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Found out Powerwall only install done by Tesla 4 years ago never received PTO from SCE [tesla produces pdf of prior authorization document]

We had three Powerwalls installed by TESLA in late 2017 (no solar). We were lured into the purchase partly on the possibility of a (never realized) SGIP rebate, but switching our Edison plan to TOU made it worthwhile for a fairly large, multi-generational mountain house with about a 10 year payoff regardless. Install was super slow and a bit of a hassle as the whole process was still somewhat new, but outside a few glitches and repairs, the Powerwalls have been great and reduced our bill enough that we can afford to heat a mountain house in winter without burning trees! We tried for a few months to followup with Tesla about SGIP and other things and only heard "we're taking care of all the paperwork" from everyone we asked.

Roll forward to October 2021 . . . We were finally able to add some solar in the limited usable space on our roof! We got to make a huge improvement and jump into actually having some renewable instead of just offsetting peak usage! Yay!

or Nay? Sadly, nay. Huge NAY!


Why?

1)
Edison will not grant Permission To Operate our new solar because they say we never had PTO for the Powerwalls. IE: Tesla never did the paperwork OR SCE is FOS.

2) Due to SCE/CPUC agreements nobody will give me details about, the Tesla app no longer lets us to charge from the grid now that we have a measly 4kWh solar (way less in Winter). Would have been nice if ANYONE we talked to when buying solar (SCE, Tesla, Semper Solaris & others) told us this before we laid out the cash for a small system :(.

3) Now that we can't charge from the grid, there's no way to get through peak period in Winter on battery, so (without changing plans) we will pay somewhere between $60 to $150 more a month for power than we did last year without solar and we will continue to pay a lot more until summer nears and our solar gradually becomes useful. Fortunately, mountain summers are mild and we know our tiny array can at least COOL our house through peak.

Finally: Nobody at SCE or Tesla wants to return our calls and emails about these issues. We keep getting handed off because nobody at Tesla seems to know who's department this is (since it's not "solar") and nobody at SCE even gives a damn. To be fair, I only found out about the no Powerwall PTO until late last week, but even our questions about SGIP and inability to charge from the grid have been largely ignored by Tesla and completely ignored by SCE.

This is partially a vent (mods: LMK if edits are needed), but also a warning. Don't assume an installer (in this case Tesla) did their job in any shape or form without full legal documentation. We ASSUMED we had PTO for our Powerwalls because we have used them for FOUR YEARS Tesla or SCE may have screwed up the paperwork, but I find it insane that SCE now says both "you now have to pay full peak rates because you have solar" and "you can't use your solar because we didn't know you had batteries".

I don't even know how that last part is possible. We have used virtually zero power during peak for four years in a full time family residence and SCE didn't know? The most casual glance at our usage by human or code shows this clearly. Of course, SCE seems perfectly happy we're stuck using a ton of grid power during peak now (and paying full price for it) as they refuse to return our calls and emails. That's not even going into whether or not I think SCE is just screwing with us to stretch it out until we can no longer grandfather out of California's NEM 3.0 idiocy.

Sadly, I also have to believe Tesla never even tried to submit any of the SGIP paperwork they said they would. How could they if we never had PTO?

I will followup with details if/when any of this is resolved, but for now . . . shame on SCE and Tesla for soiling what we thought would be our first partially renewable New Year :(.
 
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miimura

Well-Known Member
Aug 21, 2013
7,325
7,311
Los Altos, CA
Ignoring the permitting and SCE PTO issues, in your situation you would be better off leaving the solar on the grid side of the Powerwalls and foregoing the ability to charge the PWs during a grid outage. In other words, don't configure the Powerwalls for solar, just leave them configured for standalone operation and just let the solar do its thing separately.
 
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Ignoring the permitting and SCE PTO issues, in your situation you would be better off leaving the solar on the grid side of the Powerwalls and foregoing the ability to charge the PWs during a grid outage. In other words, don't configure the Powerwalls for solar, just leave them configured for standalone operation and just let the solar do its thing separately.

Thanks. This is exactly the kind of thing we would have liked to have heard before we had the install completed and the Powerwall configured for solar by Semper Solaris. Pretty sure we won't do ANYTHING on this system again without posting here or /rSolar first. If we weren't in a virtual solar dead-zone (at least in Winter) and required by ordinance to be grid connected, we would have tried to save up for 10+KwH of solar and a standby LP gen and pull the plug on SCE outright.
 
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jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Moderator
Nov 28, 2018
14,673
18,797
Riverside Co. CA
The powerwalls never being actually PTO ' ed is... wow I dont know what word to use here, and I tend to be wordy in the first place.

Im not sure who should have told you about "solar with powerwalls means powerwalls charge ONLY from solar, in the United States" thing, though. Tesla didnt install the solar, so they wouldnt have known to tell you. Semper Didnt install the powerwalls (but is a powerwall installer I think) so they should have told you, but that would have made you not buy the PV system.

This is one of those problems that shows up when you have different people do different parts of what normally would be a bundled install. You dont have one company to go back to.

Since with storage only, you are not a generation facility, I dont think the PTO is the same (but am not an expert on this). You certainly wouldnt need net energy metering or anything like that, since you are not a generation facility.

I am not even sure what "PTO" looks like on "storage only

Sounds like a nightmare, especially since for your specific needs, a PV system that small tied to your 3 batteries doesnt help you in winter heating in that location.
 
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Lloyd

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Jan 12, 2011
6,391
2,320
San Luis Obispo, CA
Thanks. This is exactly the kind of thing we would have liked to have heard before we had the install completed and the Powerwall configured for solar by Semper Solaris. Pretty sure we won't do ANYTHING on this system again without posting here or /rSolar first. If we weren't in a virtual solar dead-zone and required (I believe) by ordinance to be grid connected, we would have tried to save up for 10+KwH of solar and a standby LP gen and pull the plug on SCE outright.
Except now California will not allow the generator, and even if they did, Tesla PW software will not allow your powerwalls to charge from the generator.


Reading: Propane and Diesel engines are exempted.
 
With the proposed Successor Tariff in the works I am not sure how this fits in with a long term strategy. The worse part is that you did not get the SGiP rebate and that is a significant financial issue. Is there anyway to see if there was an application and if it is still active?
The good news is without a PTO on the solar SCE would have no basis to charge you the $8 per kW for your new solar. If I wa in that situation, I would work to get the Powerwall to let you charge from the grid and evaluate whether getting thee SGIP rebate is even possible.
 
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The worse part is that you did not get the SGiP rebate and that is a significant financial issue. Is there anyway to see if there was an application and if it is still active?
Good question. We filled out any paperwork TESLA asked us to do, but we really had to leave it in their hands at the time, which was apparently a bad idea :(. No idea if SCE or CPUC will help us since they don't want to talk to us at all. Curious if anyone at Tesla will help. I've heard zip after calling and emailing them two weeks ago (yeah, holiday) and again early this morning. I have also had a whole fun email chain going with a so called SCE "advisor" who went out-of-office for the holiday the moment I emailed and still won't return my emails a month later.

The good news is without a PTO on the solar SCE would have no basis to charge you the $8 per kW for your new solar. If I was in that situation, I would work to get the Powerwall to let you charge from the grid and evaluate whether getting thee SGIP rebate is even possible.
Good point. As much as we want to offset our usage with solar the "right" way, I realize we could move the solar array to a sub panel instead of being grid-tied. The solar will get used. It just ends up being so much less useful (specifically in our area) if it can't charge the Powerwalls during outages.
 
Tesla PW software will not allow your powerwalls to charge from the generator.

Wow. If that's true, it's another VERY important bit of info we weren't told (by Tesla, SCE or our installer). We have considered a full size LP generator and still must. Elder parent's oxygen and heating require power. We currently have a portable gas generator we CAN use for this contingency and it seems we may have no choice if SCE, CPUC and Tesla won't allow us to charge our batteries at all for longer winter outages . :mad:

We have asked numerous time about medical exemption from these rules and (you guessed it), have heard nothing to date from SCE or Tesla in response.
 
The solar will get used. It just ends up being so much less useful (specifically in our area) if it can't charge the Powerwalls during outages.
If they are configured correctly the Powerwalls should be able to AC couple with the GT solar and the Gt solar should be able to see the loads and charge the Powerwalls. I think they would have to be on the sub panel served by the Powerall to do that. I don't have a Powerwall but that is how my hybrid inverter AC couples when the grid is down.
 

Lloyd

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Jan 12, 2011
6,391
2,320
San Luis Obispo, CA
Wow. If that's true, it's another VERY important bit of info we weren't told (by Tesla, SCE or our installer). We have considered a full size LP generator and still must. Elder parent's oxygen and heating require power. We currently have a portable gas generator we CAN use for this contingency and it seems we may have no choice if SCE, CPUC and Tesla won't allow us to charge our batteries at all for longer winter outages . :mad:

We have asked numerous time about medical exemption from these rules and (you guessed it), have heard nothing to date from SCE or Tesla in response.
They changed the software recently after I told them I was adding a generator as a backup to go "off grid" and cut the cord. Other battery companies will allow charging from the generator. Generac for example.
 
I didn't know "PWs only" even need PTO since you aren't exporting anything. Does that even qualify for the tax credit since it's not solar charged at that point?

I think SGIP in your case is pretty hard to get/deal with and it's pretty much gone for Tesla so if you had it installed 4 years ago, that's probably way past the date of rebate windows.

I think the problem here hi-lights anything non-standard will be confusing, especially when it's two different parties doing the install. I think the plans when they did your solar should have included the powerwalls there so to the utility, they shouldn't care when you got them, it just needs to be in the plans.

Of course, Semper may not want to deal with it, but they can always just charge more labor to hook it up as part of a normal solar/storage install. I did get 2 letters in my case for both my solar and batteries.


I was looking at my letter and noticed this too, which is sorta relevant to our other thread discussion with NEM3.0:

If you choose, you can be completely off the grid with a back-up battery or generator and a specialized inverter. Being off the grid means you're no longer connected to SDG&E's system and no longer an SDG&E customer. If you're interested in this option, find out more at https://www.sdge.com/nem/documents. We just want to make sure you've planned for all of your energy and service needs.
 
The powerwalls never being actually PTO ' ed is... wow I dont know what word to use here, and I tend to be wordy in the first place.
Lol. I know the feeling. Had to restrain myself quite a bit in the top post here :)

Im not sure who should have told you about "solar with powerwalls means powerwalls charge ONLY from solar, in the United States"
Yeah. I'm pissed we didn't know, but I can't blame Semper Solaris or Tesla. Blame goes to responsible regulatory bodies (who are obviously in bed with the utilities). No way there should be this kind of blanket restriction. I can understand them not wanting someone with 30kWh to get both NEM and charge with off peak power, but it does nothing but hurt people in our situation who really can't benefit from anything but the solar itself (NEM will mean nothing for us until early summer).
Sorry, I was responding to that article posted in @Lloyd post about generator sales being banned.
Got it. My apologies for just skimming the replies out of context (and in reverse) :).
 
Anecdotally it is possible to get Tesla to enable grid charging of PWs with solar:
Yeah. I think I saw that a week or so ago. It's one thing to petition SCE/Tesla for software control (which we are trying already). It's quite another to re-provision and swap CTs. "Hacking" the Neurio isn't something I want to do while we still have a warranty with Tesla.
 

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