Wanted to share some thoughts on my solar roof install in Orange County, Calif. This is my first experience with solar. In retrospect, some of the lessons learned will seem painfully obvious, but this was a learning experience for me.
Started back in Nov '19 with the $100 deposit. After uploading electricity bill from SDG&E, got two options from the design team:
1. 14 kW system with 3 Powerwalls - $86k
2. 10 kW system with 2 Powerwalls - $71k
I was on the fence here. The 10kW covers about 120% of my historical energy needs. When speaking with the salesperson, she could only say that purchasing the 14 kW would provide for "future needs" I went with the 10 kW. Given our plans for an EV, I wish I would have gone with the larger system, but with only 2 Powerwalls.
Things were pretty quiet the first half of 2020 due to Covid, I guess. Permits took 3 attempts with city before finally approved. But got a call in June and had my install scheduled at end of June.
Step 1. Remove old roof. This was a contracted third-party company. Fast and efficient. They had to take down my gutters to do this. I was able to get a $2k credit to replacing them since it would be impossible to get them re-installed. 3 days.
Step 2. Deliver materials. They sent about 2x the material needed for my project so my driveway was completely filled for six weeks...whatever.
Step 3. Repair roof and place new underlayment. Same third party company. They found some areas that needed replacing with new plywood. Underlayment is this very thick material from Firestone. Seems pretty sturdy. 5 days.
Step 4. Powerwalls, Inverters, Panels. This was a Tesla team. Very knowledgeable. Took my inputs and installed exactly as described. Took 2 days.
Step 5. Lay tiles, flashing, etc. Another Tesla team. I loved these guys. The foreman (Tommy) was terrific and always checked in with me each day. I got to know the crew and would check in on them a couple times a day. Also had juice and donuts for them a couple of mornings when they showed up around 7am. They did a nice job with with the cables to the inverters by utilizing a crawl space. The biggest thing here is that panels will typically have all sorts of conduits running down the side of a house. This crew avoided that completely. 15 days.
Step 5. Punch list. Spent some time taking pictures and compiling a document with things that still needed work. I sent to Project Advisor and they were all fixed. 5 days.
Step 6. Inspection. Electrician at the house to check Powerwalls, inverters, etc. 1 day.
Good: Tesla install crews. They are mostly Solar City guys and very knowledgable.
Bad: Project Advisors. Overwhelmed. Slow to respond. Not much communication. I had to make A LOT of phone calls to see how my project was progressing. There was a 3-week delay mid-project due to have to re-submit permits to the city. No idea why. I asked Project Advisory to go ahead and with the PTO application from utility, but he responded they could not until permit was re-issued. This isn't true per the utility.
All said, about 8 weeks from start of install to finish, which I guess is pretty good.
The app is awesome, but my grid data was grossly inaccurate due to an issue with non-backed up loads. Took me calling every day for 2 weeks to get a tech to my house to fix.
Last thing. About 3 weeks after getting my PTO from utility, I randomly got a message from someone to do a "final audit" - an inspection of the work. The guy found a few minor things and said I would get a call from scheduling to repair. That was a month ago and still haven't heard from anyone.