Dreaming of Tesla solar panels but don’t want to pay the thousands of dollars out of pocket to purchase them? The company is now offering solar panels for rent in six states as it rolls out a test program: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Mexico.
With no upfront costs, homeowners now have a newly affordable opportunity to add Tesla solar power to their home.
How it works:
Homeowners don’t pay for installation and can start the process with a small deposit—as low as $50, which covers the first month of service. The monthly cost is fixed, and includes the panels themselves, hardware, and ongoing support and maintenance.
The systems come in three sizes: “In every eligible state except for California, Tesla will charge $50 per month for a ‘small’ 3.8kW solar panel system that generates an average of 10 to 14kWh of energy per day, $100 per month for a ‘medium’ 7.6kW system that generates 19 to 28kWh, or $150 per month for a ‘large’ 11.4kW system that puts out 29 to 41kWh per day,” said The Verge.
“The average US household used about 28kWh of electricity per day in 2017, according to the Energy Information Administration. Monthly rates are higher in California; rentals will cost $65, $130, and $195 per month for small, medium, and large systems, respectively.”
The homeowner also needs to be a customer of a participating utility in their state, which are listed on the Tesla site. If you sell your home, you can transfer the agreement to the new homeowner.
Is there a downside?
There are a few potential negatives. First, you can choose to remove your solar panels, but it will cost you $1,500. According to the Tesla site, the company doesn't make any money on this fee. There is also a $1,500 fee for downgrading to a smaller system, so customers will want to make sure they choose the right size the first time.
Buying Tesla solar panels:
If you’d rather purchase the solar panels, you’re looking at $7,012 for a small, $14,024 for a medium, and $21,036 for a large system, before incentives. Those incentives can shave thousands of dollars off the total price. “The federal tax credit for solar panels currently covers 30 percent of the total cost, though that incentive begins a multiyear phaseout starting on January 1st, 2020,” said The Verge.
Renters won’t be able to take advantage of those incentives. According to the contract with Tesla, “all tax credits, incentives, rebates, and certificates” must be passed along to the company. “In Arizona, for example, this means Tesla stands to make between $4,021 and $10,063 per installation in combined federal and state tax incentives.”