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$5500 main panel upgrade??

h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
2,441
418
auburn, ca
Sunrun said they weren’t comfortable with me submitting under my own developer key so they submitted for me under Sunrun’s key.

I asked them about the “peak annual demand” field in their app since they put 2 Kw. They said they always submit with 2 Kw without issue.

Whereas in my application I was going to put 15 Kw and checked the box saying I was sizing for future demand (future EV).
And if getting 2 PW's it is a do not care since no green button data is required to be submitted.
 

holeydonut

Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
1,501
877
East Bay NorCal
I’m also curious about this - can individual residential entities apply for these?

It's worth a shot to email the SGIP folks. By the strict definition of the program homeowners are supposed to be eligible to be their own developer and submit for the incentives on their own.

Based on the records SGIP has shared, homeowners were receiving "homeowner builder" application keys when SGIP first started to take off. But SGIP put the brakes on that when they discovered some of the major players were simply building the system, then asking the homeowner to submit the SGIP under their homeowner key.

The SGIP rules had set maximum/caps for the funds that could be applied for under each key. So SGIP saw the homeowner key as an intentional way for Tesla or Sunrun to get paid to put a system in, but not have the SGIP rebate of that customer hit the developer cap since the homeowner used their own key.

SGIP has been almost impossible to get a hold of due to the recent wildfires and PSPS shutdowns. When I first started this process early last year, I actually dialed their # and spoke with a person to resolve issues; and I actually got my own key. So even with COVID and a bunch of possible slow-downs SGIP was responsive.

But now, you're lucky to get an email response within a week. SGIP has said numerous times they aren't staffed to keep up with the ESS demand that has emerged in recent months. They are prioritizing getting the resiliency funds to needy low income homeowners who are on well water.
 

bayareaever

Member
Jun 17, 2013
360
200
East Bay Area
Thanks again to everyone for the advice. Here’s the pics of the current main panel. A few things to note:

We don’t have the spa anymore.

there are currently two solar systems connected. One of them is getting replaced with the solar roof.
 

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bayareaever

Member
Jun 17, 2013
360
200
East Bay Area
Thanks again to everyone for the advice. Here’s the pics of the current main panel. A few things to note:

We don’t have the spa anymore.

there are currently two solar systems connected. One of them is getting replaced with the solar roof.

Also, there is an electrical box in a cubby below the main panel where the old panel used to be. That wasn’t code compliant so most of the circuits now run to the box from the new panel. The cubby/box is where the the gas main is. Maybe that’s a factor?
 

wwhitney

Member
Nov 2, 2017
857
1,118
Berkeley, CA
Vines correctly predicted the problem when he said:

With hole home backup it is common to need a MPU. Many cannot safely pass 200A from the distribution bus, through breakers or subfeed lugs.

You have a SC2040M200C panel, which hasn't been tested with a 200A 4 position plug-in device. So the usual method of emptying the meter main of all its breakers and bringing a 200A feeder out of it is not possible. More details are in the following thread, particularly this post:

Tesla surprises with a $4800 bill on existing $5300 install contract

If your load calc is under 125A, then you might be able to talk the AHJ into considering the Gateway et al as a Power Control System. Then you could just use a 125A feeder to your Gateway, and you'd never be able to draw more than 125A from the grid.

Otherwise, you're stuck with a main panel upgrade, or complying with the 120% rule. For the latter, assuming the 200A 4 position main breaker could be downsized, if your load calc comes in under 150A (or 175A), your total inverter power could be 17.3 kW (or 12.5 kW). Again, if you could talk the AHJ into considering the Gateway et al as a Power Control System, you might be able omit the Powerwall inverters (5.8 kW each for this discussion) from the inverter cap, so you'd only have to count the solar inverters.

Cheers, Wayne
 

h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
2,441
418
auburn, ca
Vines correctly predicted the problem when he said:



You have a SC2040M200C panel, which hasn't been tested with a 200A 4 position plug-in device. So the usual method of emptying the meter main of all its breakers and bringing a 200A feeder out of it is not possible. More details are in the following thread, particularly this post:

Tesla surprises with a $4800 bill on existing $5300 install contract

If your load calc is under 125A, then you might be able to talk the AHJ into considering the Gateway et al as a Power Control System. Then you could just use a 125A feeder to your Gateway, and you'd never be able to draw more than 125A from the grid.

Otherwise, you're stuck with a main panel upgrade, or complying with the 120% rule. For the latter, assuming the 200A 4 position main breaker could be downsized, if your load calc comes in under 150A (or 175A), your total inverter power could be 17.3 kW (or 12.5 kW). Again, if you could talk the AHJ into considering the Gateway et al as a Power Control System, you might be able omit the Powerwall inverters (5.8 kW each for this discussion) from the inverter cap, so you'd only have to count the solar inverters.

