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4 kW Tesla solar install (with existing solar) and Powerwall addition and what I learned

arnolddeleon

Supporting Member
Jul 21, 2012
745
829
SF Bay Area
With mixed systems this is the appropriate sticker to apply, it indicates that there is rapid shutdown but that the panels stay energized on the roof within the array boundary.

Typically a directory is applied that shows first responders which is which. PM me if you want one.
Did you see the new placard here:


I have 3 arrays:
2021: 4 kW, rapid shutdown string inverter, I think mid circuit interruptors limit the voltage around 3 panels worth (which I think is around 120V)
2008: 2.5 kW, string inverter, so the array I think here is over 400V (this is the one might surprise a first responder)
2002: 10 kW, 48V inverter, the arrays is 48V nominal so
 

Vines

Active Member
Jul 20, 2018
1,870
2,185
Silicon Valley, CA
Did you see the new placard here:


I have 3 arrays:
2021: 4 kW, rapid shutdown string inverter, I think mid circuit interruptors limit the voltage around 3 panels worth (which I think is around 120V)
2008: 2.5 kW, string inverter, so the array I think here is over 400V (this is the one might surprise a first responder)
2002: 10 kW, 48V inverter, the arrays is 48V nominal so
I guess I should have read more carefully :)

Looks better than many honestly, I might have added arrows denoting the rapid shutdown vs not rapid shutdown panels but its pretty readable.
 

CrazyRabbit

Member
Apr 21, 2020
384
116
Fort Worth TX
....
While I was up there I also took photo of a SunRun install next door that was done next door. Key visible differences. Tesla paints the conduits, adds skirts and there are no visible rails. The panels also look more uniform (e.g. the wire traces on the face of the modules are practically invisible). Those don't matter to me but nevertheless interesting difference.
...
i wonder how the racking systems affect panel temperature and production? tesla is tighter to roof with skirting, while traditional is a little higher with better air flow under the panel.
 

holeydonut

Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
1,248
746
East Bay NorCal
i wonder how the racking systems affect panel temperature and production? tesla is tighter to roof with skirting, while traditional is a little higher with better air flow under the panel.

Is there any evidence somewhere that shows production impact for panels with skirts and without? Or when panels are resting really close to the roof plane versus being elevated 5 inches?

I'd like something positive to say about, my fugly panels with no skirts and stand-offs sticking way up from my roof.
 

arnolddeleon

Supporting Member
Jul 21, 2012
745
829
SF Bay Area
I just signed the "incorrect" PTO application. Basically Tesla says PG&E will approve the PTO as filled out and they (Tesla) don't have any records of the previous PV system (which of course they don't since it wasn't installed by them) so they refuse to put it in the application. What is also amusing is that on the battery side you apparently put it the additional battery versus the total on the generation side.

Worst case I still have an undersized system according to PG&E. It probably won't matter these days because I'm self consuming more.

Best case, I go through PG&E to try to correct things. It just depends on how much energy I have if the difference doesn't practically affect me.
 
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arnolddeleon

Supporting Member
Jul 21, 2012
745
829
SF Bay Area
And I just confirmed 1-877-973-7652 is still a path to paying via credit card over the phone. It sounds like they are used to this. She asked if I was paying with multiple cards. I didn't end up needing to do that since I was able to fit it into my credit card with the best rebate.

Also the Google beta feature "hold for me" is great.
 
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arnolddeleon

Supporting Member
Jul 21, 2012
745
829
SF Bay Area
Is there any evidence somewhere that shows production impact for panels with skirts and without? Or when panels are resting really close to the roof plane versus being elevated 5 inches?

