Tesla vs Competition

Tesla vs Competition

I am looking at going Tesla for solar but debating the cost per watt vs the competition. I love the brand but is it worth it in the end? Price, Monitoring, quality of install/panels, warranty!

I have received about 8 quotes from local and national solar installers with the best price at $2.90/w and most right around $3-3.15/w. Tesla is $3.56/w. All with the same or similar equipment.

Tesla also has the lowest warranty at 20 years vs competition at 25+ and what appears to be horrible reviews. However, they have the best monitoring app (in my opinion) and longevity in the business.


tigerkc | March 5, 2019

We are also looking and so far, we have Tesla's quote at $4.14 per watt and $2.80 to $3.60 from 7 other vendors, and Panasonic's 330-watt panel being most popular (3 out of 7). I have asked Tesla to review their cost and but I am not expecting too much cost reduction from them.

From what I've read, one is better off going with a local, non-Tesla vendor. I am kind of leaning that way also.

h2ev | March 6, 2019

I'm going through the same thing. Tesla is at $3.45 per watt for me, and that is based on assign my SRECs to Tesla, which is worth thousands of dollars over the 10-year SREC term. My current design is estimated to generate to generate 10,000 KWh in the first year, so that's 10 SREC. In New Jersey each SREC is currently over $200. A local installer is quoting $3.30 per watt with the 330-watt Panasonic panels, and I assume I keep my SREC with the local installer.

So far I'm not impressed with the sales tactics employed by Tesla sales rep in Vegas. She tried to BS me into going with inferior panels of unknown origin. Reviews of Tesla's installation process is also a mixed bag. All of it is leading me to go with the local installer.

rynolee | March 7, 2019

I am requesting a re-quote based on local competitors offering .50-.75 cheaper per watt and will see what they say. I don't mind paying a slight premium over a local installer that might be out of business within 10 years (given the credits go away nearly entirely within 3 years and solar-only business might be hard pressed to stay afloat) so long as Tesla's warranty and long term support is worth the premium. I don't necessarily want to go to the cheapest option out there but don't want to overpay just for brand alone.

bp | March 8, 2019

The biggest advantage of going with Tesla for solar is adding PowerWalls for storage, something 3rd party installers may not be able to do.

mborski | March 13, 2019

Tesla, 12.6, 330 panels, $3.11....quoted received 2 weeks ago. Added 2 powerwallls.

Signed tonight.

acegreat1 | March 14, 2019

Show Tesla the other estimates. They should price match the lowest price you got. As long as they are both producing the same amount of energy

rynolee | March 14, 2019

I mentioned the other companies and provided the price per watt but there wasn’t any wiggle room from the sales guy. Debating on sticking with them at a $3.56 price point or going to a local installer offering the same panels and inverter with longer warranties at $2.97.

Manjushr | April 2, 2019

telsa matches any price. no problem. show them the other quotes. also, Tesla is the only one with an annual production guantee... so they pay you cash at the end of the year if the system under peforms. For example, this year the snow was insance.. our panerls were burried for 4 months straight... All in all, tesla installed for us $2.95 /W

mailak | April 9, 2019

Tesla was able to price match a local installer and the final price came to $2.75/W. The only catch is you would have to pay by check/credit card. If you want this via a loan from Tesla, they told me they won't be able to honor the price. I have a 7kw system installed and been working fine since March 2019.

dsteal | April 15, 2019

I have had a horrible experience with Tesla solar. I am a happy Model S owner, but I would never buy solar from Tesla again. Definitely not for a premium and not even for a discount.

I had a roof leak right under the solar panels during the first storm after they installed the panels. Tesla came, inspected and determined that their solar panels were the problem. They removed all the panels and re-installed. Now they are taking no liability for any of the water damage to my ceiling and attic. In addition, getting someone from support to talk to me takes days or weeks after multiple emails and calls. Just try calling Tesla energy support and see how long you have to wait on hold if you are not reporting an emergency.

I trusted them and didn't look into how they actually install solar panels on tile roofs. They literally install a bracket underneath the tile. This raises the tile and creates a seam that lets water seep in directly to the roof underlayment. I guess this setup can last 10 years until the warranty expires if your underlayment can take all that water. After that, or in my case even before the warranty expires, you are on your own.

