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$4200 for a service panel upgrade?

westie10019

Member
Aug 18, 2020
26
12
85234
So because I want to go whole home backup, my main service panel can't be used to shunt all 200 amps to a GW2 and then in turn to a 200 amp distribution panel. The reason is my main service has a max 100 amp breaker requirement.

So the upgrade will remove the existing panel and install a meter with a 200 amp line to a new 200 amp distribution panel which will be my main service panel. All the lines coming into the existing panel will have to be relocated. Fortunately the location of the new panel is a shorter distance for all existing loads except for a single 15 amp line which will have to be extended.

They haven't told me who the contractor will be but just got the preconstruction proposal which is $4200. Seems pretty steep for a panel upgrade that requires no trenching nor does it require upgrading the service line.


$4200 seems in line with the industry. Keep in mind ALL the existing circuits need to be disconnected and removed, the main service may have to be moved. The job should require a new electrical inspection and permits. Then ALL the existing circuits need to be installed in the new panel along with your new Ckt breakers. Since this is a replacement job the electrical code may required mandatory upgrades for your service. It sound like you will be getting a new meter pan, this by itself is a big job. When you touch the meter pan the local utility most like will need to inspect and approve the new installation along with the local building department. So, I think your within the price range, plus California has a very tough electrical code. The California Code exceeds the National Code most of the time.
 
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mkspeedr

Member
Jun 14, 2015
806
950
Santa Clara, CA
Maybe Merced has more resources than the Santa Clara county. PG&E is short resources and virus personnel restricted per Tesla.

Ask your specialist what he is seeing. I would be interested to compare.
 

Mrbrock

Active Member
Mar 26, 2020
1,001
693
Napa, CA
I was just quoted $5000 by Tesla to upgrade my main panel from a 125A Zinsco to a 200A (225 bus bar rated) main panel. They also quoted $21,600 to upgrade both the panel and service from 125A to 200A. Includes trenching as my service is underground but the totality of trenching would be maybe 60'. I am the corner lot of a small flag driveway and the pole is at the beginning of the driveway. Would only need to trench across the 10' driveway, rest would be dirt.
 
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SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,191
10,058
SF Bay Area
I was just quoted $5000 by Tesla to upgrade my main panel from a 125A Zinsco to a 200A (225 bus bar rated) main panel. They also quoted $21,600 to upgrade both the panel and service from 125A to 200A. Includes trenching as my service is underground but the totality of trenching would be maybe 60'. I am the corner lot of a small flag driveway and the pole is at the beginning of the driveway. Would only need to trench across the 10' driveway, rest would be dirt.

You should get that Zinsco panel changed out regardless (safety/fire issues). The upgrade panel cost based on our own experience with Tesla and an independent electrician in our area is inline with what we were quoted. Guessing some of your wiring if aluminum will be rerun. The trenching to upgrade your service I understand is a costly job. How old is your home?
 
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Mrbrock

Active Member
Mar 26, 2020
1,001
693
Napa, CA
House was built in 1976.

No need to advise me. we are already doing the panel upgrade, I was just sharing my cost experience with the thread. I had to convince Tesla it was needed. The Zinsco panel has been inspected by 3 different electricians and all were quite happy with the condition and recommended leaving as is until we needed to upgrade. Thanks to solar that time has come. The main feed from outside panel to inside panel is aluminum but again, no issues with that, nice to do but not worth it unless we want to upgrade the inside panel to more than the current 125A.

#Rant
Please don't spread misinformation about X brand of panels needing to be immediately replaced or your house will burn down. Sure there were some instances with Zinsco panels but it didn't affect 100% or there would have been a massive recall and millions of fires. Just because a few Teslas have gone up in flames does that mean we should all replace our Teslas with something else? Have it inspected, if it is in good shape and you take care of it and it will continue to provide worry free service. Many people drove Pintos without them exploding...

One of the electricians (the one I trust the most who has done major work for most of the businesses in our area) has the exact same panel in his house and he has had 0 problems with it and has no plans to replace it.
#Rant Over
 

SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,191
10,058
SF Bay Area
Sorry I took the time to even reply. For anyone else, these panels, along with a few other brands, were recalled. Teslas haven't been recalled btw.

Recalled Electrical Panels: What You Need To Know [With Photos]

"Zinsco Breakers
Many homes built in the 1970s have Zinsco breakers. But a design flaw that resulted in fire hazards and electrical shocks made this brand obsolete. An accident report that dates back to July 1994 was published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration states that an electrical contractor sustained second and third degree burns after an electrical fault happened while working on a Zinsco electric panel. This brand has also been linked to thousands of fires in the past 20 years." OK so reportedly only thousands of fires.

They also bring up insurance coverage if your homeowners insurance knows you have one of these recalled brands.
 
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Vines

Active Member
Jul 20, 2018
2,078
2,495
Silicon Valley, CA
OP I have to ask the obvious, as to whether you can install this system without the service upgrade?

The new Site and Conductor limits feature of the GW2 is fleshed out and really helps with this problem.
 

sorka

Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2015
8,271
6,231
Merced, CA
OP I have to ask the obvious, as to whether you can install this system without the service upgrade?

The new Site and Conductor limits feature of the GW2 is fleshed out and really helps with this problem.

Not if I want whole home backup.
 

Vines

Active Member
Jul 20, 2018
2,078
2,495
Silicon Valley, CA
Not if I want whole home backup.
Correct, unless your home has a relatively low calculated load. Then perhaps the whole home could survive on the 100A of Grid, plus how ever many Powerwalls you have. Just asking the obvious, because there is always more than 1 solution to any problem. The $4200 seems totally reasonable for a new service entrance.

Car chargers are good ones that can be left off of a backup system, and sometimes creative thinking can save money.
 

Mrbrock

Active Member
Mar 26, 2020
1,001
693
Napa, CA
Sorry I took the time to even reply. For anyone else, these panels, along with a few other brands, were recalled. Teslas haven't been recalled btw.

Recalled Electrical Panels: What You Need To Know [With Photos]

"Zinsco Breakers
Many homes built in the 1970s have Zinsco breakers. But a design flaw that resulted in fire hazards and electrical shocks made this brand obsolete. An accident report that dates back to July 1994 was published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration states that an electrical contractor sustained second and third degree burns after an electrical fault happened while working on a Zinsco electric panel. This brand has also been linked to thousands of fires in the past 20 years." OK so reportedly only thousands of fires.

They also bring up insurance coverage if your homeowners insurance knows you have one of these recalled brands.

I guess I should have said not ALL Zinsco panels have been recalled. Don’t lump everything together because of a few bad apples. Please put a cautionary word out to have your panel checked if you have one of these potentially hazardous ones but unless you are licensed to give out that type of advice, please don’t tell me to unnecessarily replace a panel and wiring, especially when I wasn’t asking for advice on what to do in my situation. If you want to hand out $10k for swapping panels and pulling 100ft of 00 copper along with labor then by all means, I’ll do whatever you say.
 
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