Solar City System shut off by Tesla?

Solar City System shut off by Tesla?

I have a Solar City system that Tesla shut down remotely months ago because, according to them, it has faulty connectors between the panels which can short and cause a fire. This confuses me, because they shut off the inverter. I called and asked the rep on the phone that if the inter-panel connectors are bad, what does shutting off the inverter do to protect from fire? The solar panels are producing DC power whenever the sun hits them, if the connector shorts there is the same potential there if the inverter is off or on. I asked to have this explained to me but they have not offered anything that makes sense. Can someone explain to me how shutting off the inverter will prevent a short that happens up between the panels, before the power even gets to the inverter? It seems that if the connectors between the panels are faulty, the only way to prevent a potential short related fire is to cover the panels. Not shut off the inverter, which is way downstream of that. Only thing I can think of is if the inverter is off, there is no current flowing through the connectors (less heat, and therefor less likely to deteriorate further) but if they short anyway, the full current available is going to flow through them anyway.

Also, they said the estimated repair time is 300-400 days, which I think is rather extreme, especially if this is dangerous enough to shut the system down. And if that's not bad enough, they are charging me random amounts of money, between $19-$38 per month for the privilege of having a unusable system on my roof. They could not explain why the charges vary if the system is not producing.

Anyone have had an issue like this?

smaches | 6 February, 2020

Well, the lag time for repair is a bit lengthy but might have something to do with your location and proximity to a Tesla team.
Regarding the connector problem - since there's no 'flow' of electrons from the panels as the inverter is down, there should be no issue. Consider a 9 volt battery sitting loose in your pocket by itself. No problem, right? Now add some loose change or a few paperclips to that same pocket. Potential stored in the battery now can flow, creating heat and burning a hole in your pants.

bob | 6 February, 2020

Exactly, so how does shutting off the inverter help anything? As long as the connectors hold up, sure, no problem but if they are worried about shorts, it won't matter if the inverter is on or off. If they do short, the full capacity of the affected panel(s) will have a path to ground. I don't understand what turning off the inverter does to help prevent fires caused by faulty, shorting panel connectors.

Passion2Fly | 6 February, 2020

i think that the issue is not about the connectors "shorting" but about the connectors overheating and catching fire when the current flows... especially in the hot summer months...

Noam | 11 February, 2020

They came to do the connector testing on my system back in September. They started by disconnecting and inspecting every one of the connectors (374 in all on my roof). They have a threshold of 3 "questionable" connectors, after which they must replace them all - which is what they ended up doing. They replaced all 61 of my power optimizers (saving them the labor of 244 of the connectors - since the new optimizers already had new connectors on them), and then proceeded to replace the other 130 connectors. It took a crew of 5 or 6 an entire day to do the job.