Tesla Solar Review Guide (Costs, Services & More) [2022]

In this EcoWatch review guide on Tesla Solar, you’ll learn:

  • Whether Tesla Solar products are worth the hype
  • How Tesla Solar Panels differ from the Tesla Solar Roof
  • Why Tesla Solar products are so cheap
  • How Tesla Solar customers view the company

This review guide has helped thousands of homeowners decide whether Tesla Solar is best for their home, saving them time and money in the process. Let’s get started!

Ecowatch Author Kristina Zagame

By Kristina Zagame

Updated 6/21/2022

Why You Can Trust EcoWatch

We work with a panel of solar experts to create unbiased reviews that empower you to make the right choice for your home. No other solar site has covered renewables as long as us, which means we have more data and insider information than other sites.

Best Technology
Badge icon

Nationwide Service

Ecowatch rating

Average cost

$$$$$

Tesla Energy

  • Pros icon Price-match guarantee
  • Pros icon Sleek, efficient and durable solar panels
  • Pros icon Best solar battery on the market
  • Con icon Some reported issues with customer service
  • Con icon Customer service varies by local dealer

Services Offered

  • Service icon Solar Panels
  • Service icon Solar Batteries
  • Service icon EV Chargers
  • Service icon Solar Roof Shingles
  • Service icon System Monitoring

Is Tesla a Good Solar Company?

Tesla Solar is one of the top solar companies and is the first-place choice for many households (which is unsurprising given their success in the electric vehicle market). Based on our market research and data, we’ve found Tesla Solar to offer the best technology in the solar industry. We also like that you can get a free quote, order products and match with a certified installer directly through its website.

Tesla Solar Pros Tesla Solar Cons
Price-match guarantee and affordable financing options Customer service is reportedly spotty
Advanced solar panel technology with sleek design and long-term durability Tesla installations have struggled with safety issues in the past (Tesla systems have caught fire in a small number of cases).
Offers one of the solar batteries on the market (the Tesla Powerwall II) Cannot purchase Powerwall battery separately

How Did We Rate Tesla Solar?

Category Tesla Solar Star Rating
Reputation 4.0
Cost & Financing 4.75
Services 4.5
Installation Process 4.25
Customer Experience 4
EcoWatch Rating 4.5

Tesla Solar is one of the top solar companies, but they’re up against some other great contenders. The inherent diversity in the market is a great opportunity for potential customers to shop for their best option and identify what specific offerings best align with their energy needs and budget.

If you want to see how much a Tesla solar panel system would cost for your home, you can use the company’s design feature.

How Did Tesla Enter the Solar Industry?

Tesla enterprise has sought to become the first and foremost name in U.S. solar rooftop installations. These efforts started back in 2016 when Tesla acquired the company SolarCity.

At the time, SolarCity was the leading residential solar installer in the country, and it just happened to be founded by cousins of Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Tesla and SolarCity have accomplished some amazing things, including powering an entire island with solar. But numerous other solar manufacturers have made strong plays in the residential solar market, and some of those leaders, such as Sunrun and Vivint Solar, have jockeyed back and forth with Tesla for being the market leader.

Rankings vary depending on the year, quarter or even month observed, though no single provider ends up providing more than 15% of the market share. Still, Tesla remains a top spot for many households.

Tesla Solar Fast Facts
Year Started 2003
Service Areas 50 states (installation availability may vary)
Service Types Solar panel, solar battery, solar roof shingles and EV charger installations
Backup Battery Options Tesla Powerwall
Certifications Tesla Certified Installer
Better Business Bureau Rating N/A

What Solar Products Does Tesla Offer?

The basic offerings that Tesla solar has become known for are:

  • Tesla solar panels: Standard rectangular panels most people associate with solar installations
  • Tesla Solar Roof: Rather than panels on top of the roof, these systems use solar shingles designed to cover the entire roof and look like the roof tiles themselves
  • Tesla Powerwall: Rechargeable home battery Tesla can install in conjunction with new solar systems or add to existing systems to maximize efficiency and effectiveness of home energy use and protect you in cases of power outages

Tesla Solar Panels

Tesla solar panel

The most basic offering, and the one the majority of customers are envisioning when considering solar energy for their household, are standard Tesla solar panels. These work the same way as any rooftop solar panel, but the main features that set Tesla solar panels apart from competitors’ products include:

  • 24/7 monitoring: You can keep tabs on your panels at any time and from anywhere through a mobile monitoring app. The app tracks your panels’ performance, efficiency and generation, as well as detects any issues with your system.
  • Aesthetics: Tesla prioritizes the design of its rooftop panels in a way competitors don’t, creating a sleek, blended, low-profile installation that brings direct curbside appeal.
  • Streamlined pre-installation: As part of Tesla’s solar panel installation process, homeowners send in photos of their equipment and system spaces rather than having a crew come out to inspect these areas. This helps bring Tesla’s prices below the national average.

