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Get to Know Your Top Solar Brands: Tesla

get to know tesla solar panels

About Tesla

Tesla Inc is a multinational clean energy company with headquarters in Austin, Texas. They produce electric vehicles and trucks and stationary battery storage products, solar panels, solar roof tiles, and other products.

Tesla Energy, the solar energy subsidiary of the company, is a major solar installer in the US and one of the largest global suppliers of battery storage systems in the world. In 2022, the company installed more than 6.5 GWh of energy storage systems around the globe.

The company was founded in 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. Seven months later, Elon Musk invested more than $6.5 million in the company and became its biggest shareholder.

What is Tesla’s Signature Product?

Tesla’s best-known product is the Tesla Powerwall, which launched in 2015. `There are two models to choose from, namely the Powerwall 2 and Powerwall+.

Here’s a quick comparison:

Tesla Powerwall 2

Tesla Powerwall +

Feature

Solar Battery

Solar Inverter

Includes solar battery

Includes solar inverter

Usable capacity

13.5 kWh

13.5 kWh

Continuous power

5.8 kW

5.8 kW with no sun and 7.6 kW with full sun

Size

45.3 in x 29.6 in x 5.75 in

62.8 in x 29.7 in x 6.3 in

Warranty

10 years

10 years

 

The main difference between the two is that the Powerwall+ has a built-in solar inverter, whereas the Powerwall 2 is just a battery and can be retrofitted with your existing solar panel system.

The Tesla Powerwall is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery device that stores solar energy and maintains your power when the grid goes down. The system will automatically pick up outages and recharge with sunlight. It also comes with an app so you can keep an eye on power usage remotely. 

There are a few key advantages that the Tesla Powerwall has over other lithium battery devices, including a thermal management system that increases charge performance at below-freezing temperatures. Both the Powerwall+ and Powerwall 2 come with a 10-year warranty that guarantees your battery will retain at least 80% of its capacity over that time period. 

The Powerwall 2 comes with an AC Battery and built-in inverter, which means you can use it as a standalone backup power source if you don’t have solar power. With a capacity of 13.5kWh, you should be able to power your home for around 24 hours when the grid goes down. 

There are a few cons to consider as well, though. For one thing, you can’t use just one Powerwall to go off-grid. You’ll need at least two to keep the average home powered without a connection to the grid, which can be expensive, as we’ll explain later on. If you want to use the Powerwall 2 with a solar array, you’ll need an additional solar inverter to convert the DC solar energy to the AC to power your home, and you’ll have to use Tesla solar panels. 

Powerwalls are bundled with Tesla solar panels and roof systems, so you can’t buy one without the other. If you already have an existing solar PV system, you’ll need to replace the whole thing if you want to buy a Tesla Powerwall. Tesla adopts a strict closed-garden approach, which means you are effectively locked into their products. 

Which brings us to what could be a dealbreaker: the cost. Tesla Powerwalls start at around $14,200, including delivery if you buy directly from Tesla. You’ll also need to pay an additional $1,000 for the gateway system, delivery, and accessories. Installing Tesla solar panels can add another $30,000 to that bill. If you don’t want to buy through Tesla directly, you can buy through an approved installer, but that could push the price up even more. 

You can’t install it yourself or hire your own installer; they have to be Tesla-approved. And here’s the other bit of bad news. Tesla prioritizes full solar system orders, so if you are only buying the battery and using a third-party retailer, you are going to have to exercise real patience waiting for that battery to show up. 

While Tesla claims that there are approved installers in every state except Alaska, if you live in a remote area, you may have to wait even longer.

How Does Tesla Stack Up Against the Competition?

The Tesla Powerwall is a great product, but like a lot of premium brands out there, you’re mainly paying for the name and not the actual features. While the Powerwall is sleek and dependable, there are plenty of alternatives on the market that offer better performance and more features at a lower price. You can pick up a home battery system with higher energy storage, better functionality, and better compatibility with a range of components and pay much less.

One option to consider is the Enphase Encharge. It’s one of the cheapest battery options on the market, at less than half the price of the Powerwall+. It has a 96% efficiency compared to the 90% efficiency of the Powerwall, which means it charges faster. It also comes with a 10-year warranty, matching that of Enphase. 

Whereas the Powerwall+ comes with just one single capacity (13.5kW), you can choose from a number of options with Enphase (3.4kW to 10.5kW). It’s great if you just want emergency backup with a smaller capacity or want to pair up several batteries according to energy demands. There aren’t any long wait times, either, so you can be up and running in no time. 

You should also consider EcoFlow’s new Delta Pro whole-house system. It’s much cheaper and more readily available than the Powerwall, and you don’t have to pair it with solar panels if you don’t want to. At around $6,000 for a double battery kit and hub, it’s very accessible, and you can chain several batteries to the system to expand your capacity.  

Another strong contender is the Generac PWRcell home battery. At around $10,000 or more, it’s not cheap, but the battery is truly modular. You can create a system of up to 36kWh in two cabinets and go off-grid.

Who is Tesla For?

If you already drive a Tesla and don’t need to connect to an existing PV system, the Tesla Powerwall could be a good option for you, especially if you love the brand and the look of the device. 

If you want to go off-grid or are on a budget, or need to retrofit your home battery to accommodate your existing solar panels and setup, Tesla products aren’t for you. Their closed-garden approach to components, long waiting times, and relatively low battery capacity simply isn’t suitable for homeowners that need flexibility or cost-effectiveness. 

Even though their products are great, there are far better alternatives out there with a lower price point and fewer restrictions.

If you need some advice, get in touch with ShopSolar.com. We can recommend alternatives that work well with your existing solar setup, provide quotes, or get you started on your solar journey for the first time.

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Article by

Alex S

Alex is a co-founder of Shop Solar, a company that he established in 2018 to revolutionize the solar industry by simplifying the process and making it more simple and cost-effective. Under his strategic leadership, Shop Solar has grown into a comprehensive one-stop-shop, empowering over 40,000+ customers to access top-quality solar and storage solutions, comprehensive information, intuitive tools, and professional installation services.

With a passion for innovation and sustainable energy, Alex has successfully expanded the business's reach and impact, serving as a driving force in the company's growth and development. You can browse best seller's here.

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