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How to turn off the solar panels/electricity to the house?

tintop

New Member
Sep 14, 2021
4
0
PA
I'm new here. Just had Tesla solar panels/1 Powerwall Plus installed. System is on, passed inspection, on Self Consumption mode, awaiting PTO.

The system is set up outside (left to right) with Inverter/Powerwall Plus, the Disconnect (with the big handle), the Gateway 2, and then the utility meter. Main electrical panel is in the basement.

The installer mentioned that the utility company may want the power to the house and solar panels turned off when changing the meter to a Net meter.

When I asked him what sequence I should use to turn the equipment off, he said first turn off the Gateway 2 breaker, then the Disconnect and last the main electrical panel in the basement. He said just reverse the process when turning everything back on (first main electrical panel, then Disconnect, then Gateway 2 breaker.

When looking at the Solar Panels System Manual, page 4, "Solar System Activation" (found on the website dated 9/28/2018), it only mentions, on turning the system on, first turn on the breaker for the main electrical panel and then the disconnect (doesn't seem to mention the Gateway 2, probably because Gateway 2 did not exist when the manual was written).

What is the correct sequence that I should use if I need to turn the solar panels/electricity to the house off? Do I also need to turn off the switch on the Powerwall Plus?

Is there a different process I should use if I only need the electricity for the house turned off (say for an electrician to do electrical work in the house)?

I emailed the question to my Project Advisor but still haven't gotten a reply.

Thanks for your help.
 

gpez

Member
Apr 25, 2019
751
616
USA
We've had our meter changed twice since having our panels installed, first for a net meter and second to upgrade it, and neither time did we have to do anything. The power company simply turned off the meter, swapped whatever they needed to, and flipped it back. Literally took the worker 20 seconds each time. The Powerwalls kicked in for the requisite 5 minutes and we didn't even notice the second time (the worker rang our doorbell but we couldn't answer, by the time I checked the Ring notification two minutes later and saw it was our utility he had already swapped the meter and was heading back to his truck).

The Powerwall system is designed that if there is a grid interruption that it isolates itself, meaning it keeps any power flowing back out. It'd be way overkill if the utility requires you to shut everything down when they do a simple meter swap.
 

sk00

Member
Jul 30, 2021
48
5
New York
I'm new here. Just had Tesla solar panels/1 Powerwall Plus installed. System is on, passed inspection, on Self Consumption mode, awaiting PTO.

The system is set up outside (left to right) with Inverter/Powerwall Plus, the Disconnect (with the big handle), the Gateway 2, and then the utility meter. Main electrical panel is in the basement.

The installer mentioned that the utility company may want the power to the house and solar panels turned off when changing the meter to a Net meter.

When I asked him what sequence I should use to turn the equipment off, he said first turn off the Gateway 2 breaker, then the Disconnect and last the main electrical panel in the basement. He said just reverse the process when turning everything back on (first main electrical panel, then Disconnect, then Gateway 2 breaker.

When looking at the Solar Panels System Manual, page 4, "Solar System Activation" (found on the website dated 9/28/2018), it only mentions, on turning the system on, first turn on the breaker for the main electrical panel and then the disconnect (doesn't seem to mention the Gateway 2, probably because Gateway 2 did not exist when the manual was written).

What is the correct sequence that I should use if I need to turn the solar panels/electricity to the house off? Do I also need to turn off the switch on the Powerwall Plus?

Is there a different process I should use if I only need the electricity for the house turned off (say for an electrician to do electrical work in the house)?

I emailed the question to my Project Advisor but still haven't gotten a reply.

Thanks for your help.
I got a Solar Roof system with 2 Powerwalls (one of which is a Plus) installed this past summer and am awaiting PTO in NY. I've gotten mixed messaging from both Tesla and members of this forum on what to do with the system before PTO.

If I were to turn off the system, I was initially told by Tesla installers to simply turn off the first set of breakers the inverter is connected to. So that's what I did. Just last week, I got an urgent email from Tesla saying I should turn the breakers back on, charge the Powerwalls, and then instead of turning off the breakers, I should turn off small switch on side of the Powerwalls.

I called customer support and this is the explanation they gave me -- turning off the system via the breakers cause a lot of phantom drain in the Powerwall batteries, and if the batteries fully drain, Tesla has to send a tech over to jumpstart it. This process can also be detrimental to battery life. Supposedly Tesla monitors Powerwall status and notifies customers to prevent this from happening. Turning the system off by using the switch on the side of the Powerwalls minimizes the drain.

See attached email I got from Tesla. I suggest you give them a call and see what they say. Surprisingly, dealing with customer support wasn't too bad, as opposed to the Project Advisors who are generally pretty useless.

Screen Shot 2021-09-18 at 6.15.17 PM.png
 

arnolddeleon

Member
Supporting Member
Jul 21, 2012
928
1,006
SF Bay Area
I'm new here. Just had Tesla solar panels/1 Powerwall Plus installed. System is on, passed inspection, on Self Consumption mode, awaiting PTO.