I am/was a Tesla fan but after this experience I would never buy Tesla solar. Their horrible reviews are very much earned. Unfortunately, I'm stuck with them. Just wanted to share my experience. Best of luck.

Newstvguy | April 30, 2019

Have you seen this new pricing strategy? How does it compare with some of the best quotes any of you have seen?

Kary993 | May 3, 2019

I am new to the solar scene, but have a Tesla car. Most of you have been providing your per Kw quoted price but in general what are the total amount of money we are talking about here? I realize each house needs more or less and some want batteries and some do not but was looking for what a ballpark cost range would look like. Thanks.

bp | May 4, 2019

Tesla's website provides guidance on the size of system you'll need:

With their new simplified pricing - they're recommending a PowerWall with each 4KW of panels, producing about 17KW of power per day.

We've been looking at buying panels/PW for our house to reduce our dependence on the grid (hopefully saving $) and providing backup power during an extended power outage (hurricane).

To get off the grid, we would need enough panels and PW to provide 100% of power. Or we could go with a system providing 50% of power, which should provide enough power for us to operate the essential devices in our house off panels & powerwalls if the grid is down.

Use Tesla's estimator to determine the size of the system you need. Panels prices appear to be $2.50, $2.65 or $2.85 per KW, depending upon your location (before incentive). The articles posting prices under $2 were confused because they were quoting the after incentive (US 30% tax credit), which all of the other manufacturers also benefit from.

Patrick | May 5, 2019

Katy - here’s a quote for a 12kW generator and 3 PW2s from the latest Tesla online pricing tool:

We installed a similar system in Florida about 3yrs ago (without PWs). On average it generates about 2,000 kWh per month - enough energy to drop our electric bill from roughly $350/month to $0.

Hope that helps.

Patrick | May 5, 2019


dmastro | May 5, 2019

@bp: Thank you, this is helpful. I configured a system last week and couldn't figure out why the cost was $2.85/KW when the articles were leading me to believe $2.00/KW. Unfortunately at that cost, once permit and "other upgrades" are added, I don't think it's going to pencil out.

bp | May 6, 2019

dmastro - same here. Combination of panels & PowerWalls ends up with break even after 18 to 20 years (based on our $.11/KWh electric rates) - too long to justify from an economic standpoint.

We ran several scenarios using different power plans and could reduce the break even time, such as dropping the PowerWalls and using a net metering plan to essentially use the grid for storage (which eliminates having backup power) or using a plan with higher daytime rates and free power overnight.

But even then, the break even is still too long, based on our low electric rates - and will get worse as the 30% tax credit is phased out.

The only reason we could justify installing panels/PW now would be to reduce our dependence on the grid, and be willing to eat the upfront cost for the panels/PW.

dmastro | May 6, 2019

@bp: Same situation here, with similar electric rates. Payback is too long, and savings are too small to warrant the risks associated with solar installation, such as unexpected installation costs, non-warranty repairs, obsolescence, opportunity cost, etc.

Hopefully as technology improves, cost will come down to a point where it makes sense.

h2ev | May 6, 2019

I signed the agreement with a local installer at $2.90 per watt with Panasonic 330W panels. Total system cost is just under $35k before the federal tax credit, for a 11.8kW system (36 panels).

The system is estimated to produce 13500 kWh per year. Expected breakeven is about 5yrs after the 30% federal tax credit and accounting for SRECs earned and of course from savings on the electric bill. The SREC term in New Jersey is 10yrs, so after breakeven it will continue make SRECs for another 5yrs. One SREC = 1000 kWh generated, so it will earn 13 SRECs a year. One SREC in NJ is currently $225.

Can't wait to have it installed and running. Currently waiting for all permits.

h2ev | May 6, 2019

As to the competition vs Tesla, well, there simply isn't competition - Tesla has by far the worst reviews of any installers I looked up. 1.74 out of 5 from 293 reviews. The company I went with is at 4.95 from 75 reviews.

