(Updated) Tesla lowers solar prices, new costs are up to 16 percent lower than the national...

Polycount

TS Evangelist
Staff member

Update 5/2/2019: The New York Times has issued a correction to its original article, noting that the piece "failed to factor in a federal tax incentive's impact" on both Tesla's solar cost-per-watt and the national average - the outlet only factored the credit in for the former. As such, Tesla's solar price is up to 16 percent less than the national average, not 41 percent as previously reported. We have corrected our article to reflect this information.

Tesla is struggling in more areas than its car business, according to a report from The New York Times. The outlet says that Tesla's solar panel sales haven't been at their best as of late - but now, the company is hoping to fix that.

The well-known electric vehicle maker will soon be dropping the prices of its solar panels and "related equipment" to equal up to 16 percent less than the national average. Of course, these price cuts are coming with a couple compromises for Tesla and its customers. Perhaps most notably, the company will require would-be solar equipment buyers to place their orders online only. Furthermore, Tesla will be "standardizing" its ordering systems.

If you're not sure what Tesla is referring to with that term, it essentially means the company will now only sell solar systems in increments of 4 kilowatts, instead of the more finely-tuned alternatives it has sold in the past.

Tesla will also save money by reducing labor costs. Apparently, customers will now be required to perform a some of the pre-installation legwork themselves - instead of requiring an employee to physically visit each individual's home to take necessary photographs of electrical gear, customers will take them instead and forward the images over to Tesla.

It's tough to say how well that system will work in practice; Tesla's employees are trained professionals, after all, and even the clearest online directions can easily be misunderstood by an uninformed layman.

Regardless, given that the new costs-per-watt will be around $1.75 to $1.99 for Tesla customers after tax incentives (versus the national average of $2.09), many people probably won't complain too much about the added hassle.

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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
Initially that would be paid for in 5.3 years BUT the storage capacity puts out a BIG number which stretches the payback to closer to 15 years. With the actual lifespan of these solar cells not yet determined, it could be a risky venture. Still, for younger couples with a good income it might be the smartest move they could make ......
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
I wouldn't even consider buying solar for my house if I can't get a battery storage solution.
I agree.

Tesla does have battery packs, but that adds significantly to the cost of the system. Without them, as I am sure you know, you only get power while there is daylight.

4kW is a fairly substantial array - even a few hours daily would be good enough for many houses. I'd be willing to bet that without storage, the electric meter would run backwards during low-demand hours in the house. That said, it may be challenging, depending on the average solar radiation in a particular area, to power high-power electric devices like electric water heaters or electric dryers.

IMO, it is conceivable that with a 4kW array and sufficient storage, you could potentially go off-grid with this even with high-power devices depending on your storage size. An 8kW array would be some serious power, and pair that with something like 20-kWh of storage and many houses could go off-grid, IMO.

You can figure the average solar radiation anywhere in the US using this resource - https://www.nrel.gov/gis/solar.html

Initially that would be paid for in 5.3 years BUT the storage capacity puts out a BIG number which stretches the payback to closer to 15 years. With the actual lifespan of these solar cells not yet determined, it could be a risky venture. Still, for younger couples with a good income it might be the smartest move they could make ......
If one uses these in an area with net metering, the electric power produced is being sold back to the electric company any time that the meter runs backwards. That decreases payback time. The last I knew, some areas even pay full price.
 

yRaz

Nigerian Prince
I wouldn't even consider buying solar for my house if I can't get a battery storage solution.
Lithium batteries should only be used in areas where weight and size matters. I have a battery back up that can run my AC and fridge for 2 days without power and I built it for $2300. 4, 80ah12v batteries and a 4,000w puresine inverter. It's primarily a UPS in my server room but I designed it to power other things in my house if need be. I've been toying with the idea of pairing it with a 250w solar panel or two.

My power doesn't go out a ton, but when it does it's usually for a few hours. If it goes out at night in the summer and you have to work in the morning, sleeping in the humid Pennsylvania heat is damn near impossible
 
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Johnf80

TS Rookie
Initially that would be paid for in 5.3 years BUT the storage capacity puts out a BIG number which stretches the payback to closer to 15 years. With the actual lifespan of these solar cells not yet determined, it could be a risky venture. Still, for younger couples with a good income it might be the smartest move they could make ......
So my wife and I have solar panels and absolutely love them!! About that cost. I do not agree when anyone breaks down numbers like that with solar panels. It happens way too much. I don’t hear anyone breaking down numbers on redoing a kitchen or bathroom for 20 grand and wondering how long it will take for that to pay off. Which could be never, depending on who buys your house. Solar pays off with adding much more value to a house, helping the world be more green, and yes eventually getting your money back. Also the way it works here is that duke energy stores your extra power and it rolls over each month so you don’t even need a battery. Best and most value someone can add to their house instead of a fancy kitchen that only looks good but has no practical effect to your house or life.
 

