Tesla solar panels review: Affordable price, average performance

Tesla solar panels.

Since acquiring SolarCity in 2016, Tesla has expanded its electric vehicle empire to include the Powerwall solar battery, the Solar Roof, and traditional solar panels. 

Tesla’s solar panels are nice to look at and come at an affordable price. The company’s minimalist aesthetic is not lost on its solar panel installations; the all-black panels and hardware offer a clean, low-profile look for your roof. Tesla positions itself as the “lowest cost solar panels in America” and guarantees a price match if you happen to find a cheaper option. Admittedly, Tesla solar panels are some of the least expensive solar panels quoted to customers on the EnergySage Marketplace.

Tesla solar panels are a great choice if you want to go solar on a budget or install a sleek-looking system. If performance is your priority, you should consider other options.

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Key takeaways

  • Tesla solar panels are favorable for budget shoppers and those who prefer the sleek Tesla look. 

  • Aside from cost and aesthetics, Tesla solar panels don't stand out in the solar panel market. They offer average efficiency ratings, warranties, and temperate coefficients.  

  • A 10-kilowatt (kW) Tesla system can cost almost $8,000 less than the average cost of solar.

  • A Tesla solar panel system can integrate with its other products, like the Powerwall solar battery.

A Tesla solar energy system usually delivers bang for your buck. In addition to solar panels, the total price you pay to go solar includes equipment like the inverter and racking systems, installation, taxes, and other business costs. Tesla produces its own inverter and hardware, which helps its affordability. The price match guarantee further commits Tesla to its position as the lowest cost solar panels. 

Priced at $2.22 per watt, the Tesla S Series 425 Watt (W) solar panel is currently the only panel listed on the EnergySage Solar Panel Buyer’s Guide. Based on our price per watt, the gross cost of a 10-kilowatt (kW) system is $22,200 – about 26% less than the average cost of solar.

Solar incentives and rebates will likely cut your overall solar installation costs significantly. State and local incentives vary, but the federal solar tax credit is available nationwide and reduces the cost of solar by 30%. The federal solar tax credit alone brings the cost of that 10 kW Tesla system down to $15,540. 

On brand with its famous electric vehicles, Tesla designs two lines of solar panels with a “clean” and “minimalist” aesthetic. Available in a black finish, both the S Series and the H Series use low-profile installation technology with no visible grid lines and concealed edges so the system appears more integrated into your roof. 

S Series

The S Series boasts a maximum efficiency rating of 19.8% and outputs up to 430 Watts. 

  • 420 W

  • 425 W

  • 430 W 

H Series

The H Series is more efficient than the S Series but has lower output ratings. 

  • 395 W

  • 400 W

  • 405 W

Comparing your solar panel options based on efficiency, performance, warranty, and price will help you understand which panels best fit your needs. Let’s see how Tesla stacks up against SunPower’s U Series, another budget-friendly option.

Tesla vs. SunPower solar panels

(Click to sort ascending)
Tesla H Series 405 W
Sun Power U Series 405 W
Efficiency20.6%20.3%
Performance-0.34% / °C-0.365% / °C
Warranty25 years, 0.50% annual degradation25 years, 0.55% annual degradation

SunPower’s budget panel is slightly less efficient and degrades a bit faster than the Tesla panel. Assuming price match eligibility, Tesla should also be the cheaper option. Below, we dive deeper into what these metrics mean and why they matter. 

Efficiency

Solar panel efficiency gauges how well a solar panel captures sunlight and transforms it into electricity for your home. Under identical conditions, a high-efficiency solar panel will generate more electricity than a lower-efficiency panel of the same size. Solar panels with higher efficiency ratings are generally better investments. 

With an efficiency range from 19.3% to 20.6%, Tesla solar panels aren’t the most efficient on the market. Relative to the most efficient panel quoted to EnergySage customers (SunPower’s M Series 440 W panel at 22.8%), Tesla ranks middle of the pack.

