Tesla Reveals New 325 Watt, 21.76% Efficient Solar Panel

APR 11 2017 BY MARK KANE 71

Tesla Solar Panels

Tesla has introduced a new solar panel product, that will be offered in parallel to the more expensive (but still hella cool) Solar Roof option.

The panels to be produced in the company’s Buffalo (New York) factory together with Panasonic, and the modules themselves are apparently exclusively made by Panasonic for Tesla.

Tesla Solar Panels

Tesla then combines the new modules from the Japanese company with its sleek, low-profile design, based on Zep Solar’s solutions (Zep Solar was earlier acquired by SolarCity to profit from mounting systems that drastically reduce the cost of installation and significantly improve safety and aesthetics).

“Our solar panels blend into your roof with integrated front skirts and no visible mounting hardware. The result is a clean, streamlined look.”

Tesla naturally encourages consumers to consider the seamless integration its solar installation with a Powerwall 2.0 energy storage system solution.  Why not an all-electric Model 3 while one is at it too?

“Powerwall charges with energy produced by solar panels, making that energy available when needed, day or night. Powerwall also enables your solar panels to produce energy during grid outages.”

As of now (and much like with its Solar Roof program), Tesla has yet to reveal any details on the product or pricing.  Currently the company website lists only a “Request a Custom Quote” tab. Production and sales are however to begin later this summer.

According to Electrek, modules are 325 W and “Tesla claims that they “exceed industry standards for durability and lifespan””. Other Panasonic panels (325 W) are rated at 25-year power output warranty and 21.76%.  Tesla will also continue to make available the current 250-260 watt panels of today.

As a bonus, here is another image of the upcoming Solar Roof:

Tesla Solar Roof

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71 Comments on "Tesla Reveals New 325 Watt, 21.76% Efficient Solar Panel"

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5 of these panels will produce enough electricity to drive a 100 D model x for 15,000 miles per year. That is if you have 3400 hours of sunny hours like I do in Cairo Egypt. Add another 5 you will get enough electricity to run your inverter AC like my Samsung, the fridge lights etc free for life. A very good deal I would say.

Not true. Solar rating is for peak power. As the sun hits it at an angle (ie, not at noon), power will be less. Figure about 1/4 depending on your roof direction, so you’d need about 20 panels for 15K miles of X.

But if they make “solar sunflower” with these panels, you’d only need 5.

You must be mistaking. It is not that different on a cloudy day as it does not convert heat into energy like the old ones, but converts UV.

Possible with around 8 panels, if you have sunny weather. 700 kWh per year per panel is possible (in Holland we calculate with 0.8x watt peak = kWh/year, but that is an other story in Cairo).

3400 hours of sun is incredible. Most places have far less. I have roughly 1000 hours here in Syracuse, NY. I believe Germany (a world leader in solar) is very similar. So yeah, I need about 3.4x as many panels as you to get the same energy in a year. Oh, and it’s very seasonal (May-July is peak). I assume that Cairo is much less seasonal. In other words, you are near optimum climate/location for solar.

With less than three hours of sun a day, Syracuse NY must be up to its armpits in vampires.

LoL! Haven’t noticed any vampires.

We are downwind of all 5 Great Lakes, so it is frequently overcast. The panels produce some energy beneath the clouds, but only about 25-30% of what they would in direct sun. We also get a ton of snow, and the panels basically shut off for 3 months of the year.

Still, despite that, my panels are going to save me money over buying from the grid. And we pay a reasonable ~$0.11/kWh here.

There’s a confusion here between sun hours and PV harvest. The latter is what is usually quoted in the US. It is never more than 2100 hours for a fixed panel (25% capacity factor ) in a zero cloud location.

Alright, can you help clarify then? I’m not sure what the difference is. When I say I get 1000 hours, I mean that a 325W panel will produce 325kWh in a typical year when placed on my roof. This includes the loses through the inverter, etc. I find it is a very useful number for comparison. But that’s only true if we are talking about the same number!

