Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

Considering Tesla after talking to independent

SoCalSteve

Member
Jul 19, 2020
30
6
Irvine
I got a decent quote from an independent installer on energysage. However after Tesla’s price drop, I mentioned that I need to to evaluate their option as well and he of course mentioned some negatives:

1. Tesla doesn’t use optimizers on their string inverters. I think he’s referring to the Delta inverters which to my understanding Tesla doesn’t use anymore? Do they use SolarEdge exclusively now? If so, do they just use the 3.8Kw SolarEdge version for the small, 7.8 for the medium etc?

2. He said they just have standard sizes (multiples of 4.08) and don’t let you size it appropriately. This seems to be wrong based on what I’ve read. I’ve heard you can just call them up and change the number of panels after ordering?

3. Tesla installs their panels really close to the roof due to their proprietary racking. This causes the panels to degrade due to temperature?

4. SolarEdge isn’t as reliable as the microinvertors and there are warranty/quality issues with their inverters?

It seems like at least 1 and 2 are not accurate. Not sure about 3 and 4 or if it even matters. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.
 

charlesj

Active Member
Oct 22, 2019
1,239
271
Monterey, CA
Welcome to Tesla Energy where your questions will be answered.:)
I am not the welcome agent here just happen to see your post and more experienced folks will respond
especially on the optimizer and its real benefit or no benefit.

As to the micro inverters, I just had to replace one in its 9 year of operation:( as it was not reporting for a full day at a time, Enphase could not wake it up, next day was back on line but the days between not reporting was getting fewer so they sent a new one under warranty. I replaced it but was a hassle after the fact and Enphase had to add the inverter number as the system would not let me, just delete the whole panel and replace without inverter.
But, yes, I do like the micros so far.:)
 
Last edited:

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
10,373
11,719
Riverside Co. CA
On the optimizer / microinverter discussion, here is a thread from a resident member who is also a solar installer:

Optimizers... what are they good for?

Tesla does tend to "standardize" your setup. You would order one of the standard sizes, and they would layout your roof appropriately for one of those sizes, removing panels if the specific size ordered doesnt fit.

The rest of it just sounds like someone trying to scare you off from tesla, because they KNOW they can not compete if you are only looking at price. Third party installers definitely have a place, but it isnt currently competing on price. Its more in the customer service, customization, "high end" part of solar.

If you want a custom install, or want to get a specific brand of panels, or some other custom features etc, thats where a third party really shines (if you pick the right one). I personally am not a fan of "negative campaigning" in any form, so I dont ever want someone telling me what someone elses stuff doesnt do, I want them telling me why I need their stuff, or what their stuff DOES do that I would want.

If they actually said that stuff to you like that, for me it would be an instant "thank you, but I will be moving in a different direction", because I put ZERO value on someone telling me why someone else stuff is bad for me. They have to tell me why THEIR Stuff is what I want, that I like. Maybe for some its a subtle different, but for me its huge, and I wont buy from someone who tells me how poor their competition is at something.
 

willow_hiller

Active Member
Apr 3, 2019
3,210
15,827
Maryland
It seems like at least 1 and 2 are not accurate. Not sure about 3 and 4 or if it even matters. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.

You are correct that 1 and 2 are inaccurate. Tesla does use SolarEdge optimizers on their panels, and you can check out this thread to see all the varying sizes Tesla has created for people: Post Your Tesla Solar Layout
 
  • Like
Reactions: Silicon Desert

Silicon Desert

Active Member
Oct 1, 2018
3,598
3,493
Sparks NV / GF 1
3. Tesla installs their panels really close to the roof due to their proprietary racking. This causes the panels to degrade due to temperature?

4. SolarEdge isn’t as reliable as the microinvertors and there are warranty/quality issues with their inverters?

3. My opinion. If the sun isn't able to heat the roof under the modules then temperature isn't going to be an issue. There just needs to be enough air flow under the modules. Having them closer to the roof (with air flow) can be a benefit is some areas because pigeons love to create nests and make a big mess under the panels.

4. I hope Tesla isn't telling you that. I have SolarEdge on three different homes. Newest is 4 years and oldest one is 7 years. NEVER had a problem with the microinverters. Just make sure the microinverters are sized properly for the module optput + at least 15%. I like Solar Edge inverters / microinverters / power optimizers as I once worked on inverter design for a couple of companies in that industry and saw what I liked on their design.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: jboy210

Silicon Desert

Active Member
Oct 1, 2018
3,598
3,493
Sparks NV / GF 1
Oh and to add that "string" inverter layouts are becoming less common. I hope they educated you on the difference between a string layout and systems with power optimizers. Depending on your shading (or not), you might decide to go with one or the other.
 

SoCalSteve

Member
Jul 19, 2020
30
6
Irvine
Thanks for all the replies and appreciate the welcome to the forum.

4. I hope Tesla isn't telling you that. I have SolarEdge on three different homes. Newest is 4 years and oldest one is 7 years. NEVER had a problem with the microinverters. Just make sure the microinverters are sized properly for the module optput + at least 15%. I like Solar Edge inverters / microinverters / power optimizers as I once worked on inverter design for a couple of companies in that industry and saw what I liked on their design.

No, Tesla isn't telling me this. This is what the local independent solar installer said, in general, about SolarEdge inverter installations. Their preferred installation was Enphase microinverters.

If you want a custom install, or want to get a specific brand of panels, or some other custom features etc, thats where a third party really shines (if you pick the right one). I personally am not a fan of "negative campaigning" in any form, so I dont ever want someone telling me what someone elses stuff doesnt do, I want them telling me why I need their stuff, or what their stuff DOES do that I would want.

I didn't mean to imply that he was overly negative. His self serving point was that his solution was better and I'm just trying to see which of his items were even valid. He seems pretty well informed and was able to answer all my questions. I would totally pick him, except that Tesla is SO much cheaper. I understand that going with Tesla might be a compromise in some places (less customized; lower level of "premium" service) and I'm trying to weigh if that's worth saving 0.60/watt!

Oh and to add that "string" inverter layouts are becoming less common. I hope they educated you on the difference between a string layout and systems with power optimizers. Depending on your shading (or not), you might decide to go with one or the other.

Yeah, I have very minimal shading, so I don't think I actually need power optimizers, but was wondering if Tesla only installs SolarEdge inverters with optimizers and whether they vary the model depending on the installation.

Re 3: yeah, sure, SolarCity paid $183 million for Zep because their mounting products damage solar panels...

Man, what desperate people will say.

Haha, he didn't actually say that they "damage solar panels", but that they increase panel degradation since there is less airflow because they are closer to the roof.
 

Silicon Desert

Active Member
Oct 1, 2018
3,598
3,493
Sparks NV / GF 1
No, Tesla isn't telling me this. This is what the local independent solar installer said, in general, about SolarEdge inverter installations. Their preferred installation was Enphase microinverters.
Ah, then. He wants to sell a competitive product, so no surprise to me about that opinion. They may be getting better pricing or promotions from Enphase.
 

Zorg

Active Member
Oct 24, 2017
1,820
1,629
Fremont, ca
If I were in the market for a solar roof, I'd go with Tesla. Price is a complete no brainer. Obviously, there would be little customer service, and not a ton of choice, but the pricing differential would more than make up for those issues.
 

Alonzo

Member
Jul 15, 2020
49
26
Wanderer
If I were in the market for a solar roof, I'd go with Tesla. Price is a complete no brainer. Obviously, there would be little customer service, and not a ton of choice, but the pricing differential would more than make up for those issues.

I agree, if only Tesla serviced my area. Does anyone know what determines where Tesla will offer solar installations and where they will not?
 

SoCalSteve

Member
Jul 19, 2020
30
6
Irvine
Thanks everyone for the reply. I went ahead and paid the $100 to Tesla; excited but nervous at the same time!

Not sure how the tax situation works.. looks like the initial solar agreement included tax, but I think some states (I'm in CA; so not sure) actually exempt solar installs from state taxes? Does Tesla account for that automatically?
 

willow_hiller

Active Member
Apr 3, 2019
3,210
15,827
Maryland
Thanks everyone for the reply. I went ahead and paid the $100 to Tesla; excited but nervous at the same time!

Not sure how the tax situation works.. looks like the initial solar agreement included tax, but I think some states (I'm in CA; so not sure) actually exempt solar installs from state taxes? Does Tesla account for that automatically?

The price Tesla quoted me in Maryland was inclusive of taxes.
 

holeydonut

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
2,114
1,498
East Bay NorCal
What type of roof do you have? If you have roof tiles (flat, S or W), I think Tesla may not be the best choice. In my experience they completely bailed since I have flat concrete tiles.

Tesla was also hitting me with incremental add-on costs since I had a "non-standard" house. This included fees due to the slope of my roof, requirement for the creation of sub-panels, the height of my roof, etc.

But, I think if your house is a great candidate for this then Tesla will beat the local installers on price. You may sacrifice on the service/quality end though since margins will be tight.
 
  • Helpful
Reactions: willow_hiller

wwu123

Member
Apr 11, 2017
416
347
Silicon Valley, CA
Welcome to Tesla Energy where your questions will be answered.:)
I am not the welcome agent here just happen to see your post and more experienced folks will respond
especially on the optimizer and its real benefit or no benefit.

As to the micro inverters, I just had to replace one in its 9 year of operation:( as it was not reporting for a full day at a time, Enphase could not wake it up, next day was back on line but the days between not reporting was getting fewer so they sent a new one under warranty. I replaced it but was a hassle after the fact and Enphase had to add the inverter number as the system would not let me, just delete the whole panel and replace without inverter.
But, yes, I do like the micros so far.:)

Hi charlesj, can I PM you to ask more about the warranty situation and best way to engage Enphase (directly or through installer)? Don't want to derail the thread, but I have one M215 Enphase micro (7 years old), that for the past year has only intermittent reporting. Wakes up each morning just fine and starts to ramp up like the rest, but 7 out of 10 days will "stick" reporting the same watts sometime in the morning, and then unstick in the end of the day as the panels are ramping down (typically down below 20W). 1 of 10 days it stops reporting, the remaining days it reports normally.

I think it's just powerline reporting interference, and not impacting it's production, but I can't be 100% sure.
 

SoCalSteve

Member
Jul 19, 2020
30
6
Irvine
Thanks willow_hiller. Not sure why the CA sales tax was assessed then.

What type of roof do you have? If you have roof tiles (flat, S or W), I think Tesla may not be the best choice. In my experience they completely bailed since I have flat concrete tiles..

Thanks for your reply. I do have flat lightweight concrete tile. I was concerned about this first, but a bunch of people seemed to indicate that they did install on concrete tile. Also, I talked to them on the experience line and they said concrete tile was supported as long as it was of supported weight. Perhaps this is some sort of regional policy? There are tons of houses with flat concrete tile here so I imagine Tesla not supporting this installation would be quite apparent?
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
10,373
11,719
Riverside Co. CA
Thanks willow_hiller. Not sure why the CA sales tax was assessed then.



Thanks for your reply. I do have flat lightweight concrete tile. I was concerned about this first, but a bunch of people seemed to indicate that they did install on concrete tile. Also, I talked to them on the experience line and they said concrete tile was supported as long as it was of supported weight. Perhaps this is some sort of regional policy? There are tons of houses with flat concrete tile here so I imagine Tesla not supporting this installation would be quite apparent?

Where does it say we dont pay taxes on solar in southern california (where you are)? Did I miss that somewhere?

I just paid tax on my powerwall install, but the solar was pre existing. I havent known this state to not collect tax on much, so, afaik, we pay tax on solar parts and such. Maybe I missed something somewhere though?
 

SoCalSteve

Member
Jul 19, 2020
30
6
Irvine
Where does it say we dont pay taxes on solar in southern california (where you are)? Did I miss that somewhere?

Hi jjandorin. No, I think it's my mistake. I looked through my notes from talking to other solar quotes I got besides Tesla and a couple of them said "no tax". I assumed that to mean "no sales tax" is assessed on the equipment but after some googling it doesn't appear that there is a sales tax exemption on solar in CA. The solar installers were most like just building that into the price, unlike Tesla. Sorry for the misunderstanding.
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
10,373
11,719
Riverside Co. CA
Hi jjandorin. No, I think it's my mistake. I looked through my notes from talking to other solar quotes I got besides Tesla and a couple of them said "no tax". I assumed that to mean "no sales tax" is assessed on the equipment but after some googling it doesn't appear that there is a sales tax exemption on solar in CA. The solar installers were most like just building that into the price, unlike Tesla. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

no worries, thanks for the follow up!
 

Products we're discussing on TMC...

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top