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$5500 main panel upgrade??

CrazyRabbit

Member
Apr 21, 2020
410
123
Fort Worth TX
Can the OP install a 400 amp main panel with on his existing service? Would the main breaker need to be 200 amp?

I have two 200 amp panels on 320 amp service, so I could theoretically pull over 320 amps.
 

wwhitney

Member
Nov 2, 2017
858
1,121
Berkeley, CA
Can the OP install a 400 amp main panel with on his existing service? Would the main breaker need to be 200 amp?

I have two 200 amp panels on 320 amp service, so I could theoretically pull over 320 amps.

1) PG&E, like many utilities, I believe has a rule that service equipment has to be sized to match the service. So if you put in a 400A panel, you have to tell them and pay for a 400A service. A somewhat annoying rule, based I think on the fear that if they allow a 400a panel on a 200A service, someone is going to later come along and put in a larger main breaker, potentially overloading their (already fairly aggressively minimally sized) service drop or transformer.

2) A 320A service is a continuous rating, as ratings on the utility side of the service point often are. While a 400A panel is a non-continuous rating, limited to 320A continuous. So there is no mismatch.

Cheers, Wayne
 

holeydonut

Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
1,508
881
East Bay NorCal
Do you mind elaborating? Anything you could have done in hindsight to avoid the difficulty with PG&E?

I posted about every single issue (so far) here.


There is no real useful hindsight learning to get a better experience with PG&E. The issues I encountered with Sunrun probably would have also happened with Tesla Energy or any other installer.

For example, PG&E had difficulty locating the diagrams explaining the size of conduit and underground service to my home. So one of their planners assumed I had 125A service (without actually verifying until I begged him to send out a QEW). PG&E also sent out a cantankerous curmudgeon who hates PV+ESS since it hurts his pension. So that guy made it a personal point of pride to stop my install the day of the scheduled disconnect. PG&E also has people who didn't understand how the Tesla Gateway 2 worked, and applied the 120 percent rule in a very odd way instead of the way that would actually help me get the system working (even with my fancy new MSP).

The only sure-fire approach that could have avoided any of this headache for myself would be to go with a company who has the expertise and time to resolve issues instead of watching things get caught in the corporate black-hole. The issues would still be a headache for someone; just not the customer.

There's a reason @Vines and @wwhitney seem to have an articulate/useful response to things when Sunrun and Tesla Energy don't offer explanations or solutions. TMC users often have more knowledge and experience than the corporate employee on your project. In a corporate setting, the good people get promoted up into roles that no longer face the customer. The people left to resolve issues are usually under-trained and under-paid.

But in my case, even when I got the people who cared and were trying their best at Sunrun; PG&E just kept crapping on things because they can and it's in their nature to slow/halt PV+ESS projects. If I had to do this over again, I'd find a good shop with experience with newer ESS systems to combat PG&E's BS.
 

Kodemonkey

Member
Oct 15, 2020
134
51
Los Angeles
I have a 100A main panel. They moved all the breakers out of my main and put them in a 200A panel. That panel is fed by a 100A breaker from the utility, and a 100A breaker from the TEG (which is being fed from a 100A load center that houses breakers for 9.5KW solar and 2 powerwalls). I did what someone else suggested and looked up my green button data. There was one point we hit 57A once in the year. I have NG heating, cooking, and water heating. Plus the load calculation was wrong. They oversized my house and they included a 50A service for a spa that is no longer there. Even with that I made it with room to spare. I ask for the load calculation and the full plans. I had 3 different project advisors during this and 2 of them were happy to give me the plans. All 3 different generations of them. It was a bit of a hassle, but the people who did the work - especially the electricians did a very clean install.
 

DanB2

Member
Jan 12, 2021
12
5
Westlake Village
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
Thanks Wayne, that all makes sense. With one EV I don’t come anywhere near 100A. If I get a second EV, I am probably still ok (using the charging connector that comes with Tesla MX and draws 32A and comfortably charges the car overnight). And if for whatever reason I need more than 100A, I can move the 90A EV sub panel back to the main panel. I understand 200A is better than 100 (twice as good!) but it would have been a cost with no benefit.
 

Robotron

New Member
Mar 19, 2021
3
0
san diego
I have a pending solar roof+ 3 PW install pending in the SF Bay Area.

The main hold up to scheduling install at this point is me agreeing to a $5500 main panel upgrade charge. This was added after the initial site survey.

My advisor has yet to tell me why it needs upgrading. It is 8 years old, 200 amp service. He mentioned clearance from the gas main, but that was never an issue previously and it’s 4 feet from the gas main, which should be sufficient afaik.

Even if does need upgrading, the price seems steep. My local electrician mentioned a few months ago pandemic related parts supply issues, so maybe that’s a factor.

I don’t want to unnecessarily hold up the install. any advice is appreciated.
only 5500? they are trying to charge me $9550 with no powerwall.
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
8,828
9,777
Riverside Co. CA
only 5500? they are trying to charge me $9550 with no powerwall.

This is kind of like one person saying "My kitchen remodel was 20k" and another person saying "Only 20k? I paid 50k for mine!" These are construction projects, so the work is not necessarily the same, even though the project (Main panel upgrade, Kitchen remodel) sounds the same.
 
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jboy210

Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
5,094
3,168
Northern California
This is kind of like one person saying "My kitchen remodel was 20k" and another person saying "Only 20k? I paid 50k for mine!" These are construction projects, so the work is not necessarily the same, even though the project (Main panel upgrade, Kitchen remodel) sounds the same.
Only 50K for a kitchen remodel? Ours was closer to $100K.:eek: Like everything in construction, it depends on the scope (especially scope creep and repair of previous work to match modern codes), materials, and workmanship. Same thing with electrical work.
 

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