I'd like something positive to say about, my fugly panels with no skirts and stand-offs sticking way up from my roof.
My original PV arrays are at least 6" off the roof. When I installed them 20 years ago I was aware that cooler panels were happier panels. So we installed them at the highest practical height that we could on the theory that would keep them cooler. I didn't do any analysis to see how much of difference it would make. The aesthetics didn't matter to me (I do care about aesthetics some, I had the installers fix the array when the panels didn't end up parallel to the ridge). Solar City matched the height when they installed their panels 12 years ago (I didn't even ask, their installer said they would do it to make it match better). I suspect the difference is in the noise. Today I wouldn't have bothered with the extra height. Comparing my new Tesla install with the Sun Run next door I would take the Tesla one all things being equal. On the other hand I would have been chosen SunRun if they were cheaper.

@holeydonut you can claim the theoretical benefit of more production.
 
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holeydonut

Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
1,248
746
East Bay NorCal
My original PV arrays are at least 6" off the roof. When I installed them 20 years ago I was aware that cooler panels were happier panels. So we installed them at the highest practical height that we could on the theory that would keep them cooler. I didn't do any analysis to see how much of difference it would make. The aesthetics didn't matter to me (I do care about aesthetics some, I had the installers fix the array when the panels didn't end up parallel to the ridge). Solar City matched the height when they installed their panels 12 years ago (I didn't even ask, their installer said they would do it to make it match better). I suspect the difference is in the noise. Today I wouldn't have bothered with the extra height. Comparing my new Tesla install with the Sun Run next door I would take the Tesla one all things being equal. On the other hand I would have been chosen SunRun if they were cheaper.

@holeydonut you can claim the theoretical benefit of more production.


Yeah, Sunrun was initially surprised I purposely wanted the old-school method with long-posted standoffs instead of flat tile hooks. I guess many customers perceive 6" stand-offs to be very ugly, and Sunrun has since tried to get closer to what Tesla does in terms of selling all-black panels with skirts. Sunrun won't paint the conduit runs though... gotta save money somewhere.

But I agree about bragging rights... I'm producing about 3% above the nameplate rating of my system... I get about 6.9 kWp AC (TEG2 measurement) when the system is rated for 6.7 kWp AC. Standoffs FTW.
 

arnolddeleon

Supporting Member
Jul 21, 2012
745
829
SF Bay Area
Update

If you pay by phone/credit card the portal won't reflect your payment for an indeterminate amount of time. My account still shows an invoice. However talking to the "Finance" people says my account is paid and they emailed me a receipt. In that conversation they did say that for the "exceptions" (paying by card over the phone) it takes a while (potentially up to 90 days) for the website to reflect the payment.

I stumbled into a support person yesterday and she did indicate a part was ordered for my system. I may yet get that grounding nut.

Received PTO today (4/28). All kinds of confusion with my account possibly related to Tesla inverters. At one point today my account got associated with an account that just got turned but not had not received their PTO yet (looks like a 2 Powerwall system with 8 kW of solar, nice production today). I'm now back to my starting condition, just my systems PWs new solar is not visible except as part of the grand total solar that my PW gateway sees (but that includes my non-Tesla solar).

It seems that the Tesla inverters look like Powerwalls to the back end to some degree. The term gateway is way overloaded! In my view I only have one, the device associated with the transfer switch for my Powerwalls. Depending on who you talk to at Tesla I may count as having more (e.g. the systems that report PV productions are also called gateways). Not surprising based on what I've read here before but it makes for complicated conversations.

They said there is a connectivity issue and they are dispatching a tech. Of course they could have figured this out before PTO if they were so inclined. Fortunately it doesn't appear to affect production (as best as I can tell with my overall instrumentation).

As shareholder I'm a little disappointed in the inefficiency.
 
