There’s no doubt that, thanks to their electric vehicle success, the Tesla brand has become ubiquitous. When Tesla owner Elon Musk purchased SolarCity in August 2016 for $2.6 billion, the Tesla magic subsequently became associated with “Tesla Solar.” Unfortunately since then, the company’s rank (based on number of U.S. solar installations) has fallen from #1 to #3 so the magic may not translate to new industries. But folks who are researching solar for their homes are naturally asking, when it comes to product performance and value, how does a large company like Tesla (with many different products) stack up against a company like SunPower, which has exclusively specialized in solar energy systems? To answer, let’s take a look at solar panel quality, warranty, and track record to see how these two solar companies stack up.
Tesla Solar Roof Tiles vs. Tesla Solar Panels
But first, we should address the difference between “Tesla solar roof tiles” and “Tesla solar panels.” Tesla has gained a lot of attention from its claim to be reinventing solar by incorporating the solar cell into the roofing material itself, calling this new product a “solar roof.” However, while this sounds good in theory, the company has not yet had much success in rolling this out in real life.
The issues with the Tesla solar roof tiles continue to plague the company’s efforts. The problems include: 1) very small production number beyond their test houses; 2) higher than expected installation costs which makes the solar roof cost not very competitive with traditional solar panels; and 3) long-term durability issues because water and electricity does not mix and protecting the electrical connections between tiles over time has proven to be problematic. So since the Tesla solar roof tiles have been realized to not be a legitimate solar solution for the foreseeable future, for the sake of this article, we will be discussing Tesla Solar panels, and not solar roof tiles.
SunPower vs. Tesla Solar Panels
SunPower solar panels are known to be the most efficient panels on the market, especially now with the recent release of their 415 watt panel with it’s record breaking 22.3% efficiency. They’re also known to be the most durable panel on the market, with a longer useful life than any other panels, which means they produce more power for longer. They also boast the most comprehensive and all-encompassing warranty of any panel on the market, assuring that the panels will work better for longer.
So, we know that SunPower panels are top of the line, but what do we know about Tesla solar panels? Well, what we do know is that Tesla does not manufacture their own panels. According to their website, the company currently installs Hanwha 315 watt Q-Cell Panels. So let’s do a comparison of the new SunPower 415 with the Hanwha 315 to see how they compare.