The exact nature of the installation chosen for your home will be customized based on your rooftop, power needs, geography, budget and more.

Category Tesla Solar Specs Why it Matters
Wattage 42 5W Most residential solar panels run around 250 W to 300 W. This means you will need to purchase fewer Tesla panels to produce a certain amount of power.
Operating Temperatures -40°F to 185°F These are the lowest and highest temperatures your Tesla solar panels will operate in. While it’s not likely they will ever reach these extremes, most residential solar panels are rated to similar degrees.
Size 82.4″ x 40.9″ x 1.57″ (including frame) Most residential solar panels measure about 65 inches by 39 inches. Tesla’s are longer, which allows you to purchase fewer modules.
Warranty 25 years Tesla’s warranty is about average for the industry.
Inverter 3.8 kW or 7.6 kW The Tesla Solar Inverter is a key part of the home solar system, as it converts the panel’s direct current (DC) power into usable alternating current (AC) power for in-home consumption. Tesla’s inverters operate at 97.5% efficiency and come with a 12.5-year warranty.

Tesla solar roof

Tesla Solar Roof

Moving beyond the conventional solar panels that are associated with household solar power, Tesla has made waves with its offering of the Tesla Solar Roof. Note, this is not a new roof, but rather solar shingles that integrate with the look of your existing roof while generating energy to power your home. The Tesla Solar Roof brings with it a host of benefits that makes it more appealing than standard solar panels:

  • The solar shingles are three times more durable than standard panels, meaning the risk of damage from hail, storms or other environmental factors is minimized.
  • By covering the entire rooftop, even more clean solar energy can be generated for the home.
  • The aesthetic appeal of the solar rooftop is undeniable, as no panels appear outside of the existing design of the roof. Note that Tesla used to offer different styles of solar roof tiles, but today it only offers black-on-black tiles.

That said, the decision to go for a full solar roof over standard solar panels is not an obvious choice for all households. These installations bring with them several downsides that may turn customers away:

  • Solar shingles are more expensive to create on a per-watt basis, and they usually have a greater total coverage area. This makes the initial investment notably more expensive and out of reach for many customers.
  • While a storm is more likely to damage a standard solar panel than a solar shingle, if a storm is severe enough that it can cause Solar Roof damage, repair costs will be higher than they would be for other types of solar panel repairs.
  • Solar panels can be readily installed and then removed later on for any reason a homeowner may choose, but the solar roof is a more permanent decision.

While customers may have an untold number of solar panel providers to choose from when going the traditional route, Tesla is among the only companies offering solar shingles today.

Read Also: Tesla pauses solar roof installations due to supply issues

Tesla powerwall

Tesla Powerwall

The last Tesla solar product that homeowners may be considering is the Tesla Powerwall, which is one of the best solar battery storage systems on the market. By adding a battery to your home solar system, you can use solar energy even when the sun isn’t shining (like at night or on cloudy days), have power stored up in case of a utility outage, and even sell the excess energy back to the grid when energy costs are greatest.

When considering Tesla solar energy storage for a new or existing solar system, customers will come across both the Tesla Powerwall and the Tesla Powerwall+. The Powerwall+ comes with additional benefits (at an additional cost, of course). Key differences between these two options include the following:

Category Tesla Powerwall Tesla Powerwall+
Energy Capacity 13.5 kWh 13.5 kWh
On-Grid Power 5.8 kW continuous 7.6 kW / 5.6 kW continuous
Backup Power 10 kW peak 9.6 kW / 7 kW continuous 22 kW / 10 kW peak
Size 45.3″ x 29.6″ x 5.75″ 251.3 lbs 62.8″ x 29.7″ x 6.3″ 343.9 lbs
Warranty 10 years 10 years

All customers who install a Tesla Solar system, whether standard solar panels or a Solar Roof, are required to purchase a Powerwall (or Powerwall) to ensure the highest efficiency and effectiveness of their system. The Powerwall and Powerwall are also available for purchase alone to pair with an existing non-Tesla solar installation, though the homeowner will still need to utilize a Tesla-certified installer.