Here's one posted 4 days ago:

Very bad workmanship, Poor management & Extremely Dangerous


Office location: San Diego, AL

Absolutely the worst company for workmanship + management. We did a reroof + solar energy through Tesla. Our roof is now in a dangerous condition, their crew pushed our hoax exhaust vent into the attic and had a extreme potential of killing my family from carbon, our roof leaked and now we have interior damages they aren�t fixing. The panels were installed with issues ... it�s a huge disaster. Nothing was done to industry standards or code. DO NOT USE them for anything. They can care less about the magnitude of vandalism they caused on my property.

2pwr10 | May 8, 2019

Recently initiated ordering solar panels online with Tesla, I uploaded the pictures of the electric panel, smart meter etc, and after 3-5 days got a contract to review. In the contract I noticed that they removed the production guarantee. When I was considering them last year, they did have a production guarantee. Wondering if it is important to have it before considering them. Also last years 20yrs warranties are reduced to 10-12yr manufacturer warranties. Anyone has any suggestions ? Price wise it is lower than all other installers I got quotes from here in the bay area about $1.99/watt. Reviews are bad, but seems like reviews are bad for most installers out there and after going through the process I am again getting cold feet to proceed with the installation with anyone. I could not figure how to post a new thread so commenting on this one.

TV2K | May 8, 2019

2pwr10, did they give an option for upgrading the warranty? I heard that inverters are likely to fail in 10-15 years. Which panels and inverters did they quote you?

dmastro | May 9, 2019

@2pwr10: Is that $1.99/watt after rebates, or exclusive of rebates? Does that include permits and other installation costs, or is that a basic installation quote?

2pwr10 | May 12, 2019

I asked them about the guarantee and havent heard back. SolarEdge Inverter, 315W Hanwha Q Cells Panels (14). Yeah $1.99/W is after rebates, permits etc., $8.8K for 4.41kW system.

tigerkc | May 14, 2019

What rebate is that? Is it the Federal tax credit?

2pwr10 | May 16, 2019

yeah, my bad, intended to mean Federal tax credit.

rynolee | May 16, 2019

as the OP, I did end up going with a local installer after realizing more about how the industry works and that workmanship really matters for a project of this magnitude; drilling holes in your roof and such and connecting a massive amount of energy flow into your home/grid.

Tesla did call me back to reduce the cost to $2.85/w, making them the cheapest quote I had received, but unfortunately for them, it was on the same day as the install from the company I ended up going with. Poor communication, or lack of it altogether, being another reason why I’m happy with the decision I made.

A few other points of interest:

Solaredge does have a 12yr warranty, which can be extended to 20yr for an additional cost, but I would not recommend doing that. Inverters do fail, and most likely do within the free warranty provided; and if they fail outside that, spend the $1,000 and get that 15yr upgraded version - it will be night and day better and the cost will be absorbed by the performance increase.

Register your Panasonic Panels to get the 25yr warranty through Panasonic. If you don’t, you get 12 years according to some of the fine print I read and the fact that solar companies may not do it leaving you with additional costs down the road should anything happen.

Powerwall is too pricey right now unless you need to be off grid. Otherwise, just go NEM and use the grid as you backup for power. ROI is >20yrs in most cases that I read about.

Local installers have a lot to offer that national ones do not. They know the community well and can work fast and match prices in many instances. I live in the North Bay (CA) and because I went local I had solar on my roof and generating power in 3 weeks from signing the contract. They knew the process for the city I live in and fast tracked the whole thing, including inspections and PTO. That was a great added value I could not get from Tesla. They claimed within 60-90 days. No thanks!

h2ev | May 22, 2019

@nynolee, my installer included the extended warranty on the inverter by default. I wasn't even asked about it, it was just in the agreement. I don't know what the additional cost was, but it can't be $1000. If within that 20yr warranty period it fails, I imagine if they have to replace, it will be a much newer version by then.

My installer is one of the very few listed by Panasonic as "premium installer", so I'd like to believe they will handle all warranty registration properly, but I will confirm it after the installation.

Less than 2 weeks after I gave my installer the go ahead on the install, they have already received all necessary permits and the install will take place within 2-3 weeks.