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
So my wife and I have solar panels and absolutely love them!! About that cost. I do not agree when anyone breaks down numbers like that with solar panels. It happens way too much. I don’t hear anyone breaking down numbers on redoing a kitchen or bathroom for 20 grand and wondering how long it will take for that to pay off. Which could be never, depending on who buys your house. Solar pays off with adding much more value to a house, helping the world be more green, and yes eventually getting your money back. Also the way it works here is that duke energy stores your extra power and it rolls over each month so you don’t even need a battery. Best and most value someone can add to their house instead of a fancy kitchen that only looks good but has no practical effect to your house or life.
I'd like to see your numbers since mine came from Tesla and several other companies. Having installed a number of systems, I've got a good bit of knowledge of costs as well as the hidden costs. Also, do remember that not ALL power companies allow the accumulation of credits and some (TVA) and actually fight against that. As to added value, that entirely depends upon the buyer. It will be interesting to hear what kind of coverage you get from your insurance company for wind & hail damage since far too many insurance companies exclude panels without added riders and $$.
 

gamerk2

TS Evangelist
Half bullet proof roof tiles that do solar. Sign me up.

Wait why has it taken so long if it works?
Cost; the cost of manufacturing the panels made then economically non-viable. It took Obama era subsidies to cover enough of the cost to create enough demand to allow economies of scale to take over.

Tesla had to cut prices due to declining demand. Trumps tariffs are partly to blame, as they both made production more expensive and reduced overseas demand (the US is in danger of loosing all overseas Solar sales to China as a result, due to China undercutting the US in those markets). Tesla is hoping the demand increase of cutting costs covers the reduced price.
 

Aus spot

TS Enthusiast
Cost;

Tesla had to cut prices due to declining demand. Trumps tariffs are partly to blame, as they both made production more expensive and reduced overseas demand (the US is in danger of loosing all overseas Solar sales to China as a result, due to China undercutting the US in those markets). Tesla is hoping the demand increase of cutting costs covers the reduced price.
But I can't even order it here in australia. Huge demand here for cyclone and bush fire resistant solar panels. Cyclone = hurricane
 

ShagnWagn

TS Evangelist
I seriously looked into panels here in my area. tesla did not come up in the list as available. I would consider buying their panels, but I don't want to support a company that is putting self-wrecking cars out on the streets at our safety risk. I had also seriously looked into buying one of their cars. I will not do it, so they have lost my money. I will buy from a competitor.
 

yRaz

Nigerian Prince
I seriously looked into panels here in my area. tesla did not come up in the list as available. I would consider buying their panels, but I don't want to support a company that is putting self-wrecking cars out on the streets at our safety risk. I had also seriously looked into buying one of their cars. I will not do it, so they have lost my money. I will buy from a competitor.
yes, please, lets see how many tesla's plowed themselves into a guard rail in autopilot. Have some links to back up your claims? There have been, what, 3 fatalities related to autopilot out of 130,000 vehicles on the road and all of them have been deemed not their fault? It's just like uber being blamed for hitting the woman who ran out in front of them ON A HIGHWAY.

I swear, so many people refuse to see the forest for the trees....
 
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OutlawCecil

TS Evangelist
We got quotes for solar at one point but what killed the deal for me is that there was no way to run my own house off the solar. I wanted a simple switch to somehow change from providing power to the grid, to providing power to my house... you know... in case of a zombie Apocalypse or something similar.
 

ShagnWagn

TS Evangelist
yes, please, lets see how many tesla's plowed themselves into a guard rail in autopilot. Have some links to back up your claims? There have been, what, 3 fatalities related to autopilot out of 130,000 vehicles on the road and all of them have been deemed not their fault? It's just like uber being blamed for hitting the woman who ran out in front of them ON A HIGHWAY.

I swear, so many people refuse to see the forest for the trees....
"forest for the trees"? lol what?