How Does Tesla’s Solar Installation Process Work?

When you buy a solar panel module from Tesla Solar, you’re a part of the installation process. Here’s an overview of what you can expect from your Tesla Solar panel installation:

Step 1: Order online

On its website, Tesla Solar says it will recommend the right system size for your needs based on your electricity usage and your address.

Step 2: Virtual home assessment

As part of Tesla’s solar panel installation process, homeowners send in photos of their equipment and system spaces rather than having a crew come out to inspect these areas before installation (which helps bring total costs below the national average). Then, Tesla Solar representatives will create a solar design for your home, while you remain part of the process. The exact nature of the installation chosen for your home will be customized based on your rooftop, power needs, geography, budget and more.

Step 3: Installation

Tesla Solar states on its website that most solar installations are finished the same day, and you only need to be at your house for the first hour. After installation is complete, Tesla will work with your local building department to schedule an inspection. For systems that come with a Powerwall for energy storage, Tesla will work with your utility company to receive permission to operate your system.

Step 4: Power on

Once you’re given the thumbs up, you’re set to power on your Tesla energy products. What’s cool about Tesla is that you can monitor your solar system’s energy production through the Tesla app, so you can monitor your energy usage, know exactly how much energy you’re generating, and ultimately stay on top of how cost-effective your panels are.

Watch Below: see for yourself what the Tesla Solar Panel installation process looks like

How Much Do Tesla Solar Products Cost?

Tesla offers a price-match guarantee and affordable financing options for its solar panels. You can choose to pay for your Tesla Solar system with cash upfront or by taking on a solar loan through the company. Tesla does not offer solar leases.

At the time of this publication, a Tesla solar system (including equipment and installation) can vary in cost from $11,840 for 8.2 kW of standard solar panels to $22,200 for 16.3 kW (both after tax incentives).

A Tesla Solar Roof will have a higher price tag, typically in the ballpark of $30,000 to $90,000. A Tesla Powerwall (for backup power) will be about $8,500 to $10,500 per 13.5 kWh battery.

These costs represent a wide range of system sizes, local geographies, available tax incentives and more.

What Financing Options Does Tesla Solar Provide?

There are two main ways to pay for your Tesla Solar energy system: Cash or solar loan. By choosing cash, you will immediately own your system and pay the up-front cost of the system in full. By taking on a loan, you’ll still own your solar power system, but you can pay in monthly installments.

According to Tesla’s website, the monthly loan payment for solar is often lower than your monthly energy bill, so you could see immediate savings.

Here’s what each financing option includes at a glance:

Cash Purchase Solar Loan
System Ownership
Maintenance Included 10 year comprehensive and 25-year panel performance warranty 10 year comprehensive and 25-year panel performance warranty
Upfront Cost
Added Property Value
Eligible for Tax Credit
Payment Due to Solar Installer Loan Provider

If you’re wondering what’s the best way to pay for solar panels, check out our solar financing guide. It’s full of information on solar payment options and recommendations tailored to your needs. Click here to read more about solar financing.

Do Tesla Solar Products Come With a Warranty?

Tesla Solar equipment comes with two warranties, including a 10-year comprehensive warranty and a 25-year panel performance warranty.

  • Comprehensive Warranty: Your Tesla solar system is covered by a 10-year warranty. That means for the first decade after your solar panel installation, Tesla should perform any maintenance or labor request related to your solar system at no cost. The warranty covers issues related to roof mounting and leaks, your Tesla solar inverter and/or your Powerwall.
  • Panel Performance Warranty: Your solar panels are protected by what Tesla calls a “panel performance warranty” for at least 25 years following installation. Under this warranty, your solar panels are guaranteed at least 80% of nameplate power capacity. Tesla should process any claims and perform any related labor at no cost.

What Should Homeowners Know About Tesla’s Customer Service?

One of the biggest complaints against Tesla Solar is its reportedly spotty customer service. Business Insider even featured an article detailing how several Tesla Solar customers were reportedly “ghosted or sent in circles” by customer service representatives in 2021. Many of the customer reviews on Tesla Energy Solar’s Yelp page also complained of poor customer support experiences.

