Solar Panels

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Panel layout, experience in Colorado?

Two questions:
Am I to understand that when Telsa offers the 8.16kW system, it is arranged as a 4 panel x 6 panel block (as pictured on the website) and that it's not customizable? While I would want a 8.16kW-sized system, my roof is odd and would not allow that many panels in any one spot.

I have read a lot of horror stories on this forum.
Anyone has panels installed in Colorado (where I am) and have any comments on their experience?
I'm maybe more concerned because of my question above - I wouldn't be able to do a standard configuration, and worried that that will compound Tesla's existing customer service challenges.

Comments

  • I'm in Denver and am in the process of having a system installed. They have been very accommodating to me thus far.

    I first just got a standard design for a 4.08kW system. Their 12 panel layout was in 3 groups - 3 panels on the front of my house (south facing), with 3 on the west roof and 6 on the east. 97% anticipated offset producing 5379kWh.

    With the 97%, I asked about adding extra panels. So they gave me a proposal of 14 panels in 3 groups - 3 panels still on the south, 7 on the east and 4 on the west. 113% anticipated offset producing 6304kWh.

    Then I got to thinking I really wasn't going to like solar panels on the front of my house, and it was after all only 3 of them. So I asked about moving them all to the east & west facing roofs. They provided a proposal of two groups - 7 panels on the east and 7 on the west. 106% anticipated offset producing 5905kWh.

    So I'd say they have been very willing to customize with me. Are they super quick turning my requests for alterations into actual design? No. But it's usually done within 36-48 hours. Now I have a decision to make -- front or no front. I think I'm leaning to no front.

    In the end for you it's going to maybe boil down to just how "odd" your roof config is....
  • Three neighbors with Tesla installed solar - none have the pictured installation. All have been adjusted to accommodate either physical roof limitations or homeowner special requests (like obscuring/hiding from street view). The web site pictures are purely for illustration.
  • Thanks @Divad @Jones_lab_guy

    @Divad I'd appreciate it if you'd keep us updated on your progress here.
    If I can customize layout, and add a few panels (my utility allows up to 10kW), I'm leaning towards Telsa versus other quotes I have.

    Tesla 8.16kW for $12,136 after tax credits, versus the best quote I've received so far was 9.72kW for $23K after tax credits. (That's 19% more kW, but 91% more cost).

    Even if Telsa service is problematic, I'd hope it would be less than a $10K headache.
  • I'm at the point now of essentially an approved 14 panel layout (assuming I stick with no south facing 3 panels) and am waiting on the updated permit to approve. Denver is really quick about solar permitting....usually within 3 days so I'm expecting the updated info to be approved today. Then I should be able to schedule. I probably could have already scheduled by now if I hadn't asked for multiple configuration changes just so I could make a decision. I wasn't comfortable just accepting the first stab; I wanted options to consider. Tesla was accommodating for me at least in this regard.

    The attachment they included on my permit app is pretty darned detailed. I'm sure other localities may be even more detailed or possibly less, but it contained a lot of info.
  • I just received a text alert & email notice that they have scheduled an install of my panels on January 21 without any input requested from me on an ideal date. Unexpected to be sure, but I'm not complaining; I'll make it work.

    This all started with initial solar layout on 12/23 followed by 2 additional revisions, a scheduled site visit and 2 permit approvals (they had to permit twice because they jumped the gun even though I was asking for a revision). I'd say thus far things have progressed overall quite smoothly/timely thus far. This is I think especially true given there were 3 holidays (Christmas, New Years & MLK) through the time period. I did have to follow up to prod a bit after a few days of silence a couple of times, but to me that isn't necessarily atypical to encounter in many industries.
  • > @Divad said:
    > I just received a text alert & email notice that they have scheduled an install of my panels on January 21 without any input requested from me on an ideal date. Unexpected to be sure, but I'm not complaining; I'll make it work.
    >

    A type to correct -- scheduled for January 22 (not the 21st). Couldn't find a way to actually edit the post.
  • @Divad can't wait to hear how the install goes.
  • @jimboski93 Well I wanted to just briefly say that the install is complete. They had to do it in two afternoons instead of a full day, but I was fine with it. Since I don't have inspection approval yet or Xcel Energy PTO, I can't give a full rundown of the experience. All 14 panels communicated with the inverter and produced power for a short time, so things look good. The install crew was truly awesome...I have ZERO reason to offer a complaint about them, the service, their interaction, or their commitment to a good/clean install. It was a Tesla employed team; not subcontracted. At this point, I'm 110% satisfied.
  • @Divad great to hear.
    Mine is off to a little bumpy start - ordered a 16kW system (as suggested) but included a note that my utility only allows up to 10kW (AC).
    Within a day, design was ready which included ~12kW. Reached out to Project Manager to discuss over the phone, and needed to remove more panels.
    PM said 'no problem' just look for text about new design. It's been about a week.

    I also got a text saying "it's time to schedule your home assessment... call or text to schedule" -- I guess that's good? Obviously need Tesla to finalize the design before installers show up.

    Let us know when you get inspection/PTO!
  • @jimboski93 I had a home assessment too. He did pretty much everything I already did through photos, but he also went into my attic for photos/inspection and wrote a bunch of notes about installation concerns/approach. Use this time as your chance to ask questions -- as a result of my questions and comments, he wrote a bunch of stuff down for the installers to be sure about. A bit of advice from my experience: don't let it go for a week in waiting -- follow up. If you talk about something with the PM and don't hear back within a day or two, follow up. If the weekend is approaching, reach out before it gets too close to it. I did pretty much everything by email.

    I'm surprised you didn't start out with an 8kW system and add a few panels to that.
  • Thanks. I will reach back out.

    On the system size, the Advisor from the store where I bought my car instructed me that I should order the larger and add the note to downsize.
  • @jimboski93 I guess there's more than one way to get to a size.... For me, they just charged me additional for a couple more panels. Probably works the same in reverse by crediting back similar amounts for removed panels. I got an email and a text this morning saying my inspection has been scheduled, but they haven't told me the when. I really don't have to be home for it since it's Tesla being here with the Denver inspector. I also got an email from Xcel yesterday indicating they are reviewing the application. Hopeful PTO happens quickly. Thus far I've only paid Tesla $100....but I'm sure the bill is coming. haha.
  • Be sure to specify how conduit is to be routed. You probably don't want large, ugly conduit ruining the aesthetic of your house. My PW installers *were* going to wrap conduit around a very visible brick chimney, until I insisted otherwise.
  • > @gregbrew_98470014 said:
    > Be sure to specify how conduit is to be routed. You probably don't want large, ugly conduit ruining the aesthetic of your house. My PW installers *were* going to wrap conduit around a very visible brick chimney, until I insisted otherwise.

    I would agree, and they were VERY accommodating for me. I couldn't be happier. They dropped the conduit directly downward from the inverter to the foundation line, and over to a gutter rising to the roof at rear of the house; they perfectly followed the contour of the gutter through two bends to the rooftop even, and painted to match. Then drilled through the eave and ran the conduit through boot on the roof. Very nicely done it was.
  • @jimboski93 (and everyone else) my install is operational. I created a separate "experience" thread for my own install process.

    https://forums.tesla.com/discussion/182998/a-denver-co-tesla-solar-install-experience
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