My journey from initial Inquiry to powering up the system

My journey from initial Inquiry to powering up the system

So many confusing stories about the Tesla Solar experience (mostly negative but also some positive) that I wanted to post my story updating each step of the way. Hopefully the journey will be positive but I promise it'll be real. Maybe this will help someone else thinking of going down this path with Tesla.

Late August 2019 - Initial deposit placed.

9-7-19 - Purchase details were updated. This is for a small 3.8Kw (12 panels) system plus (1) Powerwall.
Based on the photos of my electric panel they determined that it would need to be upgraded to a 200 amp panel and a quote for this work was provided.

9-9-19 - I found a local electrician to do the panel relocation and upgrade for a better price so I let Tesla know.

9-10-19 - Documents from Tesla arrived via FedEx for my signature. Signed and returned.

9-25-19 - Final Inspection from City - Panel relocation and upgrade to 200 amp passed.

9-26-19 - Sent new photos to Tesla showing final panel (approved permit).
They sent me onto the next phase with a new specialist. I'm now waiting for them to submit plans for a permit to do the work.

So far so good ...

bcmusik | 10 oktober 2019

10-10-19 _ Meter Spot was submitted (I think). Once that's done they said they will file the permit.

gregbrew | 10 oktober 2019

Tesla Energy experiences are *not* "mostly negative". What you read about are the people who had negative experiences and post about them. When was the last time you bought a product that met your expectations and then took the time to post about your *positive* experiences?

The negative posts you read about are not a statistically representative sample of the totality of Tesla Energy experiences.

Tesla-David | 11 oktober 2019

I agree with @gregbrw's point my experience with Tesla-Energy has been very positive. We got our 2-PW2 installation 15 months ago and have been incredibly blown away with how well they work with our existing 13.2 kWh solar system. Battery storage systems like PW2's are a perfect complement to solar PV systems.

People need to get a grip; Tesla-Energy had some incredible growing pains after Tesla acquired Solar City, and it took some time to sort thing out and get things rolling. Tesla-Energy has been very responsive to all my questions and concerns.

Raphel.Sal | 12 oktober 2019

Difference between purchase and subscription? please

gregbrew | 12 oktober 2019

We're customers, just like you. I've never heard the term "subscription". (I've only heard of "Purchase", "Lease" and "PPA".) You might want to call Tesla Customer Service.

bcmusik | 13 oktober 2019

Gregbrew and Tesla-David I happen to agree with you. Maybe I’m in the minority but I tend to leave reviews (positive or negative) typically when I use yelp and other forums for products that I often use. I expect this solar journey to have a positive ending and I’m prepared to write about it here and share it socially.

bcmusik | 17 oktober 2019

OCT 15 - Called the local power company myself to setup a meter spot for the solar meter. Gotta wait 4 business days..
OCT 16 - Tesla contacted me and let me know they also talked to the power company and asked for a meter spot. They were told it's all setup and will happen in 4 business days.

Still making progress ...

tonys11 | 18 oktober 2019

@bcmusik: "Based on the photos of my electric panel they determined that it would need to be upgraded to a 200 amp panel and a quote for this work was provided."

Could you tell me what your previous panel was? 100A? Also, could you give an idea of the sqft of your home?

bcmusik | 24 oktober 2019

Sure - my old panel was 100amp and super old. My home is 1560 sq feet.

bcmusik | 24 oktober 2019

Oct 24 - Tesla let me know they are waiting for the power company to either approve the proposed layout or ask for changes. Said it could take up to a couple of weeks.

I asked about the 10% discount on solar and powerwall that had been tweeted by Elon and discussed on another thread. I was told that it likely won’t apply to me. All new pricing is reflected on the site when you order.

gregbrew | 25 oktober 2019

You might consider canceling your order, if the 10% is more than your deposit, and if you can deal with the delay. At least throw that idea out there to Tesla, and ask them to escalate your request for the discount with that "threat" in mind. You would need to be prepared to have your "bluff" called, and be willing to carry through.

