Energy Products

New Solar Referral Program

Thank you, Mr. Musk for offering up a new referral program for your solar product, but forgive me if I opt to not participate. You see, when I purchased my solar system from you two years ago you had a referral system in place that offered some cash or Tesla account credit for each referral AND - when you had 5 referrals installed - a free, limited edition Power Wall. Well, since I had been driving my Model S for a year and just installed your solar system, I decided having a Power Wall at home would be a great idea, so I organized neighborhood ice cream socials at my home and had your Tesla solar reps in attendance, I sent out flyers to the 155 neighbors in my development about your system, and I generally talked up your solar product as much as possible to anyone who would listen. I had 5 referrals in the works and a few more 'potentials' within a month. Over the next 120 days, 3 of these referrals got installed and then "POOF" - Tesla cancelled that solar referral program without any fanfare. I wasn't even aware it was cancelled for almost 3 months until I called the Tesla solar salesperson I was working with about more referrals. It took you almost 5 months to even pay out the small cash awards, but everything else evaporated. Boy, did I get screwed. All that work and great promotion for Tesla just to have the Power Wall 'carrot' yanked away - no grace period, no option to pay prorated value of the Power Wall, no credit or conversion into the next solar referral program. Nothing. Just cancelled, thank you very much.

I think, Mr. Musk, if that's the way you are going to treat your customers who work hard to help you promote your products, I'll just pass on this new referral program for fear that's all smoke and mirrors as well.

Dave K


  • edited February 4
    I will never recommend Tesla Solar (formally Solar City) nor would I refer anyone - the worst customer service.... I have 41 panels with 2 inverters (not happy with that either). One of my systems stopped working the end of September beginning of October and after months of calling trying to find out what was going on was told there was an arc fault and they remotely shut the system down - no one notified me. My second system stopped working in January and I can not find out what is going on. I have been on the phone for many hours with them (after going crazy to find a number to call to get a response). They told me they are short of staff in my area and have no ETA and no plan on fixing my system. I have sent emails to the solarsupport andto [email protected] NO RESPONSE - so now I am into 4 month with no elictricty being generated and no way to find out what is going on......
  • edited February 6
    name of the game in solar is to go with microinverters as if one goes bad, all rest of panels keep working. Tesla refuses to use microinverters so I went with local install and got top of line LG system installed cheaper than what Tesla was offering.
  • edited February 10

    I think it just depends on what your salesman convinces you of. Ha.

    LG w/ microinverters is more than 40% more expensive than Tesla in my area, for a similar system. Here are the downsides of microinverters according to a cheaper competitor that was using the same equipment Tesla uses:
    1) They create heat that is released right at the solar panel, which will warm it up. Since panels lose efficiency as they heat up, you're losing some efficiency because of this -- especially in warmer climates.
    2) All inverters will eventually fail. When a microinverter goes out, its sometimes hard to tell that anything is wrong. In a 41-panel system, would you notice a ~2.5% drop in power output? Not unless you have access to (and are checking) per-panel output. Is your installer going to tell you something is wrong? Maybe, if they're honest, but that would cost them money if they system is still under warranty, so there's a disincentive to tell you.
    3) Microinverters are harder to replace when they do fail. Workers must get up on your roof to replace the microinverter, rather than just swapping out a regular inverter near the ground. If the bad microinverter is near the center of a group of panels, they may have to remove several panels just to get to the bad microinverter, which increases labor costs (which you pay for one way or another). Since they're all going to fail at different times, you're probably going to have guys going up and down on your roof many times. If you're young enough to still have the system when its out of warranty, this is going to end up costing you a lot of money (or time if you're comfortable doing it yourself when you're 25+ years older than you are now).

    In contrast, inverters placed near the ground can completely wipe out your solar production when they fail. But you'll definitely notice it and you'll definitely light a fire under your installer to get out and replace it if its under warranty. If you're outside of your warranty, this is probably something you can DIY even when you're older since you don't have to get up on the roof. If you hire someone to do it, labor costs will be nothing compared to having people come out multiple times to make several trips to the roof.

    I may have fallen pray to the anti-microinverter salesman, but his points made sense to me more than the points the pro-microinverter guy had.
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