Tesla Home Depot partnership solar 2018

Tesla Energy announces solar partnership with Home Depot

(Note: in June 2018, Tesla announced they will be ending their partnership with Home Depot. They are pulling out of Home Depot stores, and selling their products exclusively through their own website and stores.)

In February 2018, Tesla announced a partnership with home-improvement giant Home Depot to sell and promote Tesla Energy solar installations. As a result, we’ve been receiving lots of questions about the new Tesla Home Depot partnership from shoppers on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace.

Through the partnership, Tesla will be setting up large displays of Tesla Energy products so that shoppers can see them up close in about 800 stores across the country. Displays will be staffed with Tesla Energy employees to answer questions and talk to shoppers about installing solar. 

What will Tesla be selling at Home Depot?

Tesla isn’t just an electric car company. Elon Musk’s cleantech venture has plenty of clean energy offerings, including solar panel installation, home energy storage, and an impressive new solar tile technology. That being said, these areas staffed by Tesla employees in Home Depot will primarily be for selling and demonstrating their solar panel technology, as well as Powerwall home batteries.

Tesla Powerwall home batteries

The Tesla Powerwall is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, typically used for solar plus storage projects. Their current Powerwall product, which is the second iteration of the technology, sells for $5,500 (before the cost of installation). Pricing with installation can range from $8,200 to $14,200+.

The use of storage, including the Powerwall and other types of batteries, is becoming increasingly popular across the country, particularly for the purposes of providing back up power during outages or dealing with time of use (TOU) rates from utilities.

Tesla solar panels

Tesla will also be selling and advertising its solar panels and installation services. The price of a Tesla Energy solar installation depends on a number of factors, including but not limited to geography and the size of the system installed. For their solar panel installations, Tesla boasts of their new low-profile technology, and their high efficiency panels produced and manufactured exclusively by Panasonic.

While there isn’t much information available on the specifications of these Tesla panels, Panasonic is known to have one of the highest efficiencies in the market for their non-exclusive products offered to other solar companies, with typical efficiencies ranging from around 19 to 21 percent.

If high efficiency is your top priority, other local solar companies in your area likely offer Panasonic panels or one of the other brands with comparable efficiency and warranty offerings (such as SunPower and LG). Because of the added efficiency, pricing for these panels (whether from Tesla or smaller, local installers) tends to be higher than average market prices. They’re best suited for homeowners who have limited roof space, or for homeowners who prefer to have fewer panels on their roof.

What about the Tesla solar roof?

For the time being, Tesla’s solar roof will not be available through your Home Depot as they aren’t currently being installed nationwide (most people estimate that wide-spread installations will start sometime mid-2018 or later).

Should I buy from Tesla at Home Depot?

There’s no exclusive benefit to buying solar from Tesla at Home Depot. Unlike the partnership between national installer Sunrun and big-box retailer Costco, the Tesla/Home Depot doesn’t offer special incentives (like extended warranties or cash back).

Many homeowners want to go solar with a larger company for understandable reasons – these companies have a reputation backing their warranty offerings, and Tesla is a well-known name. Brand loyal customers will also be able to get a fully integrated energy solution, all from the same company (from an electric vehicle and its charger, to a solar panel system, to a battery option).

You may pay more for the large installer reputation. Larger companies don’t always offer the best pricing, because they enter into costly partnerships that increase their overhead. A recent study showed that larger installation companies in the United States (like SolarCity/Tesla and Sunrun) charge on average 10 percent more for their solar installations. For the average 6 kW system in the United States, this could translate to an additional $1,900 at the average national cost per watt, and even more in states with higher pricing like Massachusetts and California.

An additional price tag may be worth it to some homeowners who love Tesla, or are particularly interested in the attractive low-profile installs they’re going to be installing. But as with any big purchase, you want to look at multiple offers and compare your options.

By registering on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace, you can find qualified solar companies near you and get quotes to give you an idea of what solar costs in your area and compare it to Tesla’s offering. Many installers through the platform will be able to provide quotes for Panasonic or other high efficiency panels, as well as installation of a Tesla Powerwall or other battery storage options. We recommend noting your desire for particular panels or battery options in your account so installers can tailor their initial proposal to your preferences.

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About Kerry Thoubboron

Kerry has worked in solar for more than 6 years, starting her career as an Energy Advisor dedicated to helping customers compare their options and make well-informed solar decisions. She graduated from Boston University with a degree in Environmental Analysis and Policy. Outside of work, you can find Kerry snowboarding, watching The Office, or having passionate debates about which New England state is best (spoiler: it's Vermont).

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