Solar Panels

Failed sale

I found these forums after the fact, and I’m surprised at how many people have had bad experiences.

I submitted an order a week ago for a 16kw system and three power walls. I submitted all of the photos immediately and waited a week for the plans. I finally texted and got the plans that day. I felt like the layout was weird and arbitrary. There was about 600sqft of south facing roof unused and 4kw of panels on a north facing sloped roof. I spent some time trying to get a response on how to negotiate the layout better, I didn’t want to spend money on 4kw of shaded panels.

Finally I canceled and checked the box that the layout wasn’t acceptable, and left a note about the specifics. I thought maybe they’d reach out to me and try to resolve it, but I guess they are too busy to try to retain sales. They made $100 off me for the initial payment, I guess that’s enough?

Surprised to hear other experiences like this on the forum. Perhaps they are overwhelmed with business to the point where they don’t have to bother. Looking for alternatives at this point.

Comments

  • Tesla has recently adopted more of a cookie-cutter approach, to reduce costs, making them one of the most price-competitive solar PV companies out there.

    Yours is but one example of how this can *negatively* effect specific sales. I guess the cost-benefit analysis showed that these changes were beneficial to Tesla Energy's overall bottom line, albeit, at your expense.
  • Is it possible that the failed sales are all from the same few "advisors"? It seems they have hired a few people who do nothing, and allowed to do so due to the nature of their hiring. I mean not that they do half the work like a bad coworker at your company, but like 0% of the required work. Then they get fired few months later and others are unable to puck up the lost projects.
    My advisors initials MD, who is a failed advisor, lets call it that. I got a new advisor, after the former's phone number is discontinued. See if they do anything, if not then cancel.
  • Yeah, it sucks because I was looking forward to it so much. I didn’t think I was asking for anything major, just a tweak to the layout before committing to the contract.

    I suppose I will try to find a local installer with good reviews. Another negative is that this saps any confidence that I can get just the Powerwall, assuming it’s the same service and I’ve already lost $100 trying to go with Tesla.
  • For me the Tesla savings were well worth any hand holding through the process. I got initial quotes from SunPower, PES, and SunPro that were from $14,000 to $30,000 higher than Tesla for an 18 kw system with tree Powerwalls. FWIW, all companies promote the Tesla Powerwall as being the best battery backup. After showing them the Tesla quote, the best price I got was still $9,000 higher.

    The biggest complaint I have seen online is an inverter failure taking a couple of months to be replaced. I can pay alot of power bills with my $9,000 savings. So a delay should I have an inverter failure is factored in to my decision.

    Tesla is a big company that I feel will be around for a while. I think they will get through their growing pains and customer service will improve.
  • Sorry, did not proof read my previous post. Should be three Powerwalls.
  • > @"william.a.mitchell_98745720" said:
    > For me the Tesla savings were well worth any hand holding through the process. I got initial quotes from SunPower, PES, and SunPro that were from $14,000 to $30,000 higher than Tesla for an 18 kw system with tree Powerwalls. FWIW, all companies promote the Tesla Powerwall as being the best battery backup. After showing them the Tesla quote, the best price I got was still $9,000 higher.
    >
    > The biggest complaint I have seen online is an inverter failure taking a couple of months to be replaced. I can pay alot of power bills with my $9,000 savings. So a delay should I have an inverter failure is factored in to my decision.
    >
    > Tesla is a big company that I feel will be around for a while. I think they will get through their growing pains and customer service will improve.

    I would have been fine hand holding someone. That said I’m now in talks with a local company and they offer better panels and a new LG RESU battery. They did a lidar scan of my roof and came up with a great layout first try. They can do 25kw south facing on mo roof compared to Tesla cutting my order to 12kw.

    It’s fine to try to streamline the process, but if Tesla is just going to ignore orders that don’t streamline perfectly into their process they should probably improve their layout software. It was not a difficult layout, I just have two levels on my roof and Tesla layout completely ignored one of them.
  • Be aware that most utilities won't approve solar PV installations that provide more than 110% of your historical average yearly consumption. You need utility approval to get Permission to Operate (PTO).