Tesla Solar Panels efficiency

Tesla Solar Panel
Efficiency Rating
Tesla S Series 420 W 19.3%
Tesla S Series 425 W 19.6%
Tesla S Series 430 W19.8%
Tesla H Series 395 W 20.1%
Tesla H Series 400 W 20.4%
Tesla H Series 405 W 20.6%

Performance (temperature coefficient)

Solar panels perform better when they’re kept cool. Realistically, your solar panels will experience more than a few hot days yearly. Temperature coefficient indicates how well your solar panels will perform in less-than-ideal conditions.

Your solar panel's electricity production decreases by its temperature coefficient for every degree above 25°C (77°F). The lower the temperature coefficient, the better your panels perform in warmer conditions. When Tesla solar panels’ temperature increases by one degree from 25°C (77°F), electricity production decreases by 0.34% for the H series and 0.331% for the S series. 

Here’s how it actually works: the Tesla S Series 430 Watt solar panel has an efficiency rating of 19.8% and a temperature coefficient of -0.331%/ °C. If the temperature of your solar panels increases to 95°F (35 °C), efficiency will fall to 19.1%. 

Like its efficiency ratings, Tesla’s temperature coefficients are satisfactory but nothing special compared to other panels on the market. 

Performance of Tesla Solar Panels vs. other popular brands

Solar Panel Series
Temperature Coefficient
Tesla S Series -0.331%/°C
Tesla H Series -0.34%/°C
Q CELLS Q.TRON BLK M-G2+ -0.30%/°C
Panasonic EverVolt H Series -0.26%/°C
SunPower M Series -0.29%/°C
SunPower U Series -0.365%/°C

Warranties

Under its 25-year performance warranty, Tesla guarantees that its panels will produce at least 85% of their original output by the end of the warranty term for the S series and 86% for the H series. Tesla’s 10-year comprehensive warranty covers the solar inverter, mounting equipment, and Powerwall solar battery.

Tesla’s warranties fit the industry standard but don’t offer anything groundbreaking. 

Power output warranty of Tesla Solar Panels vs. other popular brands

Solar Panel Series
Annual Degradation (%)
Power At Year 25 (%)
Tesla S Series0.54% 85%
Tesla H Series 0.50% 86%
Q CELLS Q.TRON BLK M-G2+ 0.33% 90.58%
Panasonic EverVolt H Series 0.25%92%
SunPower M Series 0.25%92%
SunPower U Series 0.55% 84.8%

Whatever your motivation for switching to solar is, it’s important to weigh your options. Here are some general pros and cons of Tesla solar panels: 

Pros and cons of Tesla solar panels

Pros Of Tesla Solar Panels
Cons Of Tesla Solar Panels
Integration with other Tesla energy products: You can easily integrate a Tesla solar panel system with its other products. Between its solar inverter, Powerwall solar battery, Wall Connector EV charger, and the Tesla app, Tesla is a one-stop shop for solar products.Unpredictability: While production delays have eased compared to previous years, the time it takes to move forward with your Tesla installation depends on where you live. Additionally, Tesla has gained a reputation for subpar customer service.
Cost: Tesla solar panels are affordable compared to others on the market. The company’s price match guarantee further establishes its commitment to being America's lowest cost solar panels. Efficiency & performance: Aside from price, Tesla panels are not a standout in the market. Consider other options if things like efficiency and performance are your main concerns.

If you're a diehard Tesla fan, its solar panels will not disappoint aesthetically. Tesla solar panels are advantageous for those concerned about the look of a solar installation and those wanting to go solar at a lower cost. If you’re not willing to sacrifice efficiency for price, value top-notch customer service, or prefer purchasing solar panels with a standout warranty, Tesla solar panels are not for you.

It’s always best to do your own research when shopping for solar panels. Even if you’re set on Tesla, we recommend comparing multiple offers from different solar installers before making a final decision. Use the EnergySage Marketplace to receive multiple quotes from vetted installers near you. If you're interested in specific equipment (Tesla or otherwise), make a note in your profile when registering.

Find out what solar panels cost in your area in 2024
Please enter a five-digit zip code.
  • 100% free to use, 100% online
  • Access the lowest prices from installers near you
  • Unbiased Energy Advisors ready to help
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