Go Green with Tesla Solar Panels: Cost, Benefits, and Installation
With a low-profile and durable build, Tesla solar panels are designed to deliver efficient solar energy generation. Depending on the panel series, Tesla solar panel efficiency ranges from 19.3% to 20.6%, with a 25-year lifespan.
Tesla Energy started manufacturing solar panels in 2016. It is one of the largest solar manufacturers and installers in the US.
A Tesla solar system comprises solar panels, an inverter, and a solar gateway. The solar panels convert the sunlight that hits your roof into electricity. The solar inverter is connected to the solar panels and converts the electricity generated by the panels to usable energy to power your home appliances.
The solar gateway collects your system’s information and allows you to track it using the Tesla app.
Exploring the Cost of Tesla Solar Panels
Tesla solar panels cost between $3.03 and $3.35 per watt, depending on your location. Tesla solar panel installations are available in multiple pre-set sizes: small (4.8 kilowatts (kW), 12 panels), medium (9.6 kW, 24 panels), large (14.4 kW, 36 panels), and extra large (19.2 kW, 48 panels).
Tesla system cost ranges
|System size||Cost range before 30% tax credit||Cost after 30% tax credit|
|Small (4.8kW)||$14,544 - $16,080||$10,181 - $11,256|
|Medium (9.6kW)||$29,088 - $32,160||$20,362 - $22,512|
|Large (14.4 kW)||$43,632 - $48,240||$30,542 - $33,768|
|Extra large (19.2kW)||$58,176 - $64,320||$40,723 - $45,024|
Tesla solar panels range from 395 to 430-watt capacity with high efficiency and sleek, durable design. Panels are designed with a black anodized aluminum alloy frame spanning 74.4” x 41.2” x 1.57” to 82.4” x 40.9” x 1.57” (including frame). The operating temperature of a Tesla solar panel is between -40°F to +185°F.
The table below summarizes the technical specifications for Tesla solar panels:
|Tesla Solar Panel Specs|
|Operating Temperature||-40°F up to +185°F|
|Efficiency||19.3% to 20.6%|
|Dimensions||74.4” x 41.2” x 1.57” (including frame)
82.4” x 40.9” x 1.57” (including frame)
|Design||Black anodized aluminum alloy frame
Black solar cells and back sheet
|Certifications||IEC / UL 61730, CEC Listed, IEC 61215|
|Warranty||25-year performance guarantee|
|Inverter Power||3.8kW / 7.6kW
|Inverter Dimensions||26” x 16” x 6”|
|Inverter Warranty||12.5 years|
The Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) will be applied to the cost of purchasing your solar panel, roof, and Powerwall. The incentive is calculated as a percentage of the qualified costs.
Your solar system must be installed by December 31st of the year of your installation for your system to qualify for ITC in a given year. You should contact a tax professional for expert advice.
The table below contains the tax credit for each installation year:
|Year of installation||Tax credit|
You can use the information in the table above and the estimated cost of your solar system to calculate how much tax credit you will get. You should speak to a tax professional to determine the amount for IRS Form 5695.
As of May 2023, Tesla solar panels are available in multiple US states, including the District of Columbia in the US. These states include Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. Other states include Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
|US States with Tesla Solar Panel|
|Delaware||District of Columbia||Florida||Hawaii|
|New Hampshire||New Jersey||New Mexico||New York|
Ordering Tesla Solar Panels for Your Home
The process of purchasing Tesla solar panels is fast and easy. Tesla uses an online process that requires you to have a Tesla Account. Homeowners can place an order and contact Tesla (by text, email, or phone) to determine when the installation will be done.
Ordering and Installing a Tesla solar panel generally takes four steps:
Place an order online. Tesla portal requires buyers to provide specific details, like their home address and monthly average electric bill. This information allows Tesla to estimate the roof area, how much sunlight is available, and how much energy the buyer uses. Buyers can also also select from multiple purchase options (solar panels, solar roof, or Powerwall)
With a virtual assessment, homeowners can specify their solar layout choices, finalize their design, and track the progress of their solar installation. Tesla uses high-resolution aerial and satellite imagery to construct the design. Tesla also works with the municipality’s office to obtain the relevant permits for the system. The timeframe is between two to six weeks, depending on the location.
Buyers can select a date for installation when the system is ready. Installation may be completed within the same day. However, you must only be at home during the first hour. Tesla will arrange an inspection with your municipality’s building department once the installation is done. They will also obtain approval from your utility company, where necessary.
With the installation complete, the final step is powering the system. Tesla will inform you when turning on your solar system is safe.
The Tesla solar app is a free app that allows you to easily monitor your solar system’s performance, historical production, and home energy consumption over a particular period. You can manage your Tesla solar system from anywhere by using the app.
The Tesla app assists you in monitoring day-to-day operations and understanding the flow of energy in your house by providing a comprehensive view of your energy ecosystem. The Tesla app home screen shows a real-time power flow, demonstrating how your Powerwall, grid connection, and solar system all work together to power your home.
The Tesla Solar Roof is a building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) product that combines the functionality of solar panels with roof shingles. Solar shingles are small solar panels that are designed to resemble ordinary shingles in appearance and function. They are made of photovoltaic materials such as silicon and may produce electricity while blending in with your roof. Solar Roofs enhance the architecture of a home while converting sunshine into electricity.