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Electrph

Member
Aug 29, 2019
320
188
Central California
Update

If you pay by phone/credit card the portal won't reflect your payment for an indeterminate amount of time. My account still shows an invoice. However talking to the "Finance" people says my account is paid and they emailed me a receipt. In that conversation they did say that for the "exceptions" (paying by card over the phone) it takes a while (potentially up to 90 days) for the website to reflect the payment.
Did you actually receive a payment receipt ? When I paid over phone on 3 cards rep told me she was sending me separate email receipts for each amount ... I never received any. (I was not too concerned since cc statements showed payments.)
Also my account finally showed paid on portal after a tech support person was trying to fix an unrelated problem with system not showing on my app (was about 60 days after payment)

Agree Tesla a disorganized hot mess in some departments ... but I love their products ... and their stock has treated me well :)
 

arnolddeleon

Supporting Member
Jul 21, 2012
745
829
SF Bay Area
Did you actually receive a payment receipt ? When I paid over phone on 3 cards rep told me she was sending me separate email receipts for each amount ... I never received any. (I was not too concerned since cc statements showed payments.)
Also my account finally showed paid on portal after a tech support person was trying to fix an unrelated problem with system not showing on my app (was about 60 days after payment)

Agree Tesla a disorganized hot mess in some departments ... but I love their products ... and their stock has treated me well :)
Yes, I have a receipt in email. I didn't get it initially, I got it after I followed up because my account was/is showing an invoice not being paid. During that I call I was given incorrect about a small balance being on my account. It seems they have different back end systems. Once I to the right people I was assured it was fully paid and they offered to email me the receipt.

Most of the folks I've dealt with have been great, particularly the techs and installers. I think the project advisers are some of weaker links but I suspect they are over worked and under resourced. I suspect their objectives is simply to move the order along, no metric for satisfied customers. The support folks unfailing try to help but vary in expertise and ability (access to back end systems).

I love the products in general (Although I have plenty of suggestions if they want to listen to me). I suspect I'm near the top for products active in their Tesla account (currently 2 cars, 1 Powerwall set and 3 PV systems, trying to get that 4th PV system to show up). TSLA has been good to me too.
 
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arnolddeleon

Supporting Member
Jul 21, 2012
745
829
SF Bay Area
Tesla tells me there is "connectivity" issue. Looking at my network traffic logs the Inverter has been sending a lot of data up.

I can connect inverter local WiFi network to check configuration, I see it producing the can verify the WiFi configuration and it seems ok however if I try connecting to the inverter on my WiFi I get the following:

Screen Shot 2021-04-29 at 1.33.12 PM.png

Where it sits and spins.

I suspect the installer forgot to fully provision/install the system.

The other clue I have is that inverter still advertises the setup WiFi network (e.g. Tesla_PVxxxxxx).

Anyone else able to share how your system shows up?
 

taphil

Member
Apr 17, 2021
21
5
Los Angeles
My inverter also shows spinning circle when I connect to it thru my home network.

But it always broadcasts its SSID. When connecting to its wifi, after 15 mins supposedly from power up, it will only show this screen.
IMG_9773.jpeg


Before the 15 mins, it shows the power up testing and production numbers.
IMG_9599.jpg
 
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arnolddeleon

Supporting Member
Jul 21, 2012
745
829
SF Bay Area
My inverter also shows spinning circle when I connect to it thru my home network.

But it always broadcasts its SSID. When connecting to its wifi, after 15 mins supposedly from power up, it will only show this screen.
View attachment 658152


Before the 15 mins, it shows the power up testing and production numbers.
View attachment 658157
ok, that's the same as me. Does your inverter show up in your app?
 

taphil

Member
Apr 17, 2021
21
5
Los Angeles
In the Tesla app? It shows solar production but I’m guessing the numbers are from the CT in the gateway rather than communication from then inverter?

11908261-55E7-47EF-92A9-1DBBAD7808FD.png
 

arnolddeleon

Supporting Member
Jul 21, 2012
745
829
SF Bay Area
So even my Tesla account shows an invoice to be paid (it was paid via credit card almost 3 weeks ago) I got email asking me to confirm my address for reward (self-referral). So clearly more parts of Tesla believe the I've paid and that I've received my PTO despite the website still not showing either.
 

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