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Tesla Energy/Solar City idiots

Tesla Energy/Solar City idiots

Rated one star on solarreviews.com because that is the lowest possible.

I drive a Model S, so I was predisposed to trust Tesla Energy (Solar City's new name), but two minutes on the line blew that.

I received a prompt call back from a Las Vegas phone number, even though I live in Orange county. When I told the young woman that my new house was not yet built, she told me that they can't quote a system without my already living in the house and able to provide electricity bills for the house. Pointing out that every other provider can work with a newly built house was of no use.

These people are idiots.

Are you listening, Elon?

SUN 2 DRV | 5 juni 2017

What you describe sounds more like a process or system problem rather than a human problem. What about your interaction makes you think the person had a subpar IQ?

Earl and Nagin ... | 5 juni 2017

@b.wt,
As SUN 2 DRV says, it sounds like a process or system problem. The main contributor to that system is that Tesla Energy is just starting out, hence, they can't have a process or system in place for all possible conditions. Therefore, they likely are only working from existing implementations with real data at this point, not hypothetical installations in locations whose regulations and circumstances they may not be familiar with.
While you may like your Model S, remember that it took 6 years for Tesla to go from Roadster prototypes to the first production Model S vehicles. Working with Tesla in the early Roadster days was also an uncertain process. They were limited with their options for the Roadster as far as charging, service, etc just as well.
You might want to give them a couple of years before assessing their collective intelligence level.

jerry | 5 juni 2017

I moved into a new house. I want solar. I have a Tesla, so I know I can justify solar. But they can't talk to me until I can provide several months of utility bills. Dumb beyond belief. This has nothing to do with the person on the phone. This is classic corporate stupidity.

jerry | 5 juni 2017

I moved into a new house. I want solar. I have a Tesla, so I know I can justify solar. But they can't talk to me until I can provide several months of utility bills. Dumb beyond belief. This has nothing to do with the person on the phone. This is classic corporate stupidity.

jerry | 5 juni 2017

Ok, now I see how people double post. Sorry.

lilbean | 5 juni 2017

I think they just need to assess usage to best suit your needs.

Should_I | 5 juni 2017

You mean so they can size the system so this person isn't screaming about it being the wrong size in a few months..........How very rational and reasonable of them, the nerve.

lilbean | 5 juni 2017

Exactly. I have solar. And that's just how it works.

georgehawley.fl.us | 5 juni 2017

What do they say if you want Tesla solar roofing tiles on a house yet to be built? Kind of hard to quote electric bills in that case but Tesla does offer roofing now.

psusi | 6 juni 2017

Except with a Tesla roof, you are going to cover the whole roof, and you damn sure are not going to put on a conventional roof only to rip it back off a few months later. Ask for their supervisor. Work your way up the chain of command until you find someone that is both not stupid, and has the authority to work around and fix the stupid procedures.

Rocky_H | 6 juni 2017

Heh, @Should_I--well done. +1 Exactly. A house can have some pretty widely varying energy usage, depending on how it's insulated, living patterns of what's being used inside it, etc., and I could easily see the potential for people to be greatly upset if they end up with a system size that's way off from their usage. I see you are fitting in very well here with great insight and an appropriate level of snark. Don't try that on TMC, or the moderators with the Napoleon complexes will have a little chat with you.

stevenmaifert | 6 juni 2017

The OP should go with one of those other providers. Most reputable solar companies will design a system to offset some or all of your electrical usage and they need historical use data to do that. In some locales, like mine, there are regulatory limits on how much a system can overproduce. It will be interesting to see how Tesla's solar roof will get around that for new construction where there is no historical usage data. If you go off grid with Powerwalls, it's not an issue.

El Mirio | 6 juni 2017

I suspect new construction requires more coordination with the General Contractor then a simple roof replacement would. Tesla maybe not be ready for that. Regular PV providers likely install after new house is build.

My hope is that Tesla partners up with smart home builders, solar roof offering would go thru these home builders for new construction to achieve full integration and consumption/power out put optimization.

KP in NPT | 6 juni 2017

Where is mclary?

Frank99 | 6 juni 2017

I'm with the OP. Yes, knowing historical energy use allows you to more precisely estimate future energy use, but it's idiotic if Solar City can't work with him to come up with an estimate for a new house - how many people living there? Got a Pool? Do you heat it? Gas or electric hot water? Gas or electric range? Gas or electric clothes dryer? EV - how many miles per year do you expect to put on it? If Solar City doesn't have models for all this already, they deserve to fail.

Earl and Nagin ... | 6 juni 2017

@Frank99,
A business doesn't have to have a product for everyone on day 1 to succeed. It just has to have products it can sell for more than they cost. See my example of Tesla's first car in my posting above.
I'm sure Tesla Energy will eventually have new construction plans, however, they appear to be focusing on providing a quality product for the retrofit market now.
You have to admit the retrofit market is a fairly large market so it is probably worth pursuing. I'd suggest that the large new construction development market might be another early market. New construction of custom homes could very well be seen as a smaller market that could tie up a lot of valuable engineering resources with small return initially.
It is unfortunate if this schedule does not line up well with the OP's needs but we can't always have everything we want, exactly when we want it.
I wouldn't bet against Tesla - but you're welcome to proclaim they should fail all you want. Feel free to short their stock too.

