If you’ve been trying to decide whether or not to purchase solar panels for your home, Tesla has a new way to entice you: Renting them.
With solar rentals, Tesla says “customers get the best from solar power — clean, cheap energy to power homes and vehicles — without upfront costs or decades-long agreements. In fact, customers can get solar power with one click, instead of lengthy consultations and piles of paperwork.”
The company is offering the option to rent solar panels in six states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New Mexico.
In order to participate, you need to be the homeowner and be a ratepayer with one of the specific utility companies Telsa is working with in your state. Rentals include the panels, as well as any other necessary hardware, installation, support, and maintenance costs.
The company is offering the service in small, medium, and large sizes. A small system is 3.8 kilowatts, a medium system is 7.6 kW, and a large one is 11.4 kW. Monthly rental costs for a small system vary by state and range from $50 to $65 a month. Tesla also has some estimates on how much power those panels are expected to generate each year.
Like all good deals, there is a catch: If you decide you don’t want to rent solar from Tesla anymore, you’ll be forced to pay a $1,500 removal fee to the company to take down the equipment. That fee can’t be waived. However, if you decide to sell your home you can transfer the monthly subscription to your home’s new owners, so you don’t have to remove the panels from your roof prior to the sale.
Panels can be upgraded once you install them, but can not be downgraded unless you want to pay that $1,500 fee.
Last year, Tesla started working with Panasonic on a new catalog of solar panels that blend into a customer’s roof, with no visible hardware. The panels were first announced in 2017, but were installed on their first roof in early 2018.
Tesla’s solar panel rental program comes days after the company lowered the price of its solar panels, in some cases dropping the price per watt to as low was $1.75, 16% lower than the national average of $2.09.