Electric cars and solar panels are like chocolate and peanut butter: two great things that are even better together.
On Monday, Tesla began offering a new solar rental program. Homeowners can choose among three system sizes, for small, medium, or large homes or corresponding electrical use.
The company does not require homeowners to pay any installation charges, and the rental can be terminated at any time, though there is a $1,500 fee to have the solar panels removed. Homeowners will have to pay for any ancillary upgrade costs that may be required, such as larger main breaker panels, conduit, or even new roofs.
- The small system is 3.8 kilowatts, which will produce between 9 and 13 kilowatt-hours per day. It rents for $50 a month, and Tesla says will fit for a 1,000- to 2,000-square-foot home with an electric bill estimated between $60 and $80 a month.
- The medium system costs $100, uses 7.6 kw of panels, and is expected to produce between 18 and 27 kwh per day, which Tesla says will offset an electric bill of $110 to $170 a month, good for a 2,000- to 3,000-square-foot home.
- The large system, for $150 a month, has 11.4 kw of panels, and produces between 27 and 40 kwh per day, or an estimated electric bill of $170 to $250 a month, the company says.
Prices are slightly higher in California.
eMotorWerks JuiceBox wall mount charging Tesla Model X
Customers can order the panels with a $100 deposit and calculate the size they need on Tesla's solar website. The site also provides a link to the National Renewable Energy Lab's solar production calculator.
These are conventional rack-mounted solar panels installed on the roof, not the solar roof tiles that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has widely promoted, but which the company has been slow to produce.
Tesla bought Solar City in 2016 and has worked to integrate home solar into its business alongside electric cars and storage batteries, which can store solar power produced during the day for later use at night, and also provide home emergency backup power.
While Solar City was known for leasing solar panels, sales have been slow since the company eliminated that program and focused on sales instead. Customers can still buy the panels, if they don't want to rent.
For EV owners, rooftop solar can provide a way to offset higher electric bills from charging their cars.