The system is set up outside (left to right) with Inverter/Powerwall Plus, the Disconnect (with the big handle), the Gateway 2, and then the utility meter. Main electrical panel is in the basement.

The installer mentioned that the utility company may want the power to the house and solar panels turned off when changing the meter to a Net meter.

When I asked him what sequence I should use to turn the equipment off, he said first turn off the Gateway 2 breaker, then the Disconnect and last the main electrical panel in the basement. He said just reverse the process when turning everything back on (first main electrical panel, then Disconnect, then Gateway 2 breaker.

When looking at the Solar Panels System Manual, page 4, "Solar System Activation" (found on the website dated 9/28/2018), it only mentions, on turning the system on, first turn on the breaker for the main electrical panel and then the disconnect (doesn't seem to mention the Gateway 2, probably because Gateway 2 did not exist when the manual was written).

What is the correct sequence that I should use if I need to turn the solar panels/electricity to the house off? Do I also need to turn off the switch on the Powerwall Plus?

Is there a different process I should use if I only need the electricity for the house turned off (say for an electrician to do electrical work in the house)?

I emailed the question to my Project Advisor but still haven't gotten a reply.

Thanks for your help.
A wiring diagram would make things easier.

If the goal is for the utility to change the meter as safely as possible then you don't want power flowing to or from the grid. For a house without batteries this would mean shutting the house down. Depending on how things are wired this could be as simple as throwing the main breaker and the house stays powered on and the utility is happy.

Assuming you know how to read the utility meter you can tell that you did it successfully when you see no power flowing to or from the grid. The Powerwall should also report that the grid is down when you do this.
 

Flick75

Member
Aug 11, 2020
89
60
Hawaii
I'm new here. Just had Tesla solar panels/1 Powerwall Plus installed. System is on, passed inspection, on Self Consumption mode, awaiting PTO.

The system is set up outside (left to right) with Inverter/Powerwall Plus, the Disconnect (with the big handle), the Gateway 2, and then the utility meter. Main electrical panel is in the basement.

The installer mentioned that the utility company may want the power to the house and solar panels turned off when changing the meter to a Net meter.

When I asked him what sequence I should use to turn the equipment off, he said first turn off the Gateway 2 breaker, then the Disconnect and last the main electrical panel in the basement. He said just reverse the process when turning everything back on (first main electrical panel, then Disconnect, then Gateway 2 breaker.

When looking at the Solar Panels System Manual, page 4, "Solar System Activation" (found on the website dated 9/28/2018), it only mentions, on turning the system on, first turn on the breaker for the main electrical panel and then the disconnect (doesn't seem to mention the Gateway 2, probably because Gateway 2 did not exist when the manual was written).

What is the correct sequence that I should use if I need to turn the solar panels/electricity to the house off? Do I also need to turn off the switch on the Powerwall Plus?

Is there a different process I should use if I only need the electricity for the house turned off (say for an electrician to do electrical work in the house)?

I emailed the question to my Project Advisor but still haven't gotten a reply.

Thanks for your help.

If we're talking about only one main power meter for your house, then as soon as the meter is pulled from the socket, the gateway 2 should island your house when the relay in the gateway separates your house from the grid, i.e. the load side of the meter socket. This would happen with in a few seconds of removing your meter.

I'm not sure why the utility company would want the house and solar turned off as there is still power on the line side of the meter socket even if you did isolate power to your house.
 
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Flick75

Member
Aug 11, 2020
89
60
Hawaii
To avoid arcing on the meter socket?

I would hope not, but anythings possible. I'm pretty sure the prongs are far enough apart that you'd have to intentionly stick some sort of conducting object in there to make it arc.

I've seen my local utility change my meter out three times and those guys have no issues pulling and replacing it with power on. The first guy who replaced my super old analog meter pulled it and adjusted the prongs to make it fit more snug while line power was still there.
 

tintop

New Member
Sep 14, 2021
4
0
PA
A wiring diagram would make things easier.

If the goal is for the utility to change the meter as safely as possible then you don't want power flowing to or from the grid. For a house without batteries this would mean shutting the house down. Depending on how things are wired this could be as simple as throwing the main breaker and the house stays powered on and the utility is happy.

Assuming you know how to read the utility meter you can tell that you did it successfully when you see no power flowing to or from the grid. The Powerwall should also report that the grid is down when you do this.
Thanks for all the replies.

I think the diagram below from my permit application is what you are asking about. My system is the second on the right (Powerwall+ with backup Gateway 2 for whole house backup). I am assuming the "Load center" mentioned on the diagram is the Disconnect.

I trust the sequence that the installer's told me to use, just wants additional confirmation as the Tesla Manual was not clear on this.

Even if the utility company does not need me to turn the system off, it's still good to know how to do it, say for something like a fire.

It was interesting when the electrical inspector came, he only turned off the disconnect and then