Sunrun Solar Review (2023 Cost, Panels & More)
By Dan Simms /
In this guide, you’ll learn:
Elon Musk has long been known for his electric vehicles, but Tesla does more than just make energy-efficient cars. Tesla Energy has revolutionized the solar industry with its advanced solar panels, home batteries and solar roof tiles. With these systems, you can save on energy costs in style.
Tesla solar panels have similar specifications as its competitors, but to see how it stacks up against the best solar panels for homes and to see if Tesla is right for you, read this comprehensive Tesla solar review.
Tesla panels have an efficiency rate that is within the average range but are not the most efficient panels on the market. That is why these solar panels are a great choice for homeowners who live in sunny states like California and Florida. But what Tesla panels lack in efficiency they make up for in appearance, cost and inverter efficiency. To learn more about Tesla solar panels, read on.
Tesla’s solar panels stand out in more ways than one. Not only are they more affordable per watt than the average panel but their sleek appearances have transformed the solar industry. Traditional solar panels are often seen as an eyesore, but Tesla’s modern and low-profile design adds aesthetic appeal to your home.
The average solar panel cost is $2.94 per watt, but Tesla solar panels cost around $2.30 per watt. If you are looking to save costs on your panel system, the Tesla system is a smart choice. Tesla will also price match a competitor quote to the same dollar per watt. As long as you email the quote to Tesla within 14 days of receiving it, you’ll be able to benefit from these cost savings. You’ll be able to send your email in Tesla’s Question Center though your Tesla Account.
Tesla’s inverter is among the most efficient on the market, which means it can convert solar energy to usable electricity better than its competitors. The 97.5% efficiency makes it so that nearly all the energy your panels absorb will be used to power your home.
Tesla seems like a cost-effective option, but you only have four system sizes to choose from, which can make your Tesla system more expensive than competitors’ and result in a higher cost per watt if you need to buy a larger system than your home requires. With many solar providers, you can design a solar system that perfectly matches your home’s energy needs. However, that is not the case with Tesla.
In addition, the wait times for a Tesla solar system are incredibly long. The average wait time for solar installation is about two to six months. But with Tesla, you may wait up to a year to have your panels installed. You will get your panels eventually, but this long wait can be frustrating.
Finally, as we stated earlier, there are more efficient solar panels on the market than Tesla offers. The most efficient solar panels have an efficiency of 22.8%, but Tesla’s panels have an average efficiency of 19.3% to 20.6%. This means that Tesla panels are better suited for regions that get an abundance of sunlight and may not make sense if you live in a state that experiences more cloud cover on average and fewer days of full sunshine.
Tesla offers four solar power systems sizes: 4.8kW, 9.6kW, 14.4kW, and 19.2kW. This means that you may not be able to get the perfect-sized solar panel system for your home, but should still be able to install enough panels to meet your energy needs.
With an efficiency rating between 19.3% and 20.6%, Tesla’s panels are not the most efficient solar panels available. However, these panels are on the higher end of the average efficiency range, so they are perfect if you live in an area that gets a lot of sunshine year-round.
Something that definitely sets Tesla apart from other solar panel companies is its inverter efficiency. Whereas most inverters operate at 93% to 96%, Tesla inverters have an efficiency of 97.5%. The inverter efficiency tells you how well it converts direct current (DC) electricity that is gathered from the solar panels into alternating current (AC) energy that can be used in your home. The higher the efficiency of your inverter, the more solar energy you can convert into usable electricity for your home.
|Specification||Tesla Solar Panel|
|Efficiency||19.3% to 20.6%|
|Operating Temperature||-40 degrees F to 185 degrees F|
|Dimensions||74.4″ x 41.2″ x 1.57″ (including frame)|
|Design||Black anodized aluminum alloy frame |
Black solar cells and backsheet
|Warranty||25-year performance guarantee|
|Inverter Power||3.8kW / 7.6kW; 97.5% efficiency|
|Panel Type||Monocrystalline panel|
Tesla itself is a leader in innovative technologies, so it’s no surprise that it offers several solar solar products, including solar panels, solar batteries, solar roofs, and a mobile tracking app. We’ll discuss each of these products in detail below.
Moving beyond the conventional solar panels that are associated with household solar power, Tesla has made waves with its Tesla Solar Roof. This system takes the solar panel to a new level, in both aesthetics and durability. But at $45,000 to $90,000, this solar system is pricey.
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.
Tesla’s solar shingles can be installed as a new roof or on top of existing asphalt shingles, integrating 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, however, there are also some downsides that could turn you away. Check out our full review of the Tesla Solar Roof to learn more about whether this is a better solar solution for you than Tesla Solar Panels.
The Tesla Powerwall battery has an energy storage capacity of 13.5 kWh, a long 20-year lifespan, and a comprehensive 10-year warranty that makes it 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) and have power stored up in case of a utility outage.