Cheers, Wayne
That thing is so old, just better to upgrade. Mine was so old everyone told me that it could have safety issues with certain breakers. And finding the breakers was a bear. SO glad I bit the bullet and upgraded!!!
 

holeydonut

Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
1,501
877
East Bay NorCal
Vines correctly predicted the problem when he said:
If your load calc is under 125A, then you might be able to talk the AHJ into considering the Gateway et al as a Power Control System. Then you could just use a 125A feeder to your Gateway, and you'd never be able to draw more than 125A from the grid.

PG&E tried to get me to do this. Personally I do not recommend this 125A derating. It would be difficult for you to add an EV or something big later after the install. I think the main panel upgrade option is better. As I mentioned before, Sunrun actually did that work for "free" and didn't make it an incremental charge to my build. This put Sunrun and Tesla's costs very close to one another.

PS Vines is always correct...



... you might be able omit the Powerwall inverters (5.8 kW each for this discussion) from the inverter cap, so you'd only have to count the solar inverters.
Cheers, Wayne

Since you have 3 Powerwalls, PG&E is going to put you on NEM2-MT just like me. If that happens PG&E could still mess with you even if you get a shiny new main service panel. PG&E required Sunrun to add the following language on the permitted design. This removed the 3x Powerwall inverters from PG&E's interpretation of the 120 percent rule calculation.


NOTE: PRODUCERS STORAGE DEVICE(S) WILL
NOT CAUSE THE HOST LOAD TO EXCEED ITS
NORMAL PEAK DEMAND. NORMAL PEAK
DEMAND IS DEFINED AS THE HIGHEST
AMOUNT OF POWER REQUIRED FROM THE
DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM BY PRODUCERS
COMPLETE FACILITIES WITHOUT THE
INFLUENCE OR USE OF THE ENERGY
STORAGE DEVICE(S).

THE INSTALLED BATTERY IS NOT CHARGING
FROM THE GRID.

THE BATTERY IS EXPORTING TO THE GRID
UNDER NEM AND TOU.
 

bayareaever

Member
Jun 17, 2013
360
200
East Bay Area
I think you’re speaking somewhat above my pay grade, but basically you’re saying I do indeed need a panel upgrade. It also sounds like $5500 is not cheap but also not outrageous.

Next question, the new solar roof will be producing more energy than we currently use so it’s going to make sense to go all electric in the future. That’s going to mean ditching our gas furnace and stove so I would need to have capacity/slots for a heat pump and electric stove/oven. From what I know, 200 amps is enough capacity, but do I need to insure that Tesla accounts for this future expansion with the $5500 upgrade, or would the new panel likely already be installed that way (with empty slots)?



Vines correctly predicted the problem when he said:



You have a SC2040M200C panel, which hasn't been tested with a 200A 4 position plug-in device. So the usual method of emptying the meter main of all its breakers and bringing a 200A feeder out of it is not possible. More details are in the following thread, particularly this post:

Tesla surprises with a $4800 bill on existing $5300 install contract

If your load calc is under 125A, then you might be able to talk the AHJ into considering the Gateway et al as a Power Control System. Then you could just use a 125A feeder to your Gateway, and you'd never be able to draw more than 125A from the grid.

Otherwise, you're stuck with a main panel upgrade, or complying with the 120% rule. For the latter, assuming the 200A 4 position main breaker could be downsized, if your load calc comes in under 150A (or 175A), your total inverter power could be 17.3 kW (or 12.5 kW). Again, if you could talk the AHJ into considering the Gateway et al as a Power Control System, you might be able omit the Powerwall inverters (5.8 kW each for this discussion) from the inverter cap, so you'd only have to count the solar inverters.

Cheers, Wayne
 

h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
2,441
418
auburn, ca
I think you’re speaking somewhat above my pay grade, but basically you’re saying I do indeed need a panel upgrade. It also sounds like $5500 is not cheap but also not outrageous.

Next question, the new solar roof will be producing more energy than we currently use so it’s going to make sense to go all electric in the future. That’s going to mean ditching our gas furnace and stove so I would need to have capacity/slots for a heat pump and electric stove/oven. From what I know, 200 amps is enough capacity, but do I need to insure that Tesla accounts for this future expansion with the $5500 upgrade, or would the new panel likely already be installed that way (with empty slots)?
I am 99.9% electric. I have a gas stove top and would not change back to the electric I had. I have a gas water heater and probably should have put in electric. But the BIG change, in winter, will be electric heat pumps!!! That is what I have seen.
 

