Tesla solar panels review 2023: Please hold the line
Tesla has already changed the market of electric vehicles forever. Can they do the same with the solar industry? At the moment the only answer is “maybe”. Learn more about the photovoltaic ups and downs of Tesla Energy in our review.
Tesla, Inc. was founded in 2003 and is based in Palo Alto. Initially, it specialized in electric vehicles and its Model 3 became the world’s most popular electric car with over 1 million global sales.
Besides EVs, Tesla offers energy storage and photovoltaics through its division Tesla Energy. In 2016 Tesla acquired SolarCity, a company that installs solar systems.
While electric vehicles have been an absolute success, Tesla Energy seemingly struggles to bring its solar products and services to the same level. While there are enough positive reviews about Tesla, lots of customers found the service unsatisfactory. Tesla Roof is considered one of the company’s failures and we’ll come back to the reasons for it later.
Tesla panels: Cheap systems, poor service
Instead of Tesla roof, many customers choose standard solar panels for their homes. Tesla offers a single model with a few variations. Their efficiency varies from 19% to almost 20%: good but not great. Efficiency is not the most important metric to look for but it does come into play when you deal with limited space and your energy needs are high.
The panels from Tesla usually aren’t sold at retail. Instead, Tesla calculates the cost of a full installation with an inverter and labor expenses. The cost ranges from 5000 to 3 per watt with a median value being around 5000.35 per watt. This is cheaper than the average price in the US but, of course, more expensive than buying panels at retail and installing them yourself.
25-year product and output warranty
Despite the fact that Tesla has an operational facility in Buffalo, CNBC reports that the majority of photovoltaics are made in China. The quality of the panels is fine but the installation services are hit or miss. Allegedly, some customers waited for a year before Tesla finally responded to their inquiries and started the process. The installers themselves aren’t always professional and make mistakes during installation.
Charging Tesla with solar power #shorts
Tesla solar panels come with a 25-year warranty for materials and performance. The modules retain at least 85% of their initial power capacity for at least 25 years. A 10-year comprehensive warranty covers the entire Tesla solar system, including Powerwall batteries, solar inverter, roof mounting and leaks.
What is good about Tesla Energy products? Here is what we like about them: Relatively low cost. Solar panel system from Tesla comes at 5000 to 3 per watt after the installation but before incentives. That’s cheaper than what most installers in the US offer. Mobile monitoring. Tesla’s mobile app allows you to monitor your energy production and usage, giving you complete control and insight into your energy system. Lots of customers praise the design and usability of the app. Brand name. There is an appeal in using products made by Tesla as the company presents itself as one of the leaders of the green energy switch movement.
What’s not so great about the Tesla Energy products? Here are the disadvantages that stand out immediately: Poor customer service. It can be hard to get a hold of Tesla customer service and installers can be unprofessional. Getting the system installed can take months in the worst-case scenario. Limited availability. In some countries and regions, Tesla‘s products are unavailable. Besides, in the US the demand for them may outpace the supply. No retail. You can’t buy a single solar panel from Tesla and install it as you please. Shallow product line. There is only one solar panel that Tesla offers.
Can Tesla solar panels power a whole house?
Yes. Tesla solar panels can power an entire house without much trouble. However, you may have to install several solar panels to meet your energy needs. Other factors also come into play like the amount of energy you use at home, and your location, the amount of sunlight that hits your roof.
Putting all these factors together, you may have to dig deeper into your s for you to use Tesla solar panels to power your entire house.
Nevertheless, Tesla makes it easy for homeowners who want to shift from conventional sources of energy to solar energy.
Instead of buying and installing dozens of solar panels on your roof, Tesla allows you to install just a few solar panels along with their battery backup system known as the Powerwall.
When Tesla Solar panels are paired with the Tesla Powerwall, they can power your entire house for hours without relying on the electric grid!
You also have the option of installing Tesla solar roof tiles instead of regular solar panels. The solar tiles are designed to replace your entire roof so that you don’t spoil the lovely architectural aesthetics of your home.