Tesla Powerwalls are not cheap at about $14,200 per battery, and are more expensive than other solar batteries. However, this higher cost is worth it because of the higher storage capacity, technology and ability to have power during a power outage.
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, such as more continuous battery power and backup power. The key differences between these two options include the following:
|CATEGORY||TESLA POWERWALL 2||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|
If your solar panels generate more energy than your home can consume, a Powerwall is one of the best investments you can make. This system helps you get the most out of your solar panels and has settings that can save you even more money on energy bills.
For example, you can set your Tesla Powerwall to Time-Based Control mode. Then your battery stores energy when energy costs are lowest and uses solar energy when costs are highest.
Tesla’s solar technology comes with all the bells and whistles — including a sleek app that can act as the hub for your home’s clean energy system. The app can be used for an entire system of renewable energy products including your solar panels, Powerwall and EV charger. Here’s a quick look at the benefits of the app:
The goal of the Tesla app is to help its customers take control of their home’s energy use and increase their energy independence. The app is capable of a lot, so be sure to ask your solar installer how to best utilize it. Typically, your installer will help you set it up during the commissioning of your system.
The all-in price of a Tesla solar system (including equipment and installation) can vary from $11,840 for 9.6 kW of standard solar panels to $22,200 for 14.4 kW after the 30% federal solar tax incentive is applied. Starting at about $2.30 per watt on average, the Tesla solar panels cost less than the national average of $2.94 per watt. This is good news for homeowners, as this lower cost makes Tesla a more affordable option.
A Tesla Solar Roof will have a higher price tag, typically in the ballpark of $45,000 to $90,000. A Tesla Powerwall (for backup power) will be about around $14,200 per 13.5 kWh battery.
There are two main ways to pay for your Tesla solar system: Cash payment or solar loan. If you choose to pay cash, you immediately own your system and pay the full purchase cost. If you have the option to pay cash, we recommend doing so because it’ll save you the most money each month. You save immediately and don’t have to worry about monthly payments.
If you take out a loan, you still own your solar system, but you can pay for it in monthly installments. Even though you may pay more over time due to loan interest, the loan option is the best choice for many homeowners and is recommended if you can’t afford to pay the full amount for your solar system.
The loan option keeps more money in your bank account, and you still save on energy costs each month. According to the Tesla website, the monthly loan payment for solar is often lower than your monthly electric bill, so you can start seeing savings right away.
Here’s what each financing option includes at a quick glance:
|CASH PURCHASE||SOLAR LOAN|
|Maintenance Included||10-year comprehensive and 25-year panel performance warranties||10-year comprehensive and 25-year panel performance warranties|
|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, check out our solar financing guide. It’s full of information on solar payment options and recommendations tailored to your needs.
Tesla solar panels are expensive, and like many homeowners, you’re probably wondering how you can save the most money on your purchase. There aren’t typically any sales in the solar industry, but you can use any of the following options to save money on your solar panel system:
Solar incentives are complicated — and although every American can qualify for the federal solar tax credit on a solar array, they won’t necessarily cover any Tesla solar product. For instance, solar batteries are only eligible for the solar tax credit if installed along with solar panels.
That being said, there are usually some incentives available to the average consumer. Here’s what you can expect:
Consulting with a local solar installation company will be the best way to know for sure what type of incentives you may be eligible to receive.
One of the easiest ways to save money is to pay for your entire solar system upfront. Although this may seem backwards, it is the cheapest option compared to the solar loan.
When you take out a loan to pay for your Tesla panels, you can pay anywhere from 6% to 36% in interest. Considering the average solar panel cost is $20,580 for a 10-kW system, you could pay an extra $14,800 to $127,000 if you choose a solar loan.
Even if you can’t pay for your entire solar system upfront, you should try to put as much money down as possible. Every dollar you put toward your down payment counts and could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
If you already know you want a Tesla Powerwall and a full solar system, you should have them installed together. Even though it may seem like a good idea to purchase the Powerwall and solar system separately, you may end up paying more.
Each time you need a crew to come to your home to install solar equipment, you’ll pay for labor. But if you have them both installed at the same time, you may save on labor costs.
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:
On its website, Tesla Solar says it will recommend the right solar panel size for your home based on your electricity usage and your address.
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.
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. The crew will need access to a few basic things, like Wifi. Use this opportunity to ask the crew how to use your Tesla mobile app.
After installation is complete, Tesla will work with your local building department to schedule an inspection. Tesla will then need to work with your utility company to receive permission to operate your system.
Your utility company will send permission to operate (PTO), usually via email, once you pass your inspection. This gives you the thumbs-up to power on your Tesla energy products and start generating your own electricity.
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
Your Tesla solar panels should have a lifespan of at least 25 years. However, if you take care of your panels, maintain them regularly and use them as directed, they can last up to 30 years. Tesla offers two warranties that protect the parts and performance of your solar panels.
This means that in the event of an unexpected failure, you may not have to pay for repair costs. Since solar panels can cost hundreds of dollars to repair, this warranty is essential to owning them.