Vines

Active Member
Jul 20, 2018
1,876
2,202
Silicon Valley, CA
I think you’re speaking somewhat above my pay grade, but basically you’re saying I do indeed need a panel upgrade. It also sounds like $5500 is not cheap but also not outrageous.

Next question, the new solar roof will be producing more energy than we currently use so it’s going to make sense to go all electric in the future. That’s going to mean ditching our gas furnace and stove so I would need to have capacity/slots for a heat pump and electric stove/oven. From what I know, 200 amps is enough capacity, but do I need to insure that Tesla accounts for this future expansion with the $5500 upgrade, or would the new panel likely already be installed that way (with empty slots)?

Honestly sounds like the MPU is perfect for your desires, especially with increased future electricity usage.

I would just ask the Installers to Install a 200A or 225A essential loads subpanel large enough for a few extra breakers, when they relocate your loads from the main panel into a new panel.

Vines correctly predicted the problem when he said:

If your load calc is under 125A, then you might be able to talk the AHJ into considering the Gateway et al as a Power Control System. Then you could just use a 125A feeder to your Gateway, and you'd never be able to draw more than 125A from the grid.

Cheers, Wayne

Actually it specifies 100A max breaker, even if a larger will fit its not code compliant.

I imagine the #1 wire max is to allow for some oversizing of a 100A subfeed or branch circuit.
 

DanB2

Member
Jan 12, 2021
12
5
Westlake Village
What Vines said. Main panel needs to accommodate a 200A branch breaker or lug kit to connect the gateway. My brand new Siemens panel did not. The label inside the panel should specify amperage of compatible breakers.

edit - just saw your photos - your maximum branch breaker is 100A. That is your problem.
If you can live with 100A, have Tesla do a load study (they download your consumption data from your utility in something like 15 min intervals) to see if you ever come close to 100A. They build in a margin of safety. If 100A covers you, you can move forward with your existing panel. That is what I decided to do. If you charge two EVs and run 2 ACs all at the same time, or have a very large house, it may not be a good idea. I have one EV, two ACs, pool equipment and have never had a problem.
 
Last edited:

bayareaever

Member
Jun 17, 2013
360
200
East Bay Area
What Vines said. Main panel needs to accommodate a 200A branch breaker or lug kit to connect the gateway. My brand new Siemens panel did not. The label inside the panel should specify amperage of compatible breakers.

edit - just saw your photos - your maximum branch breaker is 100A. That is your problem.
If you can live with 100A, have Tesla do a load study (they download your consumption data from your utility in something like 15 min intervals) to see if you ever come close to 100A. They build in a margin of safety. If 100A covers you, you can move forward with your existing panel. That is what I decided to do. If you charge two EVs and run 2 ACs all at the same time, or have a very large house, it may not be a good idea. I have one EV, two ACs, pool equipment and have never had a problem.

Do you have NG for cooking/clothes drying/etc and you’re still under 100 amps?

The challenge with using my historical power draw is that it doesn’t account for going all electric in the future. That will mean adding electric (heat pump) dryer which is already wired for but not installed yet, plus whole home heat pump (2000 sf home) and electric stove/oven. I assume those will put me over 100 amps draw even though I’m probably not currently.

My gas main is currently under the house (which I’ve been told is a slight safety concern) and there’s no where else to practically put it, plus we’ll have lots of excess energy with the new solar system. Therefore I’d like to ditch NG service at some point.

From the feedback in this thread, it sounds like I should pony up the $ for a MPU.
 

h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
2,441
418
auburn, ca
Do you have NG for cooking/clothes drying/etc and you’re still under 100 amps?

The challenge with using my historical power draw is that it doesn’t account for going all electric in the future. That will mean adding electric (heat pump) dryer which is already wired for but not installed yet, plus whole home heat pump (2000 sf home) and electric stove/oven. I assume those will put me over 100 amps draw even though I’m probably not currently.

My gas main is currently under the house (which I’ve been told is a slight safety concern) and there’s no where else to practically put it, plus we’ll have lots of excess energy with the new solar system. Therefore I’d like to ditch NG service at some point.

From the feedback in this thread, it sounds like I should pony up the $ for a MPU.
I sure would pay the money and do it right
 

holeydonut

Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
1,501
877
East Bay NorCal
Yes, I think the consensus is the main service panel replacement is a good idea. However, you may want to shop around to ensure the price you're paying makes sense for you. Technically you could an electrician/company to do a main panel upgrade only and put in a solar ready 200A MPU if you think Tesla's $5,500 is too high. This way when Tesla shows up they can focus on what they normally care about.