If I really have to put your nose in the readily available articles, I can tell you how in just a few seconds. Go to www.google.com, and type in "tesla autopilot fatality" in the search field. Make sure you also read the one where the driver was decapitated by the car via a semi. Also, the reports I have read where it's the "drivers fault" is what tesla themselves is claiming. The company will always point their finger anywhere else they can. Your claim of 130,000 on the road is laughable, as not all of them are, and many have never even had autopilot used. Your are making up false numbers, which means I cannot trust your other claims. If you would like to provide some hard evidence, then I would be open to listening. Maybe you should ask the people who were killed what they think. Oh, wait... How would you like to be one of the people in these scenarios? Thankfully, I am happy you were not. If these self-wrecking cars were never on the road, all of these people would still be alive.
 

ShagnWagn

TS Evangelist
"forest for the trees"? lol what?

If I really have to put your nose in the readily available articles, I can tell you how in just a few seconds. Go to www.google.com, and type in "tesla autopilot fatality" in the search field. Make sure you also read the one where the driver was decapitated by the car via a semi. Also, the reports I have read where it's the "drivers fault" is what tesla themselves is claiming. The company will always point their finger anywhere else they can. Your claim of 130,000 on the road is laughable, as not all of them are, and many have never even had autopilot used. Your are making up false numbers, which means I cannot trust your other claims. If you would like to provide some hard evidence, then I would be open to listening. Maybe you should ask the people who were killed what they think. Oh, wait... How would you like to be one of the people in these scenarios? Thankfully, I am happy you were not. If these self-wrecking cars were never on the road, all of these people would still be alive.
Here is continuance article, just today. https://arstechnica.com/cars/2019/05/family-sues-tesla-over-deadly-2018-autopilot-crash/
But this is not the scope of the article, so I will not continue further.
 

Godel

TS Addict
The semi-trailer decapitation involved the car driving into the sun with the driver's hands off the wheel and:

The Tesla driver killed in the first known fatal crash involving a self-driving car may have been watching a Harry Potter movie at the time of the collision in Florida, according to a truck driver involved in the crash.

The truck driver, Frank Baressi, 62, told the Associated Press that the Tesla driver Joshua Brown, 40, was “playing Harry Potter on the TV screen” during the collision and was driving so fast that “he went so fast through my trailer I didn’t see him”.


https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jul/01/tesla-driver-killed-autopilot-self-driving-car-harry-potter

Come to think of it, all the Tesla fatalities I've read of involve the driver's hands being off the steering wheel for multiple seconds.
 
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gamerk2

TS Evangelist
But I can't even order it here in australia. Huge demand here for cyclone and bush fire resistant solar panels. Cyclone = hurricane
Again, cost. Said panels would be expensive to produce, and the amount sold likely wouldn't justify production costs.
 

Johnf80

TS Rookie
So my wife and I have solar panels and absolutely love them!! About that cost. I do not agree when anyone breaks down numbers like that with solar panels. It happens way too much. I don’t hear anyone breaking down numbers on redoing a kitchen or bathroom for 20 grand and wondering how long it will take for that to pay off. Which could be never, depending on who buys your house. Solar pays off with adding much more value to a house, helping the world be more green, and yes eventually getting your money back. Also the way it works here is that duke energy stores your extra power and it rolls over each month so you don’t even need a battery. Best and most value someone can add to their house instead of a fancy kitchen that only looks good but has no practical effect to your house or life.
I'd like to see your numbers since mine came from Tesla and several other companies. Having installed a number of systems, I've got a good bit of knowledge of costs as well as the hidden costs. Also, do remember that not ALL power companies allow the accumulation of credits and some (TVA) and actually fight against that. As to added value, that entirely depends upon the buyer. It will be interesting to hear what kind of coverage you get from your insurance company for wind & hail damage since far too many insurance companies exclude panels without added riders and $$.
As far as hard numbers it will take 9 year to break even and we got 26 panels. But what I’m saying is that some people renovate certain areas on their house and don’t blink at spending upward of 20 grand but they say solar is too expensive. I’m not saying you are one of those people. I just personally know people like that. Ncsolarnow is the company we used. It is not shingles but still looks great. We got black shingles and panels so the blend well. Also if you get a new roof with the panels you will get 30% federal back on the whole project. Not just the panels. I will say duke energy does have a good plan for net metering and we get a credit of 1kw=1kw.