Determining whether this would all be worth the 10% savings is one of those intangibles you'd have to evaluate. I call it the "Hassle Factor", and many projects I do include one.

bcmusik | 29 oktober 2019

Happy to report that I received a revised purchase agreement that reflected a 5% savings. The best part is I didn’t need to haggle, just needed to ask them to look into it. Whew ... I really needed that savings to help cover some extra expenses like relocating my panel and cutting down a tree :)

bcmusik | 11 november 2019

Nov 11 - Still waiting to hear back from Tesla in regards to the meter spot. I was told that the power company requested some type of change to whatever plans were submitted - that request was sent to Tesla 2 weeks ago.

bcmusik | 15 november 2019

Nov 15
Got a prompt to update the home assessment. Basically the app asks various questions and then has you take detailed photos of your electric panels (main and secondary - in my case the garage). Also needed photos of the exact make of my AC (had to climb on the roof for that).

bcmusik | 20 november 2019

Nov 19
Tesla pulled a permit today with the city of burbank for our solar/powerwall install. Only thing for me to do it’s to put another 36x36 inch slab under where the performance meter is approved to go. Luckily I can do that myself this weekend.

gregbrew | 21 november 2019

Make sure the slab meets muni building codes, i.e. thickness, mix and rebar requirements. Take photos of every stage of the slab install, in case the inspector asks about it. Use some kind of size reference (a ruler or partially extended tape measure) in the photos, too. The last thing you want to happen is have the inspector fail the installation because of the self-installed slab.

bcmusik | 22 november 2019

Thanks gregbrew!!
That’s great advise.

BadgerErickson | 25 november 2019

Thanks BC for this time/energy in Comms.! Excellent works!

bcmusik | 26 november 2019

Nov 26
I was told by my Tesla specialist that the plan check fess were paid today and something about submitting for a permit with an ETA of 12/6. Not totally sure what she’s saying as we only communicate via text and always with me initiating the communication. Interesting way of doing business but ... oh well.

bj | 30 november 2019

The process for installing solar in the US seems... complicated. Here in Australia, it’s all handled seamlessly by the solar installer. Once you pick your installer they do everything from doing the paperwork with the energy authority, arranging to get new smart meters installed (if required) and getting the renewable energy rebates (which they take off your bill up-front). It’s very easy, and your solar PV array will be installed 4-6 weeks after paying your deposit, depending on how busy your chosen installer is.

Nearly 1 in 4 houses in Australia now has rooftop solar. In some parts of the country it’s over 50 percent. Making the process easy (and having lots of sunshine and expensive grid electricity) no doubt has helped this.

bp | 1 december 2019

For our new Texas installation of 44 solar panels and 4 PowerWalls, the installer has done all of the work, only requiring us to provide signatures on a few of the documents they were filing.

Executed a contract with them on Oct 10 and installation started on Nov 25, 6 weeks (and would have been earlier, except the previous job ran longer than expected).

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, rain before the holiday and more complex installation due to our concrete tile roof, installation should be completed on Dec 2 or 3.

The biggest disruption was losing power for most of the day last Monday while they replaced all of the cabling between our two 150A breaker panels and the meter, to add in the extra boxes needed for solar/PowerWalls.

Jasondknight | 2 december 2019

BP, how did they handle your concrete tile install? I’m in HOUSTON area and also have concrete tile roof. Waiting on Tesla but it’s only been a couple of weeks sense I ordered.

bp | 3 december 2019

They're up on the roof now completing the final steps before putting the panels in place today.

So far, they've done an excellent job - no broken tiles.

It is very time consuming and has taken them longer than a shingle roof for the installation.

When installing the brackets for the panel frames, it looks like they lift up one tile, fasten the bracket to the wood underneath and then reinstall the tile over the bracket. Special brackets are needed for the tile roof.

Our installers are also doing a great job in hiding all of the wiring. Underneath each of the 4 panel sections, they ran a conduit into the attic below, connected them in the attic, and then ran a single conduit through the underside of the roof by the gutter and then down the outside wall to the electricity panels, painting the conduit to match the outside wall color. Running the cabling through the attic also increased installation time, but will make the final product look much better.

The electricians have also done a great job in mounting the PowerWalls in the garage (two stacks of two PoweWalls). Rather than running a conduit inside the garage, they ran the cabling from the back of the PowerWall stack through the garage wall to the outside and then connected that to the boxes.

When Tesla came out earlier this year for a quote, they were concerned about the tile and indicated they would probably order a lot of roof tiles (increasing our cost) so that they'd have replacements on hand for any tiles they would break during the install.

Our installers haven't had that problem.

Unless Tesla has their own installers in Houston, maybe they could contract with the team we're using... Who have been great (at least so far)...