What Do Current/Former Customers Think About Tesla Solar?

Tesla Solar reviews

We’ve covered the basics of what Tesla Solar has to offer in terms of products, services and financing, so now let’s dive into what its customers have to say about the experience. As mentioned previously, a lot of Tesla Solar customers have complained about the provider’s spotty customer service. However, Tesla Solar also has hundreds of happy customers who rave about the quality of Tesla’s solar installation and product.

Before we dive into some perspectives, we’d like to mention that, because Tesla Solar is a national company, your experience may vary depending on the installers in your area. For example, Tesla Solar might be a good choice for homeowners in California, but not in upstate New York. We recommend finding reviews from people in your area, as you’ll likely have a similar installation experience to theirs.

Positive Reviews

Many Tesla Solar customers have raved about their great experiences with their solar installers on customer review sites. A few reviews we saw even mentioned that they switched to Tesla Solar after having consultations with other solar companies and were so grateful they chose Tesla instead.

“I couldn’t not be happier with the system and install… [The team] treated my home as if it were theirs. It was a two-day install because the size of the system. (36 panels, 2 Powerwalls, 2 inverters, Gateway, etc.) They ran 1 conduit with the trim of my house from basement to attic. You can’t even tell [it is] there! … They built a wall in my basement for the inverters, gateway, Powerwalls, and two electric panels. Everything was aligned and no wires showing at all!”– Sarin via Consumer Affairs

We installed Tesla panels two years ago: a 12-panel 3.8 kW system. The installation went seamlessly and the panels save us around 30% of our electric bills. We haven’t had any problems since installing the panels. Highly recommended” – Vladimir via Yelp

Negative Reviews

Negative Tesla Solar reviews typically mention Tesla’s spotty customer service and failure to follow up if something goes wrong after installation (after payment). Here are a few examples:

If I could give less than 1 star I would. Tesla solar has the worst customer service of any company I have ever dealt with. If you are reading these reviews because you are considering using Tesla: run, don’t walk, in the other direction. What is amazing is that they are still in business.” – Diane via Yelp

“Once you pay them, they leave you stranded. Panels do not work because National Grid needs paperwork from Tesla and Tesla keeps saying it is complete. It has been months with useless panels, no customer service support, not even a phone number. This is an extremely difficult process spending so much money and not having the ability to utilize the product.” – Michael via Consumer Affairs

Read More: One year later, a Tesla Solar owner reveals what it’s really like to live on solar

How Does Tesla Solar Compare to Other National Providers?

Tesla is one of the top solar providers in the nation, and one of the few companies to offer solar roof tiles. But is Tesla Solar the best solar energy provider? Here’s an overview of how it stacks up against some of its competitors:

Tesla Solar SunPower Blue Raven Solar
Best Technology Best Overall Best Financing
EcoWatch Rating 4.5 5.0 4.5
Year Started 2003 1985 2014
Services Offered Solar panel, solar battery, solar roof shingles and EV charger installations Solar panel, solar battery and EV charger installations Solar panel installations (batteries coming soon)
Service Areas All 50 states All 50 states 17 states including CO, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, MO, NC, NV, OH, OR, SC, TX, UT, VA
BBB Rating N/A A+ A+
Payment Options Cash payments, loans Cash payments, loans, leases, power purchase agreements (PPAs) Cash payments, loans, leases
Warranty Coverage 25-year panel warranty; 10-year comprehensive warranty 25-year product, production and workmanship warranties 25-year product, production and workmanship warranties

In the end, which solar company is best for you will depend on your specific household needs. If you’re ready to get a free solar quote, click below for a no-obligation home assessment.

FAQ: Tesla Solar Reviews

Here are the most common questions we get about Tesla solar products. If you have specific questions that aren’t answered here, reach out to our team of solar experts at solar@ecowatch.com.

Blog author image

Kristina Zagame

Solar Expert

Kristina Zagame is a journalist and content writer with expertise in solar and other energy-related topics. Before joining EcoWatch, Kristina was a TV news reporter and producer, covering a wide variety of topics including West Coast wildfires and hurricane relief efforts. Kristina’s reporting has taken her all over the U.S., as well as to Puerto Rico and Chile.