the Tesla solar rental program
There are a number of key questions we encouraged homeowners to ask before participating in the Tesla solar rental program:
What solar equipment is used?
There is a wide variety of quality and performance across solar panels. which, accordingly, come at different price points. Knowing what equipment is being installed on your roof may help you determine whether you’re getting a good deal, as well as the likelihood that the panels will continue performing for a long time.
Are you okay not receiving the ITC and other incentive benefits?
One great aspect of owning your own solar panel system is that you receive the full benefit of the solar investment tax credit (ITC). as well as checks in the mail for any rebates or performance-based incentives in your state. In this case, Tesla receives those credits since they own the system.
Will your monthly costs to rent increase in the future?
Early looks at the Tesla contracts indicate that they can increase the monthly cost of the rentals in the future. It’s important to know how frequently and by how much they can increase your monthly cost; this will help ensure that you don’t end up paying more for solar than you would for electricity from the grid in the future.
Other options for going solar
The Tesla solar rental program was a very interesting, unique new twist on the old third-party ownership model that allows people to go solar without putting down any money upfront. These days, however, third-party ownership is not the only way to go solar while paying zero down.
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Looking to go solar? Here’s everything you need to know in… Solar shingles: what you need to know in 2023 Best solar panels in 2023: Top products compared Are solar panels worth it in 2023? Tesla Solar Roof: the complete review
About Spencer Fields
Spencer is the Technology Product Alliance Strategic Lead at EnergySage, where he wears many hats. A 10-year industry veteran (and a solar owner himself!), Spencer spent five years at Synapse Energy Economics before joining EnergySage, providing environmental, economic, and policy analysis for public interest groups. These days, he leads market and consumer intel and research for EnergySage. Spencer has degrees in Environmental Studies and Hispanic Studies from Brown University.
Why Tesla is offering rock-bottom solar panel prices
While Tesla’s electric vehicles are gaining popularity, its solar business has been in retreat in an ultra-competitive market. Tesla lost its crown as America’s leading rooftop solar installer in 2018, falling behind lesser-known rival Sunrun ( RUN ). according to research firm Wood Mackenzie.
Now Musk is trying to jump-start Tesla’s solar business with a simple strategy: Cutting costs. Sharply. Tesla has cut its solar panel below the national average.
Tesla is likely hoping to use low to drive out competition and gain market share, said Timothy Fox, vice president and research analyst at Clearview Energy Partners, an energy research firm.
To make the cost cuts work, Tesla has standardized systems and begun to require customers to order solar panels online, the company told The New York Times this week. By stopping door-to-door sales, Tesla is trying to slash so-called soft costs that play a significant role driving up the price tag on solar panels.
A Tesla spokesperson confirmed the changes reported by the Times. The new have been posted on Tesla’s website. Tesla announced last fall that price cuts were coming.
Tesla’s ‘half-court shot’?
But some observers on Wall Street are skeptical that Tesla can pull off the strategy without eating into its already-shrinking bottom line. Profit margins in the solar industry are razor-thin.
It feels like a half-court shot, said Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities who recently downgraded his rating on Tesla.
SolarCity was the No. 1 solar player when Tesla made a controversial 2.6 billion deal in 2016 to acquire the company, which was founded and run by two of Musk’s cousins. While Musk pitched the acquisition as a way for Tesla to become a one-stop shop for clean energy, analysts say the benefits have been elusive.
So far, it’s been like a first-round draft pick that was a bust, said Ives.
Tesla falls behind Sunrun
Understandably, Tesla’s main priority is its far larger electric vehicle business. The company has spent heavily on mass-producing the Model 3, developing self-driving technology and building massive factories to manufacture batteries.
Tesla’s solar business, on the other hand, has shrunk by about 60%, according to Colin Rusch, senior research analyst at Oppenheimer Co.
They’ve really throttled that business back and stopped throwing cash at it like SolarCity was, said Ben Kallo, an analyst at Baird.
That has allowed Tesla’s solar rivals to catch up.
In 2018, Tesla dropped to second place in the solar home installation race in 2018 behind Sunrun and just ahead of Vivint Sola ( VSLR ) r, according to consulting firm Wood Mackenzie.
Elon Musk has a lot of priorities on his desk, said Fox. His competitors may just have a more singular FOCUS that has allowed them to gain market share.
In a statement, Sunrun said it welcomes industry efforts to reduce costs and is actively engaged in cutting soft costs through permitting reform and other activities.
Tesla’s solar business isn’t big enough to really move the needle on Wall Street. Shareholders care way more about the latest Model 3 numbers.
Most investors assign minimal value to it, said Ives. It continues to be more of a distraction than a value-creator.
But Tesla is trying to change that by slashing costs. Depending upon where they live, Tesla customers can now expect to pay 1.75 to 1.99 per watt after a federal tax incentive.
After accounting for the federal investment tax credit, the national average is 2.14 per watt, according to EnergySage, an online marketplace for buying and selling solar that is backed by the Energy Department.
Tesla’s price cuts are overdue, Rusch said.
They were going after aggressive pricing that was unnecessarily high, he said.
Tesla has a big advantage over its competitors: brand recognition.
They retain the sexy factor. It’s a company with a household name and a well-known CEO, said Fox.
When will the Gigafactory 2 ramp up?
Most of Tesla’s solar panels are manufactured by third-parties based in China, Japan and Korea, according to analysts.
However, Tesla is hoping to make its solar business more viable by mass-producing panels at a factory in Buffalo, New York. The facility, known as Gigafactory 2, is owned by the state and run by Panasonic ( PCRFF ).
Production began at the Buffalo factory in early 2018, though construction has not yet been completed, Tesla said in a filing on Monday. Tesla said it plans to meet certain hiring and investment requirements at Gigafactory 2, but warned that it could need to pay New York significant amounts if it fails to do so.
Bigger picture, Tesla‘s price cuts underscore the advances made in the solar industry. Plunging costs have allowed both wind and solar to steal market share from coal.
For the first time ever, America’s renewable energy sector may have generated more electricity than coal during the month of April, according to a recent report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.
Solar power is cheap and getting cheaper. The long-term trends are very bullish, said David Sandalow, inaugural fellow of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. From Indiana to India, solar is competing strongly with other forms of power generation.
Correction: A previous version of this story overstated the difference between Tesla’s solar panel cost and the national average.