2pwr10 | May 24, 2019

got the response today with apologies for the delay and that the panels and optimizers have 25yr linear performance guarantee, but no mention of it in the contract which explicitly says no production/performance guarantee. but alas, I got my panels installed yesterday with another installer though at a slightly higher price $2.3/w but with production & performance guarantee laid out in the contract, so I requested to cancel the order and issue $99 refund. Interesting that the response time for email query is 17days.

josheafla | May 26, 2019

Surprised to see negative feedback about Tesla solar installs. I had a 10.4 kW installed in Florida last October. The install was flawless on a tile roof. The care and quality of work and communication was outstanding.
I am scheduled to have PW2 installed in about two weeks.

h2ev | May 31, 2019

I clicked my own link above, and the rating has since dropped further - now at 1.72 out of 303 reviews.

Slipshod | June 5, 2019

I just went live on my solar install recently. I had looked at Tesla/SolarCity a year ago, and after negotiating the price down initially, they tried to tack on another $5k in extra fees for my tile roof right before starting the install, and wanted to replace the bits under the tile with composite shingles. Umm, no.

I shopped around on later and ended up with a smaller (but highly reputable) in-state installer that was cheaper and a 3rd-party authorized Powerwall installer.

I'm really happy with the install - 9.2kW system (28 Panasonic 330W panels), Enphase micro-inverters, and a 25yr warranty on everything. With the powerwall, I get to see the solar generation in-app (which is great), but still get my detailed monitoring information from a website. Best of all worlds.

I highly recommend using EnergySage to search providers, even if you're going to go with one of the larger installers like Tesla. You can use the quotes from there to drive down the prices from the large installers to the lowest they will offer, and you'll be surprised at how much they pad the initial quotes.

tigerkc | June 10, 2019

Agreed with Slipshod using EnergySage. We went thru the pricing process in Feb. Initially Tesla solar did not respond to our solar quote request, and I had to call them after waiting for 2 weeks. Then Tesla quoted us something north of $4 / watt. Tesla had very slow communication, the advisor never answered our phone calls, and email responses were also nonexistent. Site survey required 3-person crew for the entire afternoon and must be performed before a firm quotation. Since Tesla was so slow and their quote was so much higher than the other quotes, we decided to not bother to negotiate.

We went with an independent solar installer from LA who has a local crew in the SF bay area. The independent installer we selected was quick on communications, both on the phone and emails. Pricing was given right away based on satelite image of the roof and then site survey was done by an aerial drone + 3D modeling at the office, requiring only 1 person for half an hour at our house. The pricing also happened to be the lowest. Installation process was quick, non-eventful and passed inspection with no issue.

Tesla recently announced pricing as low as $2 / watt but that I believe is with the 30% Federal tax credit as confirmed by 2pwr10, And this $2 / watt seems to also use "economy" panels. Our system is also less than $2 / watt (after Federal tax credit) and uses quality Panasonic 330W panels + Enphase microinterters.

As much as we want to go with Tesla solar (current owner of an MS and M3), they lost our business in this case due to slow communications and high price.

nipper2 | June 13, 2019

Just remember all solar panels are not the same in the case of Tesla they use low profile Zip locking system and the panels with skirting around them they are Monocrystalline Solar Panels more efficient than Polycrystalline panels that a lot of the competitors use. I have I Tesla 325 watt system and 4 power walls best thing I have ever done. I also have S and X

jlhm | June 13, 2019

From August monitoring of tesla solar system will only be using the app.
If I have known that last year that the web based monitoring would be retired (and as such no possibility to download data) I would not have used tesla for solar.

vafike | July 8, 2019

Tesla to only use a single plug, but it also limits access to the stations, which are often supplied for free to businesses, like hotels and restaurants, in order to propagate the charging infrastructure for Tesla’s fleet

h2ev | July 29, 2019

Clicked on the solar review link on Tesla again, and the rating deteriorated further - now at 1.70 out of 316 reviews.

My solar system is up and running. Including waiting on the permits and all inspections, it was about 9 weeks. I held back the project by two weeks when I contemplated on whether to spend the money on replacing a 14 year old roof (I did). My installer was always on top of things every step of the way, up to and including warranty registration with Panasonic. I'm so glad I went with a reputable local installer.