    Mine was delayed, because the utility thought my system was oversized. Solar City straightened it out by explaining my recent purchase of an EV. I still had to sign a letter to the utility attesting to the fact that I won't over-produce. I never have, and my offset sits somewhat North of 80%, which is where I want it...offsetting Tiers 2 and 3.
  • > @Skier79 said:
    > > @"william.a.mitchell_98745720" said:
    > > For me the Tesla savings were well worth any hand holding through the process. I got initial quotes from SunPower, PES, and SunPro that were from $14,000 to $30,000 higher than Tesla for an 18 kw system with tree Powerwalls. FWIW, all companies promote the Tesla Powerwall as being the best battery backup. After showing them the Tesla quote, the best price I got was still $9,000 higher.
    > >
    > > The biggest complaint I have seen online is an inverter failure taking a couple of months to be replaced. I can pay alot of power bills with my $9,000 savings. So a delay should I have an inverter failure is factored in to my decision.
    > >
    > > Tesla is a big company that I feel will be around for a while. I think they will get through their growing pains and customer service will improve.
    >
    > I would have been fine hand holding someone. That said I’m now in talks with a local company and they offer better panels and a new LG RESU battery. They did a lidar scan of my roof and came up with a great layout first try. They can do 25kw south facing on mo roof compared to Tesla cutting my order to 12kw.
    >
    > It’s fine to try to streamline the process, but if Tesla is just going to ignore orders that don’t streamline perfectly into their process they should probably improve their layout software. It was not a difficult layout, I just have two levels on my roof and Tesla layout completely ignored one of them.

    How much did they quote you for the new system with battery backup? Why not try emailing someone at Tesla to see if they can provide you with proper layout? Assuming it saves money on the installation.
  • > >
    > > It’s fine to try to streamline the process, but if Tesla is just going to ignore orders that don’t streamline perfectly into their process they should probably improve their layout software. It was not a difficult layout, I just have two levels on my roof and Tesla layout completely ignored one of them.
    >

    It's not their layout software. They are completely capable of generating layouts fast and efficiently. I assume the execs at Tesla ordered the advisors to not touch any orders that are not default. But they are pretending that they are working on it, which qualifies as "outright lying to the customers".
    I emailed and called about 6 people so far, but my design layout update is not started, that after 6 weeks of struggle with their lying customer support people.
  • I’ve posted around the forums but wanted to update my thread.

    I would have been fine emailing Tesla and trying to get some changes, they just weren’t very responsive. At the end I had hoped that cancelling with “bad layout” as the reason might get me a call back but nothing after a week. I wanted to go Tesla and felt that I put enough effort in.

    I realize now after some research that I believe their layout was due to preferring cheaper string inverters - where the whole group of panels needs to always get the same amount of sun or they stop working like the old Christmas lights.

    I know from other posts that some have gotten the better SolarEdge optimizers installed from Tesla. These provide individual panel metrics and performance, which also frees you up to put panels in areas that might get uneven shade in early morning or late evening. That adds about $40 per panel that Tesla has apparently already built into costs so they use them only when needed.

    https://www.tesla.com/support/energy/solar-panels/learn/what-tesla-installs-at-your-home

    Additionally I’ve learned that the Tesla panels are less expensive, mid-efficiency panels that are in a sweet spot of cost and efficiency. I can get down to $1.49/watt with a local company if I went with these grade of panels, but I’m going to bump up to the more efficient ones that degrade less as well for about $2/watt.

    The local company also does cleaner installs, running through the attic rather than conduit along the roof.

    This makes me question whether all of the cost cutting and bundling is really necessary if a local company can give me personalized attention, a better install, the same SolarEdge equipment Tesla uses, and the option of using the mid tier panels at the same price per watt or better panels.

    Additionally the local system being offered comes battery-ready. I can buy 16Kwh LG batteries and they just plug in, if I get PowerWall they add $4k in installation rework for the equipment to tie it into the barebones string inverter solar system.

    I can say I’ve learned a lot in all of this. I could have just mashed the approval button and taken the first, less than ideal option but I’m glad I’ve taken the time to understand how these systems work and the actual equipment Tesla uses. I think I was under the illusion that they somehow had special proprietary equipment, aside from the powerwall it’s not, and even to some extent hidden, for example if you do get the power optimizers, you have to dig and get a SolarEdge account activated to get at the per panel data.
  • Yup. Tesla excels at the three configurations with value panels and string inverters. No doubt about the economies of scale there. Anything other than this cookie-cutter approach to cost minimization appears to be Tesla Energy's Achilles heel.
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