Tesla Solar (Formally SolarCity) Review: Is the Industry Leader #1 in Our Book?

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SolarCity House with Solar Panels: SolarCity ReviewWant to lower your monthly electric bills and protect the Earth at the same time? Save money and offset carbon emissions by going solar! It’s easier than ever before to convert your home to solar power. Companies like Tesla Solar (formally SolarCity), the nation’s leading residential solar provider since 2006, do all the work for you. SolarCity is a full-service company for solar financing, design engineering, obtaining permits, installation and more. Read our SolarCity reviews to see why we chose SolarCity as our winner for our review of the best home solar panel systems.

Tesla Solar (Formally SolarCity)

4.5 / 5
Tesla Solar (Formally SolarCity)
Installation Process 4.5
System Monitoring 4.5
Performance Guarantee 4.5
Availability in U.S. 5.0
Cost 4.5
Customer Support 4.0


  • Excellent financing options, including lease, loan and PPA
  • They hire their own installers
  • SolarCity monitors your system 24/7
  • Performance guarantee
  • Mobile app tracks system’s production and your home’s consumption
  • Battery backup if your grid goes down
  • Award-winning customer service
  • In-person evaluation of your roof
  • Team of engineers designs your system
  • BBB Accredited: A+


  • Some consumer complaints about pushy salespeople and installation delays

Key Features

  • SolarCity’s average solar energy system offsets 178 tons of CO2 emissions over 30 years
  • Wide variety of financing options, including loans, leases and power purchase agreements (see our Financing section below for more details)
  • Located in 20 states, including AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, MD, MA, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OR, PA, RI, TX, UT, VT WA, and the District of Columbia
  • Aesthetically pleasing Zep Solar panels with low-impact mounting technology
  • Solid investment program has raised $9 billion to offer consumers solar panel financing
  • SolarCity offers 24/7 monitoring and mobile apps where you can monitor your system and battery backup

SolarCity Financing Options

Tip: You can save even more money by applying for state and federal solar energy tax incentives and rebates.

  • Purchase a solar panel system. Pay outright or by credit card or obtain a loan directly through SolarCity. SolarCity provides a 20-year system warranty.
  • Sign up for a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). A PPA is similar to a lease in most ways. But, rather than a fixed monthly fee with a lease, you pay monthly for the electricity you produce at a set rate with a PPA. SolarCity offers $0 down and a 0-2.9% annual escalator.
  • Lease a solar panel system with $0 down and a fixed monthly lease payment. Leases for a 3-kilowatt system start at $25-$100 per month for 20-30 years, based on approved credit. No security deposit required.


Looking for a Tesla Solar promo code? Click here for the best deal we could find.

Does SolarCity Shine for Current Customers?

See below for a sampling of positive SolarCity customer reviews as well as SolarCity complaints from customers who currently use their system.

Positive SolarCity Reviews

Having completed installation of SolarCity solar generating panels, I can say without a doubt that the service, installation process and followup [sic] on our system from day 1 was nothing short of outstanding! My monthly electric bill from our local utility supplier (SDG&E) has been less than $10/month… for the first two months – a pleasing change from approximately $300/month! System is performing very well, is aesthetically pleasing to look at, and I’m proud to “go green” and generate power via the sun – certainly the way of the future! Well done Solar City. A happily satisfied customer! – Gary, 9/12/2016, ConsumerAffairs

After researching for a year and soliciting 5 bids, I got a Power Purchase Agreement with Solar City. Their estimate came in better than the initial sales contact had guessed, and the actual performance of the system has exceeded their predictions by about 20%. Everything was installed correctly and was up and running within 8 weeks of signing the contract… I love my system, it looks great, and I’m saving almost 30% on my energy bills. – B.M., 8/12/2016, BBB

Negative SolarCity Reviews

I had several companies come out to my property. I had SolarCity give me an estimate and the sales guy would literally show up on my doorstep once a week unannounced. I made it clear to all of the companies that came out to do an estimate, including SolarCity, that I was not that interested in leasing and was more interested in purchasing. The SolarCity representative was very pushy and insistent that leasing would be the best way to go. – Fiorenzo, 7/21/2016, ConsumerAffairs

Doing business with SC has been one of the worst decisions I have ever made. There [sic] customer service is the worst ever!! It took 2 years of emails back and forth to resolve a billing inquiry. Often it would take 2-4 weeks to get a return email (and I was supposedly working with their “customer relations manager.”) – Sherri B., 7/12/2016, BBB

Want Clean Energy for Less Money?

SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive tells CBS This Morning how SolarCity gives consumers clean energy for less money vs. dirty energy for more money. Check out the video interview.

How Can Your SolarCity Panels Help Kids in Haiti?

There’s a lot to love about SolarCity, including the company’s charitable work through its GivePower Foundation. For every megawatt of solar power SolarCity installs, its foundation donates a solar power system and battery to a school without electricity. Kids in some of the poorest areas in the world, including Haiti, Nicaragua, Nepal and Senegal, now benefit from SolarCity’s program.

Why Is SolarCity our Top Choice?

SolarCity continues to maintain its dominance in the residential solar panel industry for good reasons. As a whole, their financing options, equipment, battery backup, customer service, installation process, high-quality installers, monitoring, and SolarCity cost (we could go on!) are the best on the market. But we still encourage you to check out SolarCity competitors. Some of their competitors are worthy of consideration.

What do you like or dislike about SolarCity’s solar energy system?

About The Author:

Sally is a huge fan of fresh, organic food. One of her favorite hobbies is cooking with as many fresh herbs, spices and veggies as possible. And she's devoted to her all-natural skin products and cosmetics. It's saved her and her daughter from the curse of skin allergies. When she's not writing and researching (and being a Mom), you can find Sally getting down to earth in her home garden. Her work has appeared in many notable media outlets, including The Washington Post, Entrepreneur, People, Forbes, Huffington Post, and more.

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