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Tesla Rolls Out New Solar Ordering System

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

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Electric car manufacturer and energy company Tesla has rolled out a new way of buying solar panels for homes.

The company released a new online order form at the end of last month that it says will cut costs for consumers by one third.

Tesla’s Solar History

The company first announced that it was entering the solar market at the end of 2016, opening pre-orders for rooftop solar photovoltaic systems in May 2017.

That system used a mix of regular and solar shingles featuring solar-collecting tiles—not panels—in two tile styles.

At that time Tesla began taking $1,000 deposits for the tiles, which the company said cost roughly $21.85 per square foot. The solar roof system was supposed to debut in the United States that year and expand to other countries in 2018; however, the launch of the Solar Roof V3 didn’t occur until 2019, and Tesla recently canceled many of the preorders.


Electric car manufacturer and energy company Tesla has rolled out a new way of buying solar panels for homes.

“It’s looking quite promising that a solar roof actually costs less than normal roof before you even take the value of electricity into account,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk said at the time. “So, the basic proposition would be, ‘Would you like a roof that looks better than a normal roof, lasts twice as long, costs less and by the way generates electricity?’ Why would you get anything else?”

As systems finally began being installed in 2019, the company also started renting out solar panel rooftop systems.

In addition to delays and changing business models, two lawsuits were filed near the end of 2019 against Tesla regarding solar panels.

The first lawsuit highlighted that SolarCity, the 2016 acquisition that made Tesla's solar business possible, was in financial trouble at the time and that Musk knew about the financial trouble. The other came from Walmart, which sued Tesla because of solar panels that reportedly went up in flames over several rooftops.

What Now

The company announced in a press release that it was introducing an average size system into the market that came with a “lowest price guarantee.”

“With our new pricing, an average customer buying a large system in California will make their money back in only six years by reducing their electric bill, ultimately making an average of $88,000 over the system’s lifetime,” the statement said.

“In New Mexico, that same system will make an average of $55,000 over its lifetime and in Vermont, $47,000. All systems, in all states, generate more value than ever when purchased with cash or financed with a solar loan. Savings will vary based on state laws and local utility rates. We also offer low-cost subscription solar for a fixed monthly payment in six states that you can cancel anytime.”

Electrek reports that this claim is based on the Solar Energy Association’s report that the average residential solar price was $2.83 per watt in Q1 2020.

With those numbers that would mean that Tesla’s “Small” system costs $2.44 per watt, “Medium” is $1.95 per watt, and “Large” and “Extra Large” are $1.93 per watt and $1.84 per watt, respectively. All of the prices are before the federal tax credit.

The online order form recommends one of four options based on the address and average electric bill.


Tagged categories: Environmental Controls; NA; North America; Photovoltaic coatings; Solar; Solar energy

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