Tesla Solar equipment comes with a 10-year comprehensive warranty and a 25-year panel performance warranty. These warranties are comparable to the industry standard warranty, and you can expect the following to be covered under each:
Tesla solar panels are available in all 50 states, so regardless of where you live, you can get Tesla solar products installed on your home. After you order your solar panel system online, a certified Tesla installer will come to your home to complete the installation.
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. While poor customer service is not uncommon in the solar industry, there are some companies that take care of their customers regardless of which stage of installation they are in. Tesla Solar also has hundreds of happy customers who rave about the quality of Tesla’s solar installation and products, which is what we would expect from such a prominent installer.
Before we dive into some perspectives, we’d like to mention that, because Tesla is a national company, your experience may vary depending on the installation companies in your area. Further, you may have a different experience if you choose Powerwall Direct instead of using a certified third-party solar installer.
Many Tesla solar customers have raved about their good experiences with their solar installers on customer review sites. When their Tesla solar panels are installed correctly, customers report no problems with system functionality and impressive energy savings of 30% or more. Some reviews we have seen even mention that they switched to Tesla Solar after consulting with other solar companies and were so grateful that they chose Tesla instead.
Satisfied Tesla customers report friendly and respectful installation teams that efficiently install Tesla panels. The appearance of the panels is also highlighted in some reviews, and customers are surprised at how clean and modern they look after installation.
Negative reviews of Tesla solar systems typically mention Tesla’s spotty customer service and failure to follow up when something goes wrong after payment and installation. This lack of technical support is particularly concerning, as several customers have reported receiving no support when they encountered a problem that was covered under warranty.
In addition to poor customer service, some customers also complain about unnecessarily long wait times. While it’s not uncommon for customers to wait up to a year or more for some Tesla products like the Powerwall, solar panel customers have waited four to five months between steps in the installation process. In one case, a customer waited several months for Tesla to redesign their solar system, five months for an on-site inspection to be performed, and then another few months for repairs to be made after installation.
Tesla is one of the top solar providers in the nation, and one of the few companies to offer solar roof tiles, not to mention solar batteries, EV charging stations, and electric vehicles. Most providers offer solar panels installation, but few have the additional services provided by Tesla. In addition, Tesla offers solar panels in all 50 states, which we can’t say about every provider.
See how Tesla rates compared to some of our top solar panel companies in the table below.
|TESLA SOLAR||SUNPOWER||BLUE RAVEN SOLAR||SUNRUN||MOMENTUM SOLAR|
|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)||Solar panel installation, battery installation, monitoring, maintenance||Solar panel and solar battery installations|
|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||22 states, including AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, HI, IL, MD, MA, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, PA, RI, SC, TX, VT, WI, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.||11 states, including AZ, CA, CT, FL, GA, MA, NV, NJ, NY, PA, TX|
|Better Business Bureau Rating||N/A||A+||A+||B+||A+|
|Payment Options||Cash payments, loans||Cash, loan, lease, PPA||Cash, loan, lease||Cash, loan, lease, PPA||Cash, loan, lease, PPA|
|Read Provider Review||Current Provider||Read our review of Sunpower||Read our review of Blue Raven Solar||Read our review of Sunrun||Read our review of Momentum Solar|
It’s important to understand that Tesla’s strengths lie more in its technology than its customer service. If you order a solar system directly through Tesla, your representative will outsource the installation to a subcontractor in your area. This will involve a third party which can cause delays and miscommunication.
We firmly advocate for Tesla’s products — specifically the Powerwall and Solar Roof, but we recommend that you hire a local company to design your system and carry out your installation of Tesla’s products. This way, you get to choose exactly who will be doing the work on your home.
There are a large number of companies certified to install Tesla products that can provide you with reliable customer service, maintenance and backend support. In fact, the majority of the solar companies we recommend can procure and install Tesla products.
If you’re ready to connect with a vetted company in your area, click below to get started.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 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.
Tesla is able to mass-produce its equipment, use economies of scale and streamline the installation process by recruiting homeowners themselves to contribute to the evaluation of their homes. These are some of the factors that allow Tesla to offer a price-match guarantee, ensuring the company offers the cheapest solar panels in the U.S.
Once installed, Tesla solar panels are highly efficient and effective, which has kept them as one of the most popular solar installers in America and able to offer customers payback periods of just a handful of years.
When you buy solar panels, depending on your location, Tesla will either send its own installers or contract workers from another local installation company to set up your system.
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.
Tesla has been notably mysterious about the origins of its solar panels. For instance, it hasn’t released the specifications of its products, such as their efficiency.
But here’s what we do know. Tesla has had a manufacturing agreement with Panasonic since 2016, but it pulled out of this deal in late 2021. Tesla has also used Q Cells (Hanwha) solar panels for its installations. It’s likely Tesla makes its panels via a combination of manufacturing agreements at its gigafactories.