Each shingle is 15 by 45 inches, 5 mm thick, and made of glass, polymers, fiberglass, and silicon. The shingle is intended to look like a regular asphalt shingle. Each shingle is 71.67 Watts, so you would need around five shingles to produce the same amount of energy as 350 Watt panel. Tesla offers 25-year guarantees on its products, weatherization, and modules.
You can order Tesla solar roof online by taking the steps below:
Visit Tesla Energy and select “order solar roof.” You must provide your home address, estimated roof size, and monthly average electric bill. Tesla uses this information to recommend the system size to maximize energy savings. The recommendation includes the capacity of the solar roof you should get and the number of Powerwalls you should order.
Reserve your solar system by providing the required information, including name, email address, and phone number. A certified solar installer will contact you. You can also contact Tesla to get updates on your order.
Wait for installation. The installation process involves Tesla obtaining the relevant permits from your local authority. This takes between two to six weeks, depending on your location.
The exact cost of a Tesla solar roof will differ based on a mix of factors such as the size and design of your roof (“simple” or “complex”). If you have a reasonably small - and not overly complex - roof that has to be replaced, the cost of a Solar Roof will most likely be equivalent to that of a new asphalt roof installation plus solar panels. However, if the size and complexity of your roof increase, this cost is likely to increase.
Tesla does not provide direct quotes. However, it provides an online portal that estimates the capacity of the solar system a customer should get. This estimate is based on the customer’s roof area, energy consumption, and how much sunlight they get in their location.
Tesla solar roof costs for an average US home range from $21.00 to $24.50 per square foot. The actual cost depends on the size of your roof, your home energy consumption, installation cost, and the type of shingles selected.
|Size (sq ft)||Floors||Powerwall||KW||Estimated cost (including Powerwall wall costs)|
The Tesla solar rental program no longer exists. The Tesla solar rental program was an innovative variant of the conventional third-party solar system ownership agreement. Customers could install solar with no upfront costs and no long-term contract obligation.
Customers in six states – Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New Mexico – were given three pre-set options for installing solar on their houses through the Tesla solar rental program:
As of 2023, Tesla has two payment types to help meet your needs: cash purchase and Tesla financing. Tesla financing allows you to buy a solar system without paying upfront costs. When you place an order, you will see your projected purchase price, which is split down into a down payment and estimated monthly payments based on your chosen system features. A 10% down payment is due at inspection, and the first payment is due 35 calendar days after products receive Permission to Operate (PTO).
Tesla Powerwall) is an integrated lithium-ion battery system that stores energy for backup power protection. It can be installed with or without solar. As of 2023, Tesla has two Powerwall models: Powerwall 2 and Powerwall+. They both have a 13.5-kWh capacity and offer protection from power outages and off-peak hours of the solar system. The main difference is that the Powerwall+ includes an integrated inverter and system controller.
Each Powerwall system has energy monitoring, metering, and smart controls for owner customization using the Tesla app. Over time, the system learns and adjusts to your energy consumption, and it receives over-the-air updates to add new functions and improve existing ones.
If, like most customers, you use it with solar, Powerwall charges itself using solar energy generated by your solar panels during the day. It stores the energy until your home needs it, mostly when your solar panels no longer produce energy at night or the utility grid is down. If you use it without solar,
Powerwall charges when your utility costs are low and discharges electricity when they are high to help maximize savings. It also acts as a stable backup power during power outages.
Below are the features of the Powerwall 2 and Powerwall+:
|On-Grid Power||5.8kVA continuous||7.6kVA / 5.8kVA continuous*|
|Backup Power||5.8kW continuous
|9.6kW / 7kW continuous*
22kW / 10kW peak*
|Backup Load Start Capability||88A LRA for each Powerwall 98A||LRA for each Powerwall+|
|Solar Integration||Compatible with all grid-tied solar inverters||Integrated solar with 4 MPPTs|
|Communication||Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Cellular LTE/4G with Gateway 2||Integrated Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Cellular LTE/4G|
|Monitoring||Home loads, battery, revenue accuracy (+/- 2%) with Gateway 2 for solar||Home loads, battery, revenue grade (+/- 0.5%) for solar|
|Grid Disconnect||Compatible with Gateway 2 and Backup Switch||Compatible with Gateway 2 and Backup Switch|
|Backup Performance||Seamless backup transition||Seamless backup transition with enhanced off-grid performance|
|Warranty||Ten years||Ten years|
A Tesla Powerwall costs between $11,500 to $14,000 before installation and around $15,500 to $18,000 as a total cost (before incentives and taxes). This actual cost depends on your location and the Powerwall model.
This price does not consider the incentives, like the federal solar tax credit, that you may qualify for that can reduce the purchase cost. The price of the Powerwall reduces when you purchase more batteries and includes a limit of 10 batteries.
For example, while one Powerwall can cost $11,500, two Powerwalls can cost $19,000. There are further discounts for three units up to 10 units. Most homes need one to three Powerwall units, depending on their electricity consumption.
You can purchase your Powerwall unit(s) alone or with Tesla solar panels or Tesla solar roof. There are discounts for customers that purchase their Powerwall unit(s) with their solar system.
The table below breaks down the estimated cost of a Powerwall unit without installation cost:
|Number of Powerwall Units||Per Unit Cost||Total Cost|
When you order Powerwall unit(s) through Tesla’s website, you must provide your address and average monthly electricity cost. Tesla uses this information to estimate how many Powerwall units you need for your home.