Fellows you don’t seem to get the main point here. Of course Egypt has more sunny hours than say NY, Aswan has 4,500 hours. But the main point is that it is pea nuts. 5 or 10 panels are plenty. I mentioned the X100D, but take the IONIQ electric for example. It consumes about 1kWh for every 10 km (6 miles). So you will need about half of the X 100D and we are just in the beginning. According to my calculations we will see the Model 3 consuming less than the IONIQ because it has a better drag coefficient.

Now let us say 5 panels for $750 or even $1,000 add a Powerwall 2 for $6,500. Then add $12,000 for a used or even group buying car say a LEAF or soon a used IONIQ. Add $1,000 for a new AC that is the inverter type THEN for about $20,000 you will get FREE mobility and free electricity for LIFE. And as I said we are just starting. I am predicting that this $20,000 will be much less in say 5 years time. THAT is the main point fellows.

No, I get the point. I’m just pointing out HOW MUCH more sun you get. Of course, the Southwestern US gets a lot more sun than the Northeast. But even there, it’s nothing compared to what you’re saying.

So all of your calculations are for pretty much the best-case scenario. For those of us in the US (seemingly most of the readership on this site), you will need 2-3x as many panels as you would in Cairo. And I’m not even going to touch the Powerwall needs to save excess production from August to be used in February.

And that is why I commented what I did.

Ok Brian let us make it $25,000 or $30,000. It is still a good deal if you ask me.

1.625 kW (5*325W) fixed system would generate around 2000 kWh/year in Syracuse, N.Y.
2700 kWh/year in San Diego
2539 kWh per year in Cairo.

So the difference isn’t that huge. The main problem that cost of 3 month storage for winter use (if you need it) would be a show stopper.

Source: http://pvwatts.nrel.gov/pvwatts.php

You may check world solar insolation map with numbers to get an idea about differences in various parts of the world.

While I appreciate the data, I can tell you from direct experience (both mine and others’) that the number you give is optimistic for Syracuse NY. 2000 kWh / 1.625kW =~ 1230 hours of sunlight per year. That’s high by about 20-25%. I’m guessing that they don’t account for snow cover properly, which basically brings production to zero for about 3-4 months of the year. Granted, they are months with shorter days and lower sun angles, but still 4 months can add up to 20% of annual production.

PVWatts provides output month by month if you are interested.
82h kW for Dec, 95 kWh for Jan, 128 kWh for Feb. 1981 total, so it is only 15% for whole 3 months. I would guess sometimes snow may thaw or you may clean it 😉
Well, obviously it is not something that would make much sense without utility buying electricity at retail price. But it is still much better than in Central or Northern Europe that is at latitude of New Foundland and is warm only because of Gulf Stream.

I get slightly different numbers otherwise using the defaults. Anyway, I get:
Nov = 83
Dec = 81
Jan = 102
Feb = 116
Mar = 176
Year Total = 1982.

So yeah, Dec-Feb is 15%. But notice I said 4 months, not three. So add in Mar, and now you are up to 24%. In other words, PV Watts agrees with what I said.

Yes, snow thaws eventually. But we also get covered for a week or two in April and May. And those are higher production months. So yeah, 20% is a good rule-of-thumb.

And no, I do not recommend trying to clear snow off panels mounted on the roof of a 2-story home.

Brian, NREL has an online calculator that you can use to predict the solar output at your location, you need the coordinates and you have to specify the size of your installation and the efficiency of the panels and inverter(s) and you have to choose roof mount or an angle for a ground mount array. I used their tool for the design of our 23,000 watt ground mount system and so far after 6 1/2 months of operation I am within a couple of hundred kWh of the calculators estimate.

Now let take account of the fact that most solar panels rather dramatically drop output at temps over 80 F (26.6 C) and as the day wears on the sun is shining through much more atmosphere, etc.

That depends very much on the new panels’ price…
It’s always been the case that the most efficient PV panels aren’t the most cost-effective ones, so they get used primarily where there are serious space constraints.