Besides, solar roof tiles are three times stronger than standard tiles, making them the perfect choice for any home.
The roof tiles consist of two types of glass shingles. Both types are textured, but one has active photovoltaic shingles while the other consists of inactive non-solar shingles.
The active tiles come with photovoltaic cells that absorb rays from the sun before converting them into electricity while the inactive shingles do not produce any electricity.
As stated earlier, for Tesla solar panels as well as solar roof tiles to work and power a whole house, you have to pair them with Tesla Powerwall.
According to Tesla, you cannot install their Solar roof tiles without a Powerwall.
What is Tesla Powerwall?
Tesla Powerwall is a simple solar energy storage solution. It is essentially a battery backup system that allows you to store excess energy produced by your solar panels for later use whenever you need it, particularly when there is no enough sunshine in your area.
With the Tesla Powerwall installed in your home, you no longer have to rely on the grid in case of power outages.
This battery backup system will power your entire house for the duration of the outage or even longer, depending on the amount of energy stored.
If you intend to install Tesla solar panels or the Tesla solar roof in your home, you have to pair them with the Powerwall.
It is compatible with all solar products from Tesla hence installing the battery backup system should not be an issue.
When compared with other solar battery systems, nothing really matches the performance of Tesla’s Powerwall.
It comes equipped with powerful features no wonder industry experts consider the Powerwall as one of the best solar battery backup systems in the market right now.
For starters, it has a total energy capacity of 14 kWh, which is more than sufficient to cover half your home’s daily energy usage.
This is particularly essential when you want to use the Powerwall at night. Its three operating modes that include solar self-consumption, time-based control, and backup power, allow you to select when and how to release or store energy in the Powerwall.
Each Powerwall system comes with the Tesla Gateway that allows for energy metering, monitoring, and management.
Over time, the Tesla Gateway adjusts automatically according to your energy use so you don’t have to make manual changes.
Can you go off the grid with Tesla Powerwall?
Yes. You can go off the grid with Tesla Powerwall as long as it has stored enough power to meet your home’s energy needs. The Tesla Powerwall has a massive 14 kWh capacity (usable 13.5 kWh), which is adequate to meet half your daily home energy usage.
The best part about it is that Tesla Powerwall is stackable, meaning you can add 9 other additional battery backups for a total energy capacity of 126 kWh.
Going off the grid simply means not connecting to any utility company’s electric grid. Disconnecting entirely from an independent electric grid can be a huge decision that has massive financial implications.
It means you have to invest in a large solar system with several Powerwall battery backups to meet your home’s energy usage.
This will, without a doubt, cost a lot of money in initial costs, but the amount of funds you part with might pay itself over time if you engage the right professionals to carry out a feasibility study on your property.
Modern Aesthetic Roof
Tesla Roofs are modern and beautiful. Unlike traditional solar panels, which are typically mounted on the roof or garage, Tesla Solar Roofs are integrated into your home’s architectural design. They also have no visible mounting hardware and weather-resistant materials so they can stand up to the elements.
Understanding Solar Power Conversion
Tesla Solar Roofs are designed to capture the sun’s energy and turn it into direct current (DC) electricity. The DC electricity is then converted into alternating current (AC) electricity, which powers your home.
Tesla Solar and Powerwalls: 100% Whole Home Backup!
With the Tesla Powerwall, you can enjoy your home just as if you were still connected to the grid. Whether it’s after sunset or if a power outage occurs, stored power from your Powerwall will be pulled to begin generating electricity. In fact, most backup generators take up to 10 minutes to start producing energy, but the Tesla Powerwall starts almost instantly – meaning that you can rely on it anytime of day.
Why Choose A Tesla Solar Roof?
Tesla Solar Roofs are a game changer for the industry. They are the first and only solar photovoltaic array system that is also a roof system. Tesla backs their Tesla Solar Roofs with a 25-year warranty that covers all of the roofing components, including the glass tiles and active cooling heat transfer fluid.
