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Adding storage to SolarCity lease

ohmman

Plaid-ish Moderator
Feb 13, 2014
10,182
18,689
North Bay, CA
My kids' school has SolarCity/Tesla leased PV. I'm trying to see if we can add storage to keep the school up during public safety outages. I am getting a copy the lease, but in the meantime, does anyone know if it's permissible to add storage to a leased system? Seems like it should be, but I'm very unfamiliar with the lease terms since I've never done it before.
 

Shygar

Member
Aug 7, 2017
926
530
Pleasant Hill, CA
I don't know about after the fact, but I know when I got a PPA (I think) lease on my rental they said I didn't have the option to add a powerwall at the time. I'm not sure about after the fact.

I think after 5 years they can outright purchase the system, then it shouldn't matter. If that's an option.
 

miimura

Well-Known Member
Aug 21, 2013
6,536
6,345
Los Altos, CA
I don't see why the terms of the leased system would be relevant unless you wanted to add the storage to the lease.

My kid's school also got solar recently. It would be relatively hard to tie the storage and solar together because they created a new feed between the parking lot array and the distribution cabinet near the utility transformer. The school is served by a 277Y480V transformer and it looks like each building has its own 120Y208V transformer. The solar has its own production meter. All this would make it very hard to do a reasonably sized storage system based on Powerwalls unless you did an isolated system for just the office on two phases. Even then, you wouldn't have access to the solar to keep it charged. It would require a Powerpack at the 480V level and I don't see that it would be cost effective unless it was fully integrated and economically supported by a range of things like demand response and peak shaving.
 
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bmah

Moderator
Supporting Member
Mar 17, 2015
4,233
7,974
Lafayette, CA, USA
One of my coworkers is leasing Tesla Energy panels and he just did a reservation for a 2-Powerwall system, so unless I misinterpreted something, yes, you can do it.

(@miimura raised some interesting technical issues however.)

Bruce.
 
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jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
10,714
12,408
Riverside Co. CA
My kids' school has SolarCity/Tesla leased PV. I'm trying to see if we can add storage to keep the school up during public safety outages. I am getting a copy the lease, but in the meantime, does anyone know if it's permissible to add storage to a leased system? Seems like it should be, but I'm very unfamiliar with the lease terms since I've never done it before.

Not sure about a school, but I have a solar city (leased) system, that was installed in 2015, and I just put a reservation down on (2) powerwalls a couple of weeks ago. I am already at the "submitting for permits" stage, and nothing said I had any issues with it.

NOTE: I am not attempting to add any costs or change the lease in any way. I am purchasing the powerwalls outright, with the intention to purchase the solar system next year when I am able to.

In any case, having the system be a leased one from solar city did not enter the equation and I dont see how it would, unless one was trying to add the powerwalls to the financial portion of the lease somehow.
 

KSilver2000

Active Member
Dec 23, 2017
1,368
2,438
CA
Not sure about a school, but I have a solar city (leased) system, that was installed in 2015, and I just put a reservation down on (2) powerwalls a couple of weeks ago. I am already at the "submitting for permits" stage, and nothing said I had any issues with it.

NOTE: I am not attempting to add any costs or change the lease in any way. I am purchasing the powerwalls outright, with the intention to purchase the solar system next year when I am able to.

In any case, having the system be a leased one from solar city did not enter the equation and I dont see how it would, unless one was trying to add the powerwalls to the financial portion of the lease somehow.

Curious. So, you are going to pay for the PW without any ITC, but you are leasing the PVs?
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
10,714
12,408
Riverside Co. CA
Curious. So, you are going to pay for the PW without any ITC, but you are leasing the PVs?

What do you mean, "without any ITC"? You qualify for the income tax credit for powerwalls with new OR existing solar, so I will be getting the income tax credit (if thats what you mean by "ITC").

Assuming "PV" means "solar panels" (sorry I am not fully up to speed on energy acronyms), I leased the solar in 2015, as I had just purchased the home in 2013 and wanted to get solar, but could not afford to purchase it outright. I did the calculations back then and considered it just "switching power companies". The cost per kW is .16 cents for me on this lease, which is cheaper than any of the rates that make sense for me under SCE.

I made solar city size the system larger than they originally wanted to do so, because I told them I was buying an EV. I knew I wanted one eventually but figured it would take some time for me to get it.. They wanted to originally size the system for 75% of my consumption, and I made them size it for 99% of my consumption.

Its completely worked out for me. In the winter I save about 50-70 per month on what I was paying prior, and in the summer I save about 150-200 per month. I am going to buy the solar system out next year, as you can do so after 5 years. I saved money every month, even though it was a lease.

Finances are different now, and I will be paying for the 2 powerwalls cash., and will buy the solar system from solar city instead of continuing the lease if the price makes sense. If not, I know that I am still saving money over SCEs energy prices.
 

KSilver2000

Active Member
Dec 23, 2017
1,368
2,438
CA
Maybe I’m mistaken then. In which case, my bad.
For some reason, I thought the tax credit for battery storage was only available if, along with other things, two requirements were met:
1. The battery needs to be 100% charged solely by the PV.
2. The PV must be owned, not rented/leased/PPA.
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
10,714
12,408
Riverside Co. CA
Maybe I’m mistaken then. In which case, my bad.
For some reason, I thought the tax credit for battery storage was only available if, along with other things, two requirements were met:
1. The battery needs to be 100% charged solely by the PV.
2. The PV must be owned, not rented/leased/PPA.

You are incorrect in statement #2.. There is no requirement to own the solar system, the powerwall just needs to be charged by solar. You can also add powerwall to existing solar to get the tax credit. you can NOT add solar to an existing powerwall and get the tax credit.

Energy Incentives | Powerwall Support
 
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ohmman

Plaid-ish Moderator
Feb 13, 2014
10,182
18,689
North Bay, CA
Thanks all for the responses. I believe you're all right, and I'm going to move forward with sorting out whether it's feasible to install a small amount of storage to each building merely to keep the school active while the solar is operational. The classrooms are on a small campus, and each room has a ton of natural light so there won't be much light load, either. It's mainly to keep the school's well up and some computer load. I'm going to see how the panels are wired to see what we can split to a subpanel and still be safely operational.
 

JPP

Active Member
Feb 4, 2013
3,073
1,318
SF Bay Area, CA
I have a 2013 vintage 16 kW Solar City system on their Power Purchase Agreement (...sort of a lease). I just ordered 2 Powerwalls on the Tesla web site/my account and have been communicating with my account rep in Las Vegas. No issues raised--I will pay cash for the Powerwalls & installation.
 

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