I hope Tesla solar gets their act together and not drag down the rest of the company.

thr33xx | July 31, 2019

Their solar division is terrible. Placed an order on 6/20. Was told they had a fast lane project which would allow my install for 7/9. I had them push back the install date to 7/18 due to requiring HOA approval. Tesla then pushed backed to 8/6 due to obtaining city permits. And today, was just informed it was pushed back to 8/23 due to city permits.

I reached out to my city planning and discovered there were no open, active, or pending solar permits requested on my location. When I followed up with my solar rep they gave me the run around about how my city makes it difficult for batch submissions. My city only accepts specific submissions unless you are a developer (makes sense). Needless to say, I'll likely be getting my solar elsewhere, as I'm not interested in doing their job for them. Sometimes the savings isn't worth the headache.

it.marcoi | August 4, 2019

Anyoneever ask to have their contract changed before signing it? In FL there is a mechanical liens law that says if a contract does not pay for their subs, the home owner can be liable. At 80k investment i needed the contract to say prior to paying, Tesla acknowledges all materials/contractors have been paid so i am not liable for any issues with tesla not paying for their people. Per my sales guy they do not make changes to contract verbiage.

I want to see if anyone had gotten their contract changed. I'm about to walk away from the project if they insist nothing can be done.

dmpierce | August 7, 2019

My 12.5K 48 Kyocera system has been functioning flawlessly for over 3 years. One single anomalous flaw with the inverter "STATE 240" that was easily reset with no redundancy to date. I received credit for system underperforfomance as promised in my contract. I did a lengthy spreadsheet analysis of all system warrantys, benefits and performance factors before deciding on Solar City (Tesla). My only big disappointment is the recent decision to curtail the Internet PowerGuide as identified in my contract. I was told the smartphone app would be updated to provide the same information but I like the PC based tool as well. Other than that, I am happy I chose Tesla.

rlandrigan | August 22, 2019

I have had a 9.88 kw Tesla solar system in place since August 2015, Order Number EN7104764, 22 Deacon Lane, Sudbury, MA. My solar system stopped producing electricity at the beginning of April 2019. As of late August 2019 it still is not functioning. The peak sun months of 2019 have been missed. Tesla has made several technician visits during the five months including installing a new inverter, having a few guys up on the roof checking the system. The system still doesn't work. Blame it on lack of sustained interest or incompetence, or both. Per the system lease contract, paragraph 4(c), I am not to be "...charged for Estimated Production when the System is not producing electricity due to Solar City's (Tesla) fault". I cut Tesla off from automatic debit billing from my bank account and refuse to pay their "Estimated Production" bills on the basis that it amounts to consumer fraud. They just billed me $237.42 for the month of July when no electricity was produced. In my estimation as an attorney their "Estimated Production" billing while a system is down due to Tesla's fault is fraudulent and is clearly subject to challenge, perhaps as a class action.

sem.rob1nson31 | August 31, 2019

You guys won't believe it, but my son had an essay on "Electric cars as a transport of the future in real conditions." I want him to expand on the topic of examples from Tesla. Asked as one Professor with that he gave different information from books that are now there. Now I remember my years in College = )

jonhgaarg | January 17, 2020

This is a really interesting topic for writing an essay. I would happily reflect on this topic myself. But if you still need qualified help, look here Here are a lot of good options and services

infofiles | January 17, 2020

I solicited bids from Tesla and local reputable small installers. I was able to get top of the line LG system at $2.75/watt, whereas Tesla was coming in at $2.86 with no exposed conduits on roof.

Most important thing in Solar might be ability to expand without upgrading your inverter. I went with microinverters that are built into my LG panels (microinverters also by LG), making it a solid single panel/inverter 25-yr warranty. I can easily add on more panels with plug and play panels and mounts, no upgraded to inverter needed. Lastly, the microinverters from LG that are built-in have 98% efficiency rate on conversion.

Only good thing about Tesla is they are big company and will be around to help when you reroof, but I dont have need for that.

Nakid | January 23, 2020

Before I installed solar, I got many quotes from a variety of companies. I then submitted all of those quotes to Tesla, who was able to beat all of the other quotes I received.

rikkirose22 | March 8, 2020


h2ev | March 10, 2020

Haven't browsed here in a while, and just checked Solarreview. Tesla is now at 1.53 out of 360 reviews. It doesn't seem like they care about their solar business at all.