Durability of a Tesla Solar Roof
Tesla Solar Roof tiles are engineered for all-weather protection and are more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles. They can endure extreme heat and cold, hail impacts, wind driven rain, and even solar radiation caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
The cost of a Tesla Solar Roof is based on:
- The size of the roof
- The number of Powerwalls chosen
- The size of the PV array
Use Tesla’s online calculator for base pricing!
KPost Company is a Tesla Solar Roof installer and we can help you determine whether or not you’re ready to take the next step and purchase one of these unique roofs. We are dedicated to making sure your investment pays off, as well as ensuring that your house will get maximum efficiency when it comes to energy consumption.
Applying for Tesla solar panels
He didn’t shop around for a solar provider, since he knew people who worked at Tesla, and people whose solar projects were installed by them. The application process was smooth, he notes – you apply online, and get an evaluation of your home’s solar potential, which they do through satellite photography.
“For example, maybe you have a chimney, skylight or gas vent they have to fit the solar panels around – I had all three, on my multi-level home with a steeply-pitched roof with a lot of angles and peaks – or trees that cause lots of shade,” he adds.
The power of battery backup
Since he wanted battery backup, he chose two powerwalls, as recommended. “Battery backup isn’t just helpful in emergencies, during power loss due to wildfires, but on a daily basis, since you pull energy stored in the battery first before pulling energy from the grid, and so save money. During the day you’re not using much energy, evening is peak demand,” Yarrow says.
He chose solar panels, not a solar roof – which uses Tesla’s own technology and was almost twice the price of panels. They gave him an estimate, and he made a deposit (fully refundable) of about 450,000.
Tesla then offered a proposal, a design for where the panels would go, and a detailed estimate. It cost less than the original estimate, since they couldn’t fit as many panels on his roof than initially thought. He approved it, and made a 50% down payment.
Go solar at home
Get matched with a LeafScore approved solar company
- 100% free to use
- Get matched in under 3 minutes
- LeafScore rated solar companies
A crew installed the solar project in one day, about a month after he approved it, and paid 50%. “I had to send photographs of all my electrical panels and exterior walls, so they’d know where to install the power walls.”
“Then, I began a looong, slooow process. This is where the hiccups started.”
Tesla finished the installation, except for digging a deep hole and putting in grounding rods. It’s a safety requirement, so if the house is struck by lightning, the electricity is conducted into the ground. Several new electrical boxes were mounted on the outside of his house, which meant moving a gutter downspout, an extra 700.
As he waited to hear when the grounding rods would be installed, which were required for him to pass the building inspection, six weeks went by. Instead, his project manager, tasked with submitting solar power plans to the local municipality for the permit required, said the inspector would come on a certain date. His house passed the inspection.
“Then the three-month battle to get my grounding rods in begins. Tesla says, you don’t need them because you passed inspection, but I did need them; it’s a requirement,” notes Yarrow. “I must have done seven phone calls, 27 emails – horrible customer service.”
Permission to Operate and system start
After the grounding rods were put in, it took four months for Tesla to submit his solar project to Pacific Gas Electric to obtain the all-important Permission to Operate letter, which means you can finally turn on your solar installation and start saving money.
So since Yarrow’s system was installed in July 2021 but didn’t start running until November or December, he says he lost hundreds of dollars, since he had to keep paying PGE the full rate all that time. “Tesla had no financial incentive to act since they already had my money,” says Yarrow.
After PGE turned on his solar system, “It worked like a charm,” he says. His monthly electricity bills plummeted from about 300-500 a month to 188 in April (“it was cold, so lots of heat”), only 23 in May (“it was mild”), 90 in June, and 220 in July (“it was hot, so lots of air conditioning”).
“Tesla probably has the best technology in the business.” The long delay beforehand? “My customer service experience was atrocious.”
In a comparison of the best solar providers in the US, Forbes gave Tesla an A for BBB Grade and a Very Good customer rating, praising its Pros: a “well-designed and easy to use app with monitoring and control,” “powerwall bundled with every Tesla purchase” and price-match guarantee with other solar providers. Its only con noted some customers experience installation delays.