Very nice…go tesla go.

If people lived in a smaller houses they wouldn’t need as much power.

Not necessarily true. If you don’t use heat/cool, small or big houses don’t matter in terms of energy usage.

Even if they heat/cool, efficiently designed big house could use less. For example, using a heat pump for per-room environmental control in big house could be lot more energy efficient than traditional whole-house heat/cool in small house.

Then there’s also insulation, which is far better in new big house vs old small house.

Why are you arbitrarily changing things. It’s like saying, “Well if your aunt had balls, she’d be your uncle.”

Take 2 “new” houses, located in … let’s say Kansas City (middle of the US). One is 1000 sqft and the other is 10,000 sqft. If you don’t think the one that is 10 x larger isn’t going to use more energy to heat/cool, I’ve got some swampland to sell you.



I use zone heating in my house, and it’s an older smaller house. I just shut off the heat ducts, 10 seconds to open or close, rooms I am not using.
Gas heat runs around $70 a month on average, electricity around $30 a month, for a total of $100 a month, in a cold climate.

This sounds like a repackaging of the old argument “a Humvee is more efficient than a Prius.” In order to make the argument work, there is a ton of qualifiers that only hold true in a very small number of cases, which is exactly what you did.

I have a lot of the efficiency technology you mention built into my house, and it is smaller relative to my neighbors. See how I just turned your argument around?

As a follow on to your insulation comment:

I can tell you from personal experience that there is actually very little correlation between newer homes and better insulation. Sure, the R-value requirements are higher, but insulation, particularly batt insulation, is only as effective as the quality of it’s installation. And right now, many – if not most – builders (particularly here in California) are actually not very good at doing it right.

SparkEV said:

“If you don’t use heat/cool, small or big houses don’t matter in terms of energy usage.”

That’s got to be one of the silliest claims I’ve ever seen on InsideEVs.

First of all, who builds a house in a first-world country without any A/C or central heating? And secondly, even if they did, larger homes have more rooms which means more lights and more appliances that use electricity.

The rule of thumb is that European homes are on average not much over half the size of American homes, and on average use not much over half as much electricity. Coincidence? I think not!

Kdawg was absolutely correct to say “If people lived in a smaller houses they wouldn’t need as much power.”

Silliest ever? Not sure about that. It’s right up there with ‘weight doesn’t matter on electric cars’ though.

Oh and additional point to add to yours. If two houses have similar characteristics such as same insulation factor and general shape, then the bigger house always loses more energy. This is because it has more surface area. There is only one way heat escapes a building…through the surface. People tend to confuse this fact with a secondary fact that as volume goes up si dies the surface area but not as quickly.
The surface area to volume ratio goes down since for every foot increase in the footprint dimension (for simplicity consider a square foundation), the volume increases proportionally to the cube of the length of the side of the foundation but the surface area only increases quadratically. So on a per cubic unit of volume the larger house leaks less heat (per volume) proportional to the inverse of the length of one side (inversely proportional) But there is MORE in total heat loss.

That’s true relatively speaking. As smaller houses are easier to make energy efficient.
I use about 125 kWh a month.

125kWh/mo? You must not own an EV. My Leaf takes twice that to drive 650 miles.

I never get under 400kwh even in winter when there is no use of AC. How the hell you get 125?

I suspect he meant 1250 kWh/month, which is still pretty good. Either that or he lives like the Amish! 😉

The german average for a 4 people household is 3.500kWh/year or 290kWh/month. Using only 125kWh/month can easily be done if you are a little bit energy efficient and live alone or are only a couple without kids.

If people lived in bigger houses they would have more space for solar panels 🙂

You don’t need a roof for solar panels though. And you’ll notice 100% of the roof is not covered with solar.

Kdawg, not sure where you are from but in US you can’t cover all the roof surface with panels due to fire codes. Also any back yard structure has to be permitted otherwise they will not instal on it….ask me how i nkow this:-)

If people lived in smaller houses, they wouldn’t need as many solar panels. 🙂

Bigger roof doesn’t guarantee more solar space.

