Tesla Begins to Rent Out Solar Panels


To breathe some new life into its solar business, Tesla recently kicked off renting out solar panel rooftop systems, rather than buying them. CEO Elon Musk made the announcement over Twitter on Sunday (Aug. 18).

According to Business Insider, the plan will be available in California, Arizona, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Mexico.

Solar Panel Rentals

At launch, the cost of renting a solar panel will run as low as $50 a month, with the stipulation that tax incentives and rebates are passed on to Tesla. With the subscription model—a move arriving on the heels of a second quarter that showed a company acquisition record low for the implementation of solar panels—there will be no upfront installation costs or a long-term contract.

According to The Verge, when Tesla acquired Solar City in 2016, Solar City was then a market leader in the rooftop solar panel market. Over the past few years, however, Tesla phased out the pre-existing solar panel leasing plan that the company offered, and also axed a deal with The Home Depot in 2018. (Previously, Home Depot had helped Solar City sell its panels.)

More recently, Tesla also lowered the costs of its solar panels. With the second-quarter lag, this now puts Tesla behind two other residential solar companies in terms of performance.

In the states where the rental program will be available—except for California—there will be a $50 subscription fee for a 3.8kW solar panel system capable of generating between 10 to 14kWh of energy per day; $100 a month would be used for 7.6kW system that could generate between 19 to 28kWh; and $150 would go toward a 11.4kW system that generates between 29 to 41kWh. In California, these systems will cost $65, $130 and $195 to lease a month, respectively. Rental rates are also subject to increases.

Though the lease can be canceled at any time, there will be a $1,500 removal fee, and all of the money will go toward uninstalling the panels. Those interested in renting must also be homeowners, and can purchase the system after five years of use.

Tesla does stand to make money off of this arrangement: In Arizona, the company can make anywhere from $4,021 and $10,063 per installation, after federal and state tax incentives are accounted for.


Tagged categories: Equipment rental; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Solar; Solar energy

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