Tesla doesn’t just make cars. The company also engineers, manufactures and installs solar panels — both the traditional kind and modules that look like ordinary roof tiles. And while the latter seems like it could be a path to more mainstream adoption of renewable energy, the former is still the go-to solution for the solar industry. Tesla has updated its panels to be about 10 percent more efficient, and has also lowered its prices. Given that the sizes and designs of the panels are still exactly the same, that’s a pretty impressive improvement.
According to Electrek, Tesla rated its medium-sized panel at 7.56 kW before the update, but it’s now listed as 8.16 kW. The price has also dropped from $19,500 (before federal incentives) to $16,000. That bump in efficiency, combined with an over 17 percent price drop, could convince a decent amount of homeowners to make the jump to solar power.
Not everything has been dandy for Tesla’s solar division, though. A few solar panels have caused fires — one at a Walmart store and another at an Amazon warehouse. The company also recently canceled years-long preorders for its solar roof tiles. Hopefully these more efficient panels don’t have any major issues.