Updated 3 weeks ago

Expert review of Tesla solar panels: are they right for you?

SolarReviews experts scored Tesla a 3.1 out of 5 stars. Tesla Energy's products are good quality, easy to order, and affordable, but the company's poor customer service brought its score down. If you want cheap solar panels, get Tesla. If you want a quality installation process, look elsewhere.
Get quotes from local solar companies to compare to Tesla's estimates

Pros and cons of going solar with Tesla

Pros
  • Cheap

  • Easy to order

  • Good products

  • Sleek design

Cons
  • Poor customer service

  • Average product performance

  • Difficult to find product information

  • Difficult to find product information


What solar products does Tesla have?

Product

Solar panels

Powerwall

Solar Roof

Type

PV panels

Solar battery

Solar shingles

Average installation cost

$15,000

$14,000

$50,000

Features

400 W, 20.4% efficiency, 25-year product and performance warranties

13.5 kWh capacity, 7.6 kW output, 10-year warranty

72 W, 25-year product, performance, weatherization warranties, requires total roof replacement

Best for

Cheap solar installation

Energy storage on a budget

Luxury homes

Tesla offers three main solar-related products:

  • Tesla solar panels

  • The Tesla Solar Roof

  • The Tesla Powerwall battery

Let's take a closer look at each.


Tesla solar panels

A 2-person Tesla crew on a roof finishing the solar installation

Image courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

Tesla solar panels are just like solar panels you would get from any other company. Depending on where you live, they’ll be installed by Tesla’s installation crew or a Certified Tesla Installer.  

Tesla does not manufacture its own panels. Instead, it sources solar panels from other manufacturers.

Tesla’s solar panels are average in performance but have an all-black design, so they don’t stand out as much on your roof as some competitors. Tesla also installs its panels on special mounting equipment so the panels have a low profile and fewer holes are drilled into your roof. 

Tesla Solar Roof

A detail illustration of the Tesla solar roof

Image courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

The Tesla Solar Roof is Tesla’s solar shingle option. Solar shingles are essentially small solar panels designed to look like ordinary roofing materials so there are no noticeable solar panels on the roof. 

The Tesla Solar Roof requires a full roof replacement so all the shingles are uniform across the entire roof. While this keeps the roof looking great, it does make a Tesla Solar Roof installation quite expensive. 

You can read more about what our solar experts have to say about the company’s solar shingles in our Tesla Solar Roof complete review.

What's the difference between Tesla solar panels and the Tesla Solar Roof?

Tesla solar panels are installed on top of your existing roofing material and generate electricity for your home. The Tesla Solar Roof is your roof — instead of shingles, you'll have roofing tiles that produce solar energy.

Tesla Powerwall battery

A photo of a Tesla Powerwall battery installed on the exterior wall of home at night

Image courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

Tesla’s Powerwall battery is the company’s best solar product. The Powerwall is charged by excess energy produced by the solar panels or solar roof and is discharged when solar energy isn’t being generated. You can even use the Powerwall to run your appliances during a grid outage. 

The battery can store 13.5 kWh of energy, enough to power key appliances for over 24 hours during a blackout, and comes with an easy-to-use monitoring app. A Powerwall installation costs about $15,500 through Tesla, making it one of the most affordable solar batteries on the market.


Tesla solar panel performance review

Cost per watt

Panel wattage

Efficiency

Dimensions

Product warranty

Performance warranty

Industry average

$3.00 per watt

400 W

20% - 21%

65” x 39”

12 year

25-year, 0.50% annual degradation rate

Tesla solar panels

$2.50 per watt

400 W

20.4%

74.4" x 41.2"

25 years

25-year, 0.54% annual degradation rate

Tesla solar panels are pretty average when it comes to performance. There is no stand-out specification that they really excel at, which may be surprising given that Tesla comes across as a luxury brand. Tesla claims that the actual panels installed on your roof may not match these specifications exactly, as they have a few different models. 

They are a bit larger than most solar panels, but the measurements include the frame, and the size is only a concern if you have limited roofing space. Overall, Tesla’s panels will get the job done, but they’re not the best solar panels you can buy. 

Where Tesla excels is its pricing and product warranty. Tesla solar panels are much cheaper than the average solar panel installation, and Tesla has a price match guarantee if you find an installer charging less. 

The product warranty is almost twice as long as the industry average, which is great if you run into an issue down the road. Tesla solar installations come with an additional 10-year comprehensive warranty that covers other aspects of the installation, like the Tesla solar inverter, roof mounts, and leaks. In most cases, these are all covered by separate warranties from individual manufacturers, so it’s nice that with Tesla, it’s all covered by one company. 

Looking for the best solar panels to install on your roof?

What customers have to say about going solar with Tesla

Customer reviews for Tesla from SolarReviews.com

Bradley from California gave Tesla one star and said "Tesla is always eager to sell you something but when it comes to repairs they're always going to tell you that your case has been escalated. My solar system for the last 18 months has been out of order more than it's been in order. You the consumer have to jump through hoops to get anything done, the phone screeners are very good at sympathizing but that's about it. Go elsewhere for Solar!!"

David from California gave Tesla five stars and said "I have been anticipating the installation of Tesla solar for a few weeks. The team didn't disappoint. In all aspects, they were direct, professional and fast. The installation team was a sight to behold, they set up, installed and explained what I needed to know faster than I thought they would. Nice work guys!"

It’s true that you’ll probably get the lowest price for going solar when you go with Tesla. But the price of solar also includes the cost of the long-term relationship you get with your solar installer, which seems to be where Tesla cuts costs. 

Reviews from customers indicate that Tesla doesn’t do the best job at supporting their customers before or after the solar installation. There is very little communication before the installation begins, and customers have found it difficult to get a response if something goes wrong with their system after installation. The longer it takes to fix your system, the more money you can potentially lose. 