SUN 2 DRV | 6 juni 2017

Frank: Don't forget that the roof sizes, orientations and geometry are also critically important to a successful solar design, as are shading issues from trees but also other nearby buildings and even parts of the new home itself.

Much of that can be ascertained from Google Earth and other satellite imagery, which simply doesn't exist for an unbuilt house. And as you can imagine that's a level or required detail that's virtually impossible to convey in a phone conversation, unlike a street address to an existing house that can then be immediately analyzed online.

SO | 6 juni 2017

Tesla wants the solar roof to be a success. If Tesla thinks the possibility of success is greater with existing homes at this time, so be it. I'm sure that will change in a couple years.

The last thing Tesla needs is to have these roofs installed on new homes and people complaining up a storm that their roof doesn't meet their needs. Let the bugs get worked out on existing homes that have more information available.

Should_I | 6 juni 2017

Older homes use a LOT more energy than modern ones and if there are limits on how much can be sold back to the grid this alone might be a big reason to focus on retrofit first. New home might over produce where an older home of similar size can use all it makes.

psusi | 7 juni 2017

Are people just that stupid?

The size of the array you get should be what you are willing to pay for, not what the installer says you should get. Can people really not think for themselves and just expect to go "uhhh, duhhh... here's money, make my roof the solar thing", and expect it to exactly match their energy needs?

Remnant | 7 juni 2017

Single and dual axis sun-tracking modular PV units are also available on the market from Mecasolar, SunPower, Exelon, Sedona, and other companies. Such modules can be customized to your topographic conditions and can be reinstalled to a new location if you move. This type of PV power also avoids the roof expenses and damage of the fixed designs.

Check:
http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/print/volume-14/issue-5/sol...

Rocky_H | 7 juni 2017

@psusi, I don't get the bad attitude.
It's usually not very good to have a system that's not sized right. Having accurate data of usage and the correct reading on the orientation of the house and roof angle helps quite a bit to know what sized system works well. So yes, the installer's assessment and recommendation are valuable, not just "what you're willing to pay for".

State by state electric policies are quite different, so in a lot of places it's quite a waste of money if you are overproducing versus your house's usage. It's frequently best to get right up into the 90's % of your usage if you have net metering but no excess payout available. You could, I suppose, split it in two, intentionally do an underestimated initial install, so you don't go over and then add to it later if the usage fits.

Should_I | 7 juni 2017

Businesses also endup dealing with people who will scream bloody murder about being taken advantage of if the system is oversized, or maybe risk losing the sale if the initial investment is needlessly too large. They could also scream if they hoped to be 100% solar and it ends up undersized.

They don't know the individual to start. There will be a certain number of folks who want big as possible, have the cash to pay for it and live somewhere they can sell the excess back to the grid, but those are certainly the minority. So from a company perspective, current use is the single best starting point.

jerry | 7 juni 2017

I had solar on my previous house. I am an Industrial Engineer. I know exactly what I want. I know how many panels and I know how much room I have on the roof. At present, I'm using the local Supercharger because I don't yet have 220 to the garage. But, I can't buy from Solar City because I haven't been in the house long enough to produce the requisite electric bills and my bill is going to be low until I start the summer A/C season and start charging the car at home. Solar City is losing my business because of their silly rules.

Millionmilesorbust | 7 juni 2017

Tessnme, Please go with a competitor like vivint, enjoy their shitty quality with install. I can drive down any given street and instantly spot a vivint job and solar city job due to solar city being extremely more eye appealing.

Solar city requires you to show past electrical history so that they can build a system that exactly meets your electrical needs and then maybe even some extra. If you were to just jump in and get a system installed and then come find out it only offset your electric bill 30% you'd flip shit. Then if you had to add a 2nd system to your house that looks even worse. Let them do what they do and you won't be disappointed, you can cancel up until the installers start installing the system if youre not at all happy with it.

finman100 | 7 juni 2017

surely there are other solar companies, then, for those that know so much?

why not give them a try and tell us how that goes? you know, a comparo (my term) of two competitors in green energy? Just maybe, the better result will not be Tesla Energy for everyone? i wouldn't want to just enlighten the interwebs with my knowledge and state facts that seem true but ain't.

Silly rules or not, I am curious about a good comparo (my term, again) when some newcomer business says they can do this and they can't do that versus the other company's silly rules...

KP in NPT | 7 juni 2017

Listen to Gabe. He knows.

jerry | 7 juni 2017

Actually, I used Peterson Dean last time and they did an excellent job. I just wanted to give Solar City a chance, but they won't let me. I need 7 panels installed landscape mode across the back of my garage. The panels aren't visible from the street. With Pacific Gas and Electric charging $.276 per KWH for over 10Kwh per day, anyone can justify solar.

Should_I | 7 juni 2017

But solar it can not verify our knowledge on the subject...........and if you size I wrong they would still expecting the blame, your attitude here proves that.

I am an Engineer too and while I like to understand projects if I am hiring a professional I pick one I trust to know more than I about the project.

Frank99 | 7 juni 2017

I'm going with Tessnme on this one.