Q Cells and Tesla Solar are among the leading solar panel manufacturers. But which brand is right for your solar panel installation? In this blog, we’ll review both companies in a few key areas, so you get a sense of the pros and cons of each:
Comparing Tesla and Q Cells Solar Panels
Who Makes Q Cells Solar Panels?
Q Cells is the solar manufacturing subsidiary of South Korean firm Hanwha Chemical. In 2012, they purchased the German-founded Q Cells brand and quickly became one of the world's leading producers of solar panels.
Q Cells manufactures its panels in several Asian countries as well as in America. In 2019, Q Cells opened an assembly facility in Dalton, GA — the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. But they didn't stop there with their investment in American manufacturing. In May 2022, the company announced a $170 million plan to increase its manufacturing capacity to 3.1 GW.
Their continued investment in manufacturing here in the US is why they are one of the top American-made solar panels.
Who Makes Tesla Solar Panels?
Headquartered in Austin, TX, Tesla is one of the world’s most recognizable electric vehicle manufacturers. Through the 2016 acquisition of SolarCity, Tesla entered into the solar industry, manufacturing panels in Buffalo, NY.
In addition to its low-profile solar panels, the company is also known for its solar battery system, the Tesla Powerwall, and the Tesla Solar Roof, which is a solar shingle hybrid product.
Tesla employs its own installation crews located in all 50 states. They also have a network of certified local installation companies.
Tesla and Q cells Solar Panel Prices
Whether you’re looking to power your home, business, or farm, the cost of solar is often a big factor when going solar. While it may be tempting to opt for the cheapest panels you can find, the better approach is often choosing the panels that offer the best value for your budget.
When it comes down to it, there isn’t a huge price difference between the two brands. How much are Tesla solar panels? While the price will vary based on location, they’ll typically cost between $2.00 - $2.75 per watt before solar incentives. That’s less than the national average of $2.60 - $3.00 per watt.
As of the writing of this article in November 2022, Tesla is also offering a price match guarantee. If you get a lower quote from an installer for a system of equal size, they could potentially match that price.
Q Cells solar panels will cost around $2.30 - $3.00 per watt before incentives. This is right around the national average.
Which brand offers the better deal? That comes down to what you value. Tesla’s customer service process is somewhat unique. The process is less personalized than other manufacturers/installers and is completed in large part online. This is a pain point for many of their customers.
Additionally, they only offer nine standard system sizes. This means they will not customize their systems to fit your needs. This could mean you’re not getting the best possible ROI on your investment.
With Q Cells and other brands installed by local and regional solar companies, you’ll get a personalized experience. Their design team will create a custom system to suit your specific needs and property, and they’ll be there to answer any questions, make any changes, and help you through the process.
For what can be just a modest price difference, many solar owners prefer this route.
Which Are More Efficient - Q Cells or Tesla Solar Panels?
Solar panels’ efficiency is the percentage of electricity a solar panel can create from the energy it receives from the sun. Along with temperature coefficient, power tolerance, and wattage, efficiency is an important metric in determining solar system production.
Tesla solar panels have efficiencies of 19.3% to 20.6%. Q Cells’ current solar panels range in efficiency from 19.78% to 21.16%. This gives Q Cells panels a slight edge.
When it comes to overall performance, you may hear that Tesla panels are more powerful than other panels. But that’s not because of superior technology. Tesla panels are simply larger than most other panels, meaning one panel will generate more electricity. However, because of their larger size, it could limit the size fo the system.
The unique size of Tesla’s panels could also make it difficult to replace them if there is an issue down the road and the same Tesla panel is unavailable.
Quality & Protection: Which Brand Offers Better Warranties
There are two types of solar panel warranties. The product warranty and the performance warranty.
Q Cells and Tesla Product Warranties
Product warranties protect against defective and damaged panels. They’re good for ensuring you don’t end up with a damaged product, but they’re also a good marker of quality. A solar manufacturer that makes low-quality panels that constantly break couldn't afford a long, extensive warranty.
Q Cells' product warranties range from 12 to 25 years, depending on the model you select. Tesla’s solar panel warranty lasts for 25 years on all models.
Q Cells and Tesla Performance Warranties
As panels age, they’ll produce less electricity. Performance warranties protect against panel degradation by ensuring the panels degrade at a certain rate.
Q Cells and Tesla have the same performance warranty terms: a 25-year linear warranty. During the first year, both guarantee their panels will put out at least 98% of nominal production. For each additional year, they shouldn’t degrade at a rate higher than 0.54%.
Are Tesla Solar Panels Better Than Q Cells?
Both Tesla and Q Cells solar panels can be good options. They both offer efficient solar panels at mid-market prices, and they back up their products with good warranties. When it comes down to it, the biggest difference between a Tesla solar panel and a Q Cells is the service.
Tesla offers an online experience where you’ll input your information virtually and get one of nine standardized system sizes. If this approach is for you and you’re confident that you’ll get a system that suits your needs, this could be the right option.
With Q Cells, you’ll likely work with a regional solar energy installer like Paradise Energy Solutions. You’ll develop a relationship with your own consultant, who will be there to understand your needs and answer your questions. Then, they’ll design a solar energy system customized to meet your goals. If this more personalized approach appeals to you, Q Cells could be the right option.
Are you sold on the idea of saving money with a solar energy investment but need help selecting the best solar panels for your system?
Take the next step by getting in touch with our team by clicking the button below. If you're located in the mid-Atlantic region, our team of solar experts will answer all your questions, help you select the best solar panels and inverters, and provide exact numbers for a system that best fits your needs.
Want to do more research on your own? Check out these other solar panel brand comparisons and this guide to the best solar panel brands.