It’s not always a bad experience. Some homeowners have reported stellar installations through Tesla and are very satisfied with their systems. But, we will say many of the positive reviews on our site highlight the installation crews, not the experience with Tesla representatives. 

This is the kind of variation you can get with a large company like Tesla, but it’s up to you if it’s worth the risk. You can read real customer reviews about going solar with Tesla right here on SolarReviews.  


How much does Tesla solar cost?

Tesla solar panels

Tesla Solar Roof

Tesla Powerwall

$15,000

$50,000

$14,000

Estimated cost of Tesla solar installations before incentives for an average home

Tesla solar panels cost about $2.50 per watt before incentives. That works out to $15,000 for an average-sized solar installation. The actual installation cost will vary depending on how many solar panels you need if it’s installed by Tesla or a Certified Installer, and the complexity of your roof. 

The Tesla Solar Roof price is more expensive, with an average cost of $50,000. This does include an entire roof replacement, but the price is higher than if you got a traditional roof replacement and solar system installed. 

The Powerwall costs roughly $14,000, which is a very reasonable price for an energy storage system. But that’s the price if you purchase it through Tesla. The installation cost could be higher if you get a Powerwall from a different solar installer. 

Tesla does offer customers solar loan financing options if they don’t have the cash for an upfront purchase. You can read more about the cost of Tesla solar and how to pay for it in our full Tesla solar panel cost breakdown

How much will solar panels cost for your specific home?

Additional benefits of Tesla solar panels

Tesla solar installations have other benefits besides cheap solar panels or a great battery. Some other benefits of Tesla solar include:

  • System monitoring: Tesla has one of the best solar monitoring interfaces in the game. Your solar production, usage, and battery status can be checked right from your phone in the Tesla app. It’s easy to use and understand. 

  • Tesla’s inverter: Tesla’s solar inverter is great! With four maximum power point trackers, the single inverter can be used for even the most complex system designs. It also has a similar design to the Powerwall, so it looks sleek compared to other string inverters. 

  • System components from one company: When you go solar with Tesla, all your equipment comes from one company. This means you only deal with one place for all of your future warranty needs instead of figuring out who to call for each piece of your system. 


Final verdict: Is Tesla solar right for you?

Overall, if cheap solar is what you’re looking for, Tesla’s the way to go. Tesla sells solar panels for much less than other installation companies because it doesn't have to worry about customer acquisition costs and often subcontracts out the actual installations. 

Despite the vibe that the Tesla brand gives off, its solar panels are pretty average. They look nice, and the proprietary racking makes them a more discrete addition to your roof, but they're nothing special when it comes to performance. The company also doesn’t provide the full specs for the Solar Roof, making it hard to judge whether it’s worth the extremely high price. 

To us, the best product Tesla offers is the Tesla Powerwall battery. It’s a great battery, looks nice, and is one of the most affordable storage options available. Even better, you can get a Powerwall from a local solar installer that isn’t Tesla.

Tesla’s customer service reputation is a huge red flag for us. Anecdotes from customers across the internet show that Tesla doesn’t support its customers. Whether in the lead-up to the installation or after it’s completed, Tesla seems to leave homeowners hanging. Our solar experts value customer service and satisfaction as one of the most important things to consider when looking for a solar installer. 

If you want a high-quality installation and don’t mind paying a little extra for 25 years of support, we recommend getting quotes from at least a few local solar companies. Local companies tend to have higher customer satisfaction, might have better-performing products, and are usually there to help you every step of the way. 

Find trusted local solar pros in your area

Methodology

We rated Tesla by looking at four factors: customer satisfaction, quality of products, availability, company profitability, and price. We believe these criteria cover some of the most important things a homeowner should consider when looking at a large, national solar brand like Tesla. 

When scoring the quality, value, and availability of Tesla Energy products, Tesla solar panels and the Powerwall battery were weighted higher than the Solar Roof because it’s a luxury product that hasn’t quite hit widespread popularity yet. 

A circle chart showing the proportions of the total score that go to each factor

Customer satisfaction - 37.5%

We reviewed Tesla’s customer reviews on our site to gauge homeowner’s satisfaction with Tesla installations. When looking for a solar installer, a key thing to look at is customer reviews for the company and speaking with previous customers. 

Quality of products - 25%

We analyzed Tesla’s solar products and compared their performance to other top industry brands to determine the quality of each. 

The quality of the Powerwall analyzed the capacity, power output, expandability, warranty, design, and usability. The solar panel’s efficiency, temperature coefficient, presence on the PVEL scorecard, and warranty were considered for quality. The Solar Shingle's wattage per square inch, temperature coefficient, and warranties were reviewed. 

Value - 12.5%

We looked at the estimated average price per watt for Tesla solar panels, the price per kWh of storage for the Powerwall, and the price per square foot of a Tesla Solar Roof compared to other popular solar shingle and roof replacement options. 

Availability - 12.5%

It doesn’t matter how great (or cheap) a product is if it’s not easily available. We used data from the California DG Stats database, public information regarding certified Tesla installers, and respondent data from our 2022 solar industry survey. 

Profitability - 12.5%

The profitability of a large installation company is important so you can get an idea of if the company can support you over the full 25-year lifespan of your system. We reviewed public financial records to determine the profitability score.  

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Written by Catherine Lane Solar Industry Expert

Catherine is the Written Content Manager at SolarReviews, where she has been at the forefront of researching and reporting on the solar industry for five years. She leads a dynamic team in producing informative and engaging content on residential solar to help homeowners make informed decisions about investing in solar panels. Catherine’s expertise has garnered attention from leading industry publications, with her work being featured in Sola...

Learn more about Catherine Lane