Tesla Energy has reportedly released a new, more powerful residential solar module, boosting the wattage per panel to 420W, up from the current sole offering from the California-based company, of a 340W Hanwha solar module.
The news and the specs of the new Tesla solar panel series were shared by the website, Electrek, with a product datasheet describing it as one of the most powerful – and “beautiful” – residential solar panels available on the US market.
“The Tesla module is one of the most powerful residential photovoltaic modules available,” the spec sheet says – efficiency is listed at up to 19.8%.
“Our system requires up to 20 percent fewer modules to achieve the same power as a standard system. The module boasts a high conversion efficiency and a half-cell architecture that improves shade tolerance,” Tesla says.
“Featuring our proprietary Zep Groove design, the all-black module connects easily with Tesla ZS components to keep panels close to your roof and close to each other for a blended aesthetic with simple drop-in and precision quarter-turn connections.”
Tesla also says that its panels are subject to “automotive-grade engineering scrutiny and quality assurance, far exceeding industry standards.”
The new solar product comes as Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk faces court over the company’s 2016 acquisition of solar company SolarCity, to answer accusations that he strong-armed the board to agree to the ill-fated deal.
A year before buying SolarCity, Tesla had announced plans to sell PV panels and home batteries alongside its electric cars.
The battery venture has, of course, been an outstanding success. On the solar side, however, the panel business has laboured, losing the mantle (held by SolarCity) of biggest US market supplier even as demand for rooftop solar has boomed.
Perhaps confusing the issue for the company has been its integrated solar glass tiles product, the Tesla Solar Roof, a pet product of Musk’s that was supposed to “go off like kelp on steroids” but instead has – as Musk put it at the company’s April earnings call – “choked at the installation point” and attracted further court cases over recent price hikes.
Still, Musk has a plan – solar is one leg of his three-legged stool for a sustainable energy future – and with the release of this new panel, he appears to be forging ahead.
The new panel is not yet on Tesla Energy’s US site, so it’s unlikely to make an appearance in Australia any time soon. But we will keep readers posted.
On the Australia’s Tesla Energy site, the Solar Roof is the only solar product on offer at the moment – that is it is open to orders – with a $1000 deposit – but still could be months away from being available, according to previous statements from company reps.
Tesla, as of May this year, will only sell its solar products as a package deal with one or more of its Powerwall home battery systems – a decision tweeted by Musk in April and then introduced company-wide.
In January, a standalone solar inverter was added to Tesla’s suite of energy products, a key step towards establishing a completely integrated solar energy, battery storage and EV charging solution.