Regarding the whole exploding MPU thing... PG&E's planning office (and their Greenbook) do provide guidance that the distance between the riser and main panel can be made "safer" with a Class 1 Division 2 explosion proof enclosure. They asked me to see if I'd be interested in putting a NEMA 7 enclosure on the side of my house since my riser sits kind of close to the main panel.

I want to see someone do this for their house... Check out that bad-ass fused disconnect.

#somepeopleseeghostseverywherebutalliseearedisconnects


upload_2021-3-5_10-17-2.png

upload_2021-3-5_10-17-13.png
 

Vines

Active Member
Jul 20, 2018
1,876
2,202
Silicon Valley, CA
Yes, I think the consensus is the main service panel replacement is a good idea. However, you may want to shop around to ensure the price you're paying makes sense for you. Technically you could an electrician/company to do a main panel upgrade only and put in a solar ready 200A MPU if you think Tesla's $5,500 is too high. This way when Tesla shows up they can focus on what they normally care about.

Regarding the whole exploding MPU thing... PG&E's planning office (and their Greenbook) do provide guidance that the distance between the riser and main panel can be made "safer" with a Class 1 Division 2 explosion proof enclosure. They asked me to see if I'd be interested in putting a NEMA 7 enclosure on the side of my house since my riser sits kind of close to the main panel.

I want to see someone do this for their house... Check out that bad-ass fused disconnect.

#somepeopleseeghostseverywherebutalliseearedisconnects


View attachment 642416
View attachment 642417

The funny part is that since that disconnect is not one allowed per PGE, would they make you install another one that is "on the list?"
 
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DanB2

Member
Jan 12, 2021
12
5
Westlake Village
Do you have NG for cooking/clothes drying/etc and you’re still under 100 amps?

The challenge with using my historical power draw is that it doesn’t account for going all electric in the future. That will mean adding electric (heat pump) dryer which is already wired for but not installed yet, plus whole home heat pump (2000 sf home) and electric stove/oven. I assume those will put me over 100 amps draw even though I’m probably not currently.

My gas main is currently under the house (which I’ve been told is a slight safety concern) and there’s no where else to practically put it, plus we’ll have lots of excess energy with the new solar system. Therefore I’d like to ditch NG service at some point.

From the feedback in this thread, it sounds like I should pony up the $ for a MPU.

I have NG heat and dryer and no plan to go electric on those. If my need increases going forward, I can easily relocate non-essential circuits (like the EV) back to the main panel and only back up 100A of loads. Or I can upgrade the panel then and replace the short run from the main panel to the gateway with the lower gauge wire to support 200A. It’s a cost/benefit thing and i could not see any immediate benefit to spending the extra $5k.
 

wwhitney

Member
Nov 2, 2017
857
1,118
Berkeley, CA
I have NG heat and dryer and no plan to go electric on those. If my need increases going forward, I can easily relocate non-essential circuits (like the EV) back to the main panel and only back up 100A of loads.
If you have a 200A main panel with a 100A feeder to the Gateway, then you have to meet one of these two limits: (a) the other breakers (excluding the main breaker) in your main panel have to add up to less than 100A (per pole, so you could have (10) 20A single pole breakers, as long as they are evenly distributed among the two buses) or (b) your inverters behind the Gateway have to add up to less than 7.7 kW. For (b), solar inverters definitely count, and each Powerwall counts as 5.8 kW, unless you are under the 2020 NEC, or your AHJ reasonably allows the use of the 2020 NEC provisions on Power Control Systems, even if they haven't adopted it officially yet.

Cheers, Wayne
 

bayareaever

Member
Jun 17, 2013
360
200
East Bay Area
I agreed to Tesla’s increased cost today in order expedite the process, partially because it started way back in August when I made the deposit. I can’t really imagine trying to negotiate technical variances with them re: 100 vs 200 amp sub panels, etc. Even if I ‘win’ at that and save some money, then the new system would ultimately be less versatile, so it’s not worth it to me.

One electrician I spoke with re: a MPU scoffed and said it’s a waste of money and to just go get a generator. The other one wanted $6000, so $5500 doesn’t seem so bad I guess!
 
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holeydonut

Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
1,501
877
East Bay NorCal
Lol yeah, I was surprised last year how many electricians told me that ESS was a waste of money and to go with Generators. I can't tell if it's because they researched ESS and disliked them; or they just knew Generators and wanted to sell their own product.

I just hope PG&E doesn't screw you on your MPU liked they screwed me. Ugh.
 

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