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A very good Solar only (8.16 KW) install experience in Las Vegas

husky in LV

Member
Dec 31, 2020
6
12
Las Vegas
Order and Installation: Ordered the system in first week of August 2020. Installed in first week of September (original date was mid-September but an earlier date became available). This is a solar only system with 24 (340 W) panels and 7600 SE inverter.

Design changes: I was able to successfully request changes in the original design. Communication with project coordinator was very good, both through phone and email. Changes involved moving panels from East to West and increasing the number of panels facing South. Final layout has half the panels facing South and remaining half facing West.

No power disconnects during install: Told electrician that kids are attending school from home so he should try to minimize the disruption. He was able to complete work without any power disconnection.

PTO in 4 weeks: It took about 4 weeks from NEM interconnection application (post payment) to PTO. About 2 weeks for application approval and about 2 weeks to swap meter. NV Energy field technician was able to issue PTO email on site after swapping the meter. NV Energy’s expected performance timeline is 10 business days for each step, and they were able to deliver it on last day.

System performance: It has been 3 full months since system became operational. Monthly production so far is in line with NREL estimates (using PVwatts calculator). Tesla annual estimate of 14,200 KWh also matches with NREL estimate. Here are production numbers:

Month (Total production, highest daily, lowest daily)
Oct (1,229 KWh; 44.9KWh; 32.8KWh)
Nov (975 KWh; 37.2KWh; 22.3KWh)
Dec (845 KWh; 33.5KWh; 8.8KWh)

Based on limited data (3 months only), West facing panels are producing about 25% less energy compared to South facing panels. I expect this difference to drop to ~ 20% with annual data but this remains to be seen. I have access to panel level data through SE app (logical layout).

Self-referral reward: About 10 weeks after PTO, I received a $400 check for self-referral. No action was needed on my part to trigger this. 2 weeks before the check arrived, I received an email to confirm my mailing address.

Some (expected) miss-steps: CT’s were incorrectly installed. Field service technician was dispatched to correct this situation (14 days from in-app service request to visit)

Net metering: NV Energy net metering is bit different from most utilities because they use a monthly true-up. Any excess production is converted to credit ($) by using 75% of retail rate (current retail rate $0.1015/ KWh). This credit can only be used to pay for net consumption in subsequent months. It never expires, cannot be refunded to customer, and cannot be used to pay for basic charges. So minimum bill (basic charge) is always $13.17 per month.

Because of local climate (mostly sunny in southern NV), availability of natural gas for heating, and production and consumption patterns, there is typically some excess production from Oct-May and high net consumption during June-Sept (cooling needs). Because of monthly true-up for excess production at 75% of a unit, system must produce about 33% more units during months of excess production to meet all demand on 12-month basis (100 % of past 12-month historic consumption). This is something I overlooked at the time of planning for the system.

Where TESLA can improve:
  • Project coordinator should set-up at least one call in the beginning to discuss variations that are not part of a standard project. There are many scenarios, in my case it was load exception due to a recently added EV. This will reduce delays and improve customer experience.
  • The workflow for moving panels from ground to 2nd story roof is poorly designed and executed. They attach a hook and rope to panel and a guy standing on roof pulls it up. While moving up, the face of panel is grinding against a metal ladder. With level 2 surface hardness, this leaves scratch marks on panels. They got to do a better job with this.
  • There appears to be a need for additional training on installation of CT’s. The avoidable 2nd visit to correct the install increases cost and results in customer dissatisfaction.
  • Some TESLA internal systems do not communicate well with each other. I paid my invoice by calling the customer service, instead of using the payment link in the account. The workflow in my TESLA account is still stuck at “Make final payment” stage more than 4 months after payment was made.
 

SunnyInVegas

Member
Dec 2, 2020
30
10
Las Vegas, NV
Order and Installation: Ordered the system in first week of August 2020. Installed in first week of September (original date was mid-September but an earlier date became available). This is a solar only system with 24 (340 W) panels and 7600 SE inverter.

No power disconnects during install: Told electrician that kids are attending school from home so he should try to minimize the disruption. He was able to complete work without any power disconnection.

PTO in 4 weeks: It took about 4 weeks from NEM interconnection application (post payment) to PTO. About 2 weeks for application approval and about 2 weeks to swap meter. NV Energy field technician was able to issue PTO email on site after swapping the meter. NV Energy’s expected performance timeline is 10 business days for each step, and they were able to deliver it on last day.