Trees, shading and angle of roofs, building fire code for access and pipe/exhaust vent can all affect installation.

That’s close to Sunpower X21 blacks ! Not too shabby.

Hopefully the Solar tiles are in the same proximity efficiency wise per sq mtr.

I know right. My couple year old Sunpowers are still above this. Hopefully they are cheaper in price.

Doubt it. There is lots of wasted space in the tiles. But you should be able to make up for that space by covering the entire roof.

That’s what I was thinking also !

You have to weigh up paying the premium for aesthetics, my roof although virtually south facing gets almost as much sun on the North side in summer months from April – Sept (good for EV’s extra summer driving & Air con) as the South facing side so was wondering if it was feasible to have both sides of my roof done with the solar tiles ?

Cost will probably be too prohibitive though.

It may get as much sun as the south facing roof but it’s not going to generate anywhere near as much power. Well, unless you put the panels on stilts so that that are angled south.

Put your info in to this website. It’s pretty darn accurate and shows the big difference between south and north facing roofs, even if it looks like they’re getting the same amount of sun.

For another example my panels are in sun at 10AM yet they produce a lot less power than say between 12 and 2PM because of the angle of the sun. maybe in the future the angle won’t be that big of a deal but for now it is!

I was thinking the same thing – SunPower is still the most efficient and durable on the market…for a price.

Pretty sure my neighbors have the new 325 watt panels here in FL, they had them installed last week and have the skirts. They look damn good.

A welcome bit of harmony between the Buffalo facility’s earlier product visions and the emerging Tesla product envisioning.

Without full specs it’s a bit hard to be completely clear, but the efficiency looks to be incrementally improved over pre-existing Panasonic offerings.

My 5-year-old panels are 225W, and at the time that was pretty amazing to me. The technology keeps marching forward at such an incredible rate. In another 5-10 years, I can only imagine what we will have!

I’m betting your panels are of the 72 cell (6×12) variety.
The new Panasonic 325W are likely 96 cells (8×12) and physically bigger with a small boost in efficiency.

Your system is still not at all shabby!

SunPower cells are 24% efficient. They had a terrible 2016.

It’s hard to commit to buying a $20,000 residential system when you know it will be 15% cheaper next year and another 15% the year after that, and so on. Grid solar also does the job more cheaply with no construction headaches. Still, if your grid is dirty, it’s a nice feel-good move.

Yes, panels keep getting cheaper. But when I bought mine in 2011, they were already cheaper than grid energy (*with the incentives at the time). The break-even point is about 10 years, and they are warrantied for 25. So the lifetime energy cost will be less. That’s more than a “feel-good” move. So why not buy today and start saving money already? If you keep waiting, you’ll keep losing out on savings.

Grid solar isn’t remotely cheaper than roof-top, because of this item on electric bills called “transmission”. You talk about someone buying solar, and simultaneously take the utility perspective on buying it from the roof-top owner, versus buying it from a field. Tisk, tisk.

Utilities have been bragging about preventing “thousands of pounds” of CO2, from their hybrids and the roof at headquarters, while reporting emissions in the “millions of tons” every year.

They are the ones merely chasing “feel good”.

What are you talking about? When you refer to “roof-top”, are you referring to solar panels connected to Tesla Power walls which are then connected to the grid. And “Grid Solar” is just a solar grid interconnected system with no Power walls?
I don’t have a power wall and have two electric cars and a 6.4kWh system and every year I get a check from Southern California Edison for $60 for overproduction. Zero out of pocket cost, two year payback taking into account gasoline savings with a system costing $6500.

I tried to distinguish between who is the judge of ‘cheaper’. While it is cheaper for utility customers to buy grid solar (meaning from multi-acre farms) than it is to buy power from others roofs, the cheapest answer is to have it on your own roof, and limit what you sell back to your utility (lavish incentives notwithstanding).

SCE customer net metering, through CPUC, gets heavy favor from CA. Other states, too. But states like AZ and NV have gone hostile. So, what’s “cheaper” needs to first wash away whether you’re being subsidized, or abused. I’m arguing the position that the cheapest power is what you have, plus a reasonable cost to use the “grid as battery”. Those two are cheaper than a utility contracting at $.05/KWh from a solar farm, but then layering its $.05-.10/KWh wire costs on top.


I would get a system now. Who knows what the current administration will do with the 30% tax credit. Panels are only $0.51/watt for Canadian Solar panels:http://www.ecobusinesslinks.com/surveys/free-solar-panel-price-survey/

Can’t beat that price if you have the space for inefficient panels and inexpensive mounting options. I built a 6.4kWh system for $6500 after incentives. Just put up a patio cover and covered it with panels.

Be careful conflating module (panel) price with installed cost. Modules now only account for maybe 25% of the total cost of a turn-key residential system. So even if the price of the module drops 15%, it’s 15% of 25% or about 3.75% drop. Even if it’s 33% of the cost, you’re still only talking 5%. Even if you DIY it, it’s still not that much. Every year you wait to install them is a year’s less power you’re going to produce and a year for the incentives to get worse. In the meantime, you pay rent to the utility. It’s not like a car where you band-aid your beater and in a few years you can buy the same gently used car that you had your eye on for half the price. It’s more like you’re paying taxi fares for another year and still end up stuck buying the next-year’s model at the new price that’s maybe a little cheaper than last year. The biggest issue is that you may not get grandfathered into the current more favorable rates, and your price for power keeps going up (albeit slowly). At some point you should pull the trigger. It seems like… Read more »

That is the bad logic i keep hearing over and over…”i will wait 10 years to add solar and will get it at 50% price reduction”. The problem with that is in 8-10 years the system you install today will be paid out and you will be getting free electricity while the person waiting will wait 5 more years to get even. Put the numbers on paper people! There is no reason to wait any longer!

The efficiency number in the title (21.76%) should refer to that of the cells, not the module. The module efficiency of highest-efficient Panasonic modules are in the low- to mid-19% range.

I thought it sounded high !

Sunpower x21’s are about as good as you can get at 21% Module efficiency for commercially available panels.

That was my thought too. But . . . the Elektrek article does claim it’s at the module level.

“The non-exclusive 325-watt panels that Panasonic sells to other installers have a module efficiency of 21.76%”

Note that these may not be the same product exactly, but seem to have a claimed efficiency that’s curiously identical.

It does seem a bit high for the module. Go figure!

The 325W Panasonic panel is listed on the Panasonic website as having a 19.4% module efficiency: http://business.panasonic.com/VBHN325SA16.html

I tested the Soliva modules that Solar City purchased a coupe of years ago and the cell efficiency rivals Sunpower cells. Assuming that they haven’t changed much this should be about right. They would be 96 cell modules just like SunPower.
My preferred module these days is Solaria. 330 watt modules and absolutely beautiful. They work at a higher voltage so the module Voc is about 44 volts. That works incredibly well with the G320 microinverter from Darfon.

How do I contact ‘Darfon? I am interested in the microinverter since my panels are blocked by a Redwood tree in summer afternoons.

Why not use Enphase microinverters?

Thanks, Jay A.
I was able to see the same values for the 325W module that you probably saw on this spec sheet: ftp://ftp.panasonic.com/solar/specsheet/n325330-spec-sheet.pdf
It appears that the Electrek article misrepresented the product specs under discussion and insideEVs headlined the misrepresentation.

Do we know how big these panels are?

Higher efficiency usually don’t matter to most customers unless one has a limited space in the roof for a desired wattage.

It is all about cost/kW for consumer business. Of course, reducing the size of panel will shrink installation cost a little bit, but it won’t make enough difference to cover the difference in $/kW.

Most of the installation cost are wiring, rails, permits and overheads as well as inverters.

Would someone request a custom quote then share their findings, if allowed?

High efficiency, because we’re running out of roof space.