Solar Panels

Anyone else disgusted with Tesla Solar? Go solar but NOT with Tesla!

Entered into lease agreement with Solar City, now Tesla, in 2013. Sales team presented scenario whereby their solar panels with a performance guarantee spreadsheet. From that data and records of my electricity consumption from Southern California Edison (SCE), I would save significant money by only having to pay the lease payment and various taxes and fees to SCE, and receiving credit for excess energy to SCE . Excited about savings I agreed to enter a contract. Then came the first disappointment when I reviewed the lease agreement the Performance Guarantee had been reduced by 20%. That would still result in savings so I agreed.

Solar City, aka Tesla Solar, by contract is responsible for monitoring and maintaining their system which after 5 years would be available for purchase at annual reduced price.

As time passed over these past 7 years I became less enthusiastic about solar as ony a few months would show production greater than our use, paying more to SCE and all the while increasing lease payments to Tesla.

August 31, 2020, received a text from Tesla that the system was not communicating with their monitoring. They directed I trouble shoot the system to find the problem. All equipment, starting with my internet modem, wifi, and visible communication devices appeared to be working properly. The inverter had a status which I texted back to Tesla. September 12, 2020, received a text message that repair work was scheduled for September 21. That very day and just prior to the repair technician arriving I received my monthly SCE statement which showed production for the preceeding month was only 182kWh along with statement showing over $432 charge. This added to Tesla lease of $318 / month came to $750. The technician, on September 21, found the communication unit within the inverter was not working and that the part would be ordered and once available another repair appointment would be scheduled. At time of this writing, October 30, that appointment is scheduled for November 3. Over 2 months with no production but Tesla never failed to collect the lease payments from my checking account.

To add insult to injury no one has responded to my complaints and pleas for help. Gathered SCE statements and the lease agreement from Tesla and realized I'm being hosed! After seven years the actual production performance is less than half what was presented at the sales presentation and only 61% of performance guaranteed in the lease agreement! Tesla has made "true up" payments at a paltry fraction of what I am left to pay SCE.

As solar panels have diminishing return as years pass and the panels age and become less productive this poor performance of the panels on my roof the situation becomes intolerable. Thus far, no one at Tesla Solar has responded to my complaintand even while no production is occurring, they continue to collect the lease payment. From the statements on this site and others, stonewalling their customers is the standard. Apparently, hiring an attorney and entering into arbitration is my only option. All my neighbors who used other solar companies nearly double production for panel over the ones on my roof.

Save yourself money, frustration, and stress. If you go solar, go with another company. Hopefully MR. ELON MUSK will be more successful getting to the moon and Mars than in producing equitable energy for consumers. Be warned!!!


  • If you didn't like the under-production compensation rate (as clearly shown in the contract), why did you sign it?

    BTW, those of you reading this rant, rest assured that the vast majority of Tesla Energy customers are perfectly happy with the product, performance and timely service. You'll rarely see satisfied customers take the time to post of their exemplary experiences with Tesla Energy. That's true of just about any industry or product.

    I've been a customer (not an employee or stockholder) since 2015 (PV) and added two Powerwalls in 2019. Both installations weren't flawless, but Solar City (2015) and Tesla (2019) made them right in a jiffy.

    I've had nothing but great experiences with Tesla Energy.
  • @UnhappyInDesert - You didn't state if you have ever had your panels cleaned. Sounds like you'd hate any system installed. They all diminish in output over time if you never clean them. Ideally, you should clean them several times a year. In California, there has been so much ash some owners have zero output due to ash on the panels. This is not the installer's responsibility (Tesla or others) but the homeowners.

    Like Greg, We've had nothing but excellent install and after-install service.
  • I need to pile on here. Excellent personal experience with my Powerwall install in 2019 (previous solar). Recommended to two close friends - one who had just a Powerwall added to his existing solar and another who had an 8kW install along with two powerwalls. All three installs went well (never perfect, but everyone has been happy). My neighbor just signed his contract for 12 kW plus 3 install yet, but the contracting and technical layout process has been smooth and rapid. You never hear about the good experiences.
    More on the ash - I had posted a while back about cleaning as well. By actual measurement on consecutive cloudless days - prewash and post daily output went UP (as kWHrs) by 25% and peak output (as kW) went up by 26%. Dirt makes a difference. Ash makes a HUGE difference.
  • For me from when I ordered to when it was turned on was 7 weeks. Would have been 5 weeks had the electrician not screwed up with the utility submission.

    They did run short on some parts and had to finish the install the next day, but that was minor really.

    Sorry to hear your experience is so bad. They are not terrible responsive on many fronts but they do integrate well with Tesla cars, PowerWalls, etc...which others cannot do very well.
  • I wish I had the hindsight to not jump onto the Tesla bandwagon. My system that was 13 months old at the time went down for 9 months. service call took ~6 weeks to get someone here to look at it. Then the inverter was found to be culprit. So had to order. Another month to get someone back to replace it. It lasted less than 1 week before it went down again. Again, took 5~6 weeks to get someone back to look at it and found the replacement inverter was bad. Order another and another month wait. It had rained that morning, so they canceled the appointment. 1 more month of waiting. The tech got delayed at another job, so rescheduled appointment again. This has been the absolute worst customer experience I have ever had.

    And now, I'm getting constant "monitoring system offline" alerts on a weekly basis.
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