Net metering: NV Energy net metering is bit different from most utilities because they use a monthly true-up. Any excess production is converted to credit ($) by using 75% of retail rate (current retail rate $0.1015/ KWh). This credit can only be used to pay for net consumption in subsequent months. It never expires, cannot be refunded to customer, and cannot be used to pay for basic charges. So minimum bill (basic charge) is always $13.17 per month.

Because of local climate (mostly sunny in southern NV), availability of natural gas for heating, and production and consumption patterns, there is typically some excess production from Oct-May and high net consumption during June-Sept (cooling needs). Because of monthly true-up for excess production at 75% of a unit, system must produce about 33% more units during months of excess production to meet all demand on 12-month basis (100 % of past 12-month historic consumption). This is something I overlooked at the time of planning for the system.

Where TESLA can improve:
  • The workflow for moving panels from ground to 2nd story roof is poorly designed and executed. They attach a hook and rope to panel and a guy standing on roof pulls it up. While moving up, the face of panel is grinding against a metal ladder. With level 2 surface hardness, this leaves scratch marks on panels. They got to do a better job with this.
I’m in Las Vegas also. My 12.24kW with 2 PWs is due for PTO on Wed, Jan. 6, 2021.

I wish my install and PTO timeline was as good as yours. I also ordered in mid August.

I needed a MSP upgrade to 200A, so I got into a delay loop for an extra 6 weeks to finish just that piece on a separate permit process. Tesla would not schedule any next steps until each step was completely finished, so I kept waiting for later schedule dates because they didn’t want to plan/schedule ahead. My power was off for about 6 hours during the MSP upgrade.

My install day was mixed with good and bad events. They didn’t scratch anything for my 1 story roof. 36 panel install took about 6-7 hours. They completely rewired my new 200A MSP (that I paid $3300 for) to a new panel. They also installed a smaller inverter on-site that didn’t match any of the drawings or permit details. And biggest of all was the pest abatement screen was installed very, very poorly, leaving a lot of open large holes between the S-curved loops of the Spanish tiles. The power was off for about 3 hours to rewire and install the Powerwalls.

Except for the pest abatement, I was pleased with my install day.

Thank you for the net-metering details. I know what to look forward to now.
 

husky in LV

Member
Dec 31, 2020
6
12
Las Vegas
I’m in Las Vegas also. My 12.24kW with 2 PWs is due for PTO on Wed, Jan. 6, 2021.

I wish my install and PTO timeline was as good as yours. I also ordered in mid August.

I needed a MSP upgrade to 200A, so I got into a delay loop for an extra 6 weeks to finish just that piece on a separate permit process. Tesla would not schedule any next steps until each step was completely finished, so I kept waiting for later schedule dates because they didn’t want to plan/schedule ahead. My power was off for about 6 hours during the MSP upgrade.

My install day was mixed with good and bad events. They didn’t scratch anything for my 1 story roof. 36 panel install took about 6-7 hours. They completely rewired my new 200A MSP (that I paid $3300 for) to a new panel. They also installed a smaller inverter on-site that didn’t match any of the drawings or permit details. And biggest of all was the pest abatement screen was installed very, very poorly, leaving a lot of open large holes between the S-curved loops of the Spanish tiles. The power was off for about 3 hours to rewire and install the Powerwalls.

Except for the pest abatement, I was pleased with my install day.

Thank you for the net-metering details. I know what to look forward to now.


Congratulations on your install. You are almost there. Solar only installs are lot faster. Because of extremely high system reliability (0 down time in past 14 years I have been living in this town), no hurricanes or fires (area is prone to earthquakes though), and reasonable cost with in the western states (~$0.10/KWh), ROI on storage was not attractive for me.

On net-metering, lot of people in the Las Vegas valley, who are going with a system size that matches 100% of their past 12 month use, are going to be surprised or disappointed by the year end when they will realize that system is only covering 70-75% of their historic use. Utility and installers are not clearly disclosing this information (monthly true-up is hidden somewhere in small print). This is something to be aware of if you are considering going solar in LV or any other area where true-up is at a finer temporal resolution than annual.
 

charlesj

Active Member
Oct 22, 2019
1,138
236
Monterey, CA
Great write up. Hopefully Tesla is taking notes on your comments.
True up each month? Wow, Is that how the industry is going to eventually to squeeze every dime out of you. But it seems that perhaps over a years time it it still over producing overall.
And if you always have a reserve, growing over time perhaps, cannot be used to offset gas, they win.
Here in PG&E territory I can still apply it at true-up, automatic.
 

wwu123

Member
Apr 11, 2017
370
319
Silicon Valley, CA
Been debating whether to get solar for my parents' house in Las Vegas. What did you guys calculate your payback period to be, all things considered? At ~$0.11 / kwh, seemed hard to justify solar given the net metering situation there, but with Tesla current pricing, maybe it's more reasonable now?

Also what type of roof do you have? Wondering if Tesla will do all types of roofs there including the clay tile ones?
 

husky in LV

Member
Dec 31, 2020
6
12
Las Vegas
Been debating whether to get solar for my parents' house in Las Vegas. What did you guys calculate your payback period to be, all things considered? At ~$0.11 / kwh, seemed hard to justify solar given the net metering situation there, but with Tesla current pricing, maybe it's more reasonable now?

Also what type of roof do you have? Wondering if Tesla will do all types of roofs there including the clay tile ones?

Despite plenty of sunshine, currently from incentive point of view, NV is not a friendly state for residential solar. For a typical solar only installation, besides federal solar tax credit, there are no incentives from State, County or City (no SERC). Even property taxes increase as a result.

Without getting into detailed calculation (NPV or opportunity cost), here is a simple way to look at this. At current TESLA pricing, 26% federal tax credit, and energy cost (~$0.11/KWh) you are roughly going to pay about 10 years worth of electric bill upfront. If there were no property tax increases and it was possible to pay basic service charges through true-up credits, this period would have been about 8 years. This assumes that you are able to generate enough to meet you historic 12 month use (see monthly true-up comment).

After first 10 years, for the remaining useful life of equipment there will be no cost for about 80% of your power use (connection charges and increased property taxes will still apply). Decision will boil down to how long your parents / family expect to use the home.

I am not sure about clay tiles.
 
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Reactions: pilotSteve

stickel

Member
Nov 11, 2019
9
5
Nevada
This is quite timely. I just signed a contract to build a new home in this area and fully planned to add solar after construction was complete. Definitely some things to think about. Thanks for posting
 

Uncle Paul

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2013
6,286
6,826
Canyon Lake,CA
Prior to installation, Tesla sent a survey guy to go up on the roof to determine feasability of installation. He took off some tiles, took photographs of them and even weighed them. He checked out underlay material, service panel and surrounding area to assure access to everything necessary. Checked that there were spaces available in the Circuit Beaker box etc.
Sent his report in to Tesla, and I got a note to set up an installation date shortly after.
Installing Solar requires several steps and many approvals. My HOA and city both needed to approve plans, and Tesla needed to engineer the system and set up installation. Not all that easy, and more steps than I expected, but I already noticed that SCE is raising prices and sunsetting some advantageous programs, so putting it off will most likely get even harder.
With the newer pricing from Tesla, my payoff is just over 4 years. Better than leaving money in savings, but perhaps not as good as investing in Tesla Stock.

Like the idea of running my Tesla on Sunshine!
 

charlesj

Active Member
Oct 22, 2019
1,138
236
Monterey, CA
This is quite timely. I just signed a contract to build a new home in this area and fully planned to add solar after construction was complete. Definitely some things to think about. Thanks for posting
Just my thoughts.

Since you are just starting out may want to get the solar installer involved to see if it is possible to mount panel rail standoffs while the rafter locations are well known along with power conduit penetration through attic instead of hunting for them after shingles or tile is up.
We had several posts with horror stories of installers drilling through the shingles at a good number of locations to locate rafters, missed hole just sealed that failed and leaked. Then a long drawn out process, who is liable, who fixes it, finger pointing in all directions.

Also, the electrical layout should include solar hook up option both panels and perhaps batteries.
 
Last edited:

husky in LV

Member
Dec 31, 2020
6
12
Las Vegas
This is quite timely. I just signed a contract to build a new home in this area and fully planned to add solar after construction was complete. Definitely some things to think about. Thanks for posting

If you can work with installer as suggested in previous post that will be great.

Since you have not lived at your installation location for a 12 consecutive month period, you can use alternative system sizing method. NV Energy allows to size a system using up to 2.8 watts per square foot of interior living space. This gives you more flexibility in sizing your system.

I will also suggest asking the builder to add a NEMA 14-50 outlet in your garage (at appropriate location) for charging an electric vehicle in future. Another outlet outside garage may also be useful depending on your garage space and parking patterns.
 

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