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Tesla Solar Panels: Your Top 5 Questions Answered!

Tesla recently announced an important addition to its renewable energy portfolio—Tesla solar panels. These panels come as another option for homeowners looking to install solar on their home who do not feel ready for their fully integrated solar roof option.

Tesla solar panel close

With the recent announcement and subsequent offering of Tesla solar panels came a lot of questions. Luckily, the solar experts at NRG Clean Power broke down the top 5 most important questions homeowners are asking and curated this list to help you with your solar buying journey!

1. What are the new Tesla solar panels?

Tesla has not yet released much information regarding the actual specs of their new solar panel. However, we do know that the Tesla solar panels are 340-watt modules backed by a 25 year performance guarantee. Most likely, these solar panels will compare to Panasonic’s 340-watt modules. The Tesla panels, however, boast an incredibly sleek black-on-black design that seamlessly ties into any roof.

What is the difference between the Tesla solar roof and panels?

To better understand Tesla’s new solar panels, you first need to understand their first solar product, the Tesla Solar Roof

The Solar Roof is an integrated solar tile roofing system, which has a striking look but can be more complicated to retrofit on existing homes. This product takes the functionality of solar panels and integrates it into roof shingles. 

Tesla’s solar panels, by comparison, are better suited for a standard solar installation that can be affixed to an existing roof. The Tesla solar panels compare much better to traditional solar panels. These panels equate to what most homeowners think of when considering installing residential solar. 

2. How are Tesla solar panels so cheap?

The most straightforward answer to this question—the Tesla brand and model drives down cost. 

Tesla has a simple online ordering process and relies on organic search as well as brand recognition to drive traffic to their site. And, Tesla’s model drastically differs from most contemporary solar companies to their benefit. 

By offering four standard system sizes and having the whole process online, they’ve cut out the need for salespeople to go over specifications and detailed information with homeowners. 

Tesla offers neither customized nor tailored solar solutions. 

All of this practically eliminates overhead costs that many other solar companies face. Not to mention, Tesla’s overarching scale allows them to undercharge for their panels and take a slight loss at the front end of the deal. 

3. What makes Tesla solar panels different?

Arguably, the biggest difference between Tesla’s solar modules and others is how they look on the roof. Installation photos demonstrate a product with a sleek all-black finish, consistent with Tesla’s impeccable reputation for design. However, Tesla is neither the first nor only only company to offer all-black solar panels. Many major brands in solar have offered similar black-on-black design for years, including LG, Panasonic, Solaria and more! 

Considering that, the overall system design still differs between Tesla and its competition.

The Tesla website states, “Our solar panels blend into your roof with integrated front skirts and no visible mounting hardware.” 

The included skirts create a beveled edge, wrapping around the roof-mounted modules. This causes the solar array to appear almost integrated into the roof, as with the Solar Roof. While Tesla does not have exclusive rights to this technology, they have prioritized its use in order to maintain clean designs across the board.

4. How long does it take to install Tesla solar panels?

This question is top-of-mind for many homeowners interested in Tesla’s new product. Unfortunately, the answer probably won’t satisfy most.
Technically, with most accredited solar companies, the installation of any solar array should only take one day to complete. 

The issue with Tesla solar products? Historically, Tesla has struggled with supply, creating backlogs and waitlists for interested consumers. This causes would-be customers to wait anywhere from a couple weeks to a few months to just get the products. 

While Tesla leadership states that their supply chain issues have since been resolved, customers tell a different story

While we cannot guarantee that you will see long wait times for the new solar panels, we can offer the historical context. If you absolutely want to install Tesla solar products, you will most likely have to wait for them to become available first.

5. Do I need to purchase a Powerwall with my Tesla solar panels?

Elon Musk’s recent tweets have sparked a lot of questions regarding Tesla solar and their suite of products. 

“Starting next week, Tesla Solar Panels & Solar Roof will only be sold as an integrated product *with* Tesla Powerwall battery,” Elon Musk stated on his personal Twitter account in April 2021. 

Integrating these into a single product will make installations easier and home backup more seamless during outages, according to Musk. The change will affect both Tesla’s solar panels and its Solar Roof.However, with the increase in inclement weather and subsequent power outages across the country, many homeowners who wanted to go solar want to add backup battery already. Integrating these offerings seems like a very logical and sensible solution.

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