You might not have guessed from the headline, but I have a Tesla, and it's on my roof. These beauties were installed in November of 2018. There's a few more not included in the picture, but together they produce somewhere around 13,000 kWh (kilowatt hours) of electricity for use in my home.
In the four years since installation, they have produced almost 55 MWh (megawatt hours) of power. This amounts to around $7,000 worth of electricity savings since installation. In other words, after 4 years, I've been able to keep $7,000 dollars that I would have otherwise payed to my electric provider.
Granted, this is still small compared to the sum I paid out of pocket in 2018 to get the system (including Powerwalls) installed after rebates, incentives and tax credits. Assuming that the price of my electricity stay around the current $0.13/kWh, the entire system will be paid for in a little over 15 years. It's also likely that the price of electricity continues to rise, and in that case, the payback happens sooner, even if I have to pay more to the electric company for the electricity I still need to buy.
What's that? Oh, yeah, I couldn't install a system that provided 100% of my needs. I actually didn't want to do that at this point anyway. The panels continue to improve, and someday, it will be worth putting up panels on the north side of the house that only gets good sun for 3-4 hours in a day.
However, I can see what you're thinking already. 15 years! That's way too long, and it doesn't even get you off grid!? I suppose it's all a matter of perspective, but there are no cars that ever pay for themselves, and we buy cars because we need to go places.
The prices of this equipment, the tax incentives and the arrangements with utility providers continues to change, but as people begin to understand the opportunity cost, I think that adoption will continue to grow, and with growth, prices fall with scale, and the sooner people understand the value, even if they can't completely disconnect from the grid, the sooner they can see that value.
I would absolutely recommend to anyone asking that they should get a quote and consider this option for their home. Not all homes can benefit because of their geographic location and the situation with shading and roof complexity, but it's worth a look. I'm not here to convince, do your own homework. I sure did, and I have the spreadsheets to show for it too, because that how I roll.
I do get asked frequently about the consequences of a large hail storm. That's a fair question. Based on my research, the panels will likely outperform the roof shingles in a large hail situation. Large hail is bad news, no matter what you have overhead, but at least I don't have to worry about their fragility.
Perhaps someday, Tesla will succeed in creating a self-driving car, and the regulations will allow you to farm out that car so that you can generate income from only the car, but that day has yet to come.
So for now, my Tesla solar and Powerwall installation is the only Tesla that pays for itself.
There's plenty more that I can share regarding my setup and all the crazy spreadsheets I have to play with the value of this decision, let me hear from you if your are curious, I'm not afraid to share my notes if you'd find it valuable.
Oh, and before I forget, even though I've already been stiffed once by Tesla referrals, here's my referral code just in case you decide to work with Tesla on your own system.