Tesla's Solar Panels Just Got a Big Update

Tesla's Solar Panels Just Got a Big Update

Here is what we know. 

Tesla may be best known for its electric cars, but the company also has a sideline in solar panels. A company called SolarCity, founded in 2006 by a pair of brothers who are cousins of Elon Musk, and Tesla bought the company in 2016.

"Our solar panels are low-profile and durable — quietly converting sunlight to energy for decades to come," the company said. "Integrated hardware and simple design achieve this by securing the panels close to your roof and to each other for a minimal aesthetic."

Electrek reported this week that Tesla has debuted a new solar panel, one both more powerful and at a lower installation price point. Engadget estimates that its panels are now around 10 percent more efficient than previously.

According to the site, Tesla is offering panel arrays in four sizes-small, medium, large and extra large, with respective power listed as 4.08 kW, 8.16 kW, 12.24 kW and 16.32 kW. The prices for the four are listed, in order, at $7,400, $11,840, $17,390 and $22,200, all after the factoring in of federal incentives. The prices, though, are subject to regional differences.

The Tesla site lists the following specs: A wattage of 340 W, a weight of 44.5 pounds, dimensions of 66.3" x 39.4" x 1.57", and a 25 year performance guarantee warranty.

"My bet is that since Tesla started offering price matching last month, they figured that they weren’t quite aligned with the market," Electrek said by way of analysis. "This is going to make Tesla much more competitive in the solar business on top of the price matching."

Tesla, earlier this year, launched a price-matching guarantee for solar products.

"Join us in accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy, all while obtaining the lowest priced solar panels, within a fast and simple installation process," the company said.

In recent weeks, Tesla has indicated that it will open its latest Gigafactory near Austin. The company also took over as the most valuable car company in the world, while it began making car deliveries for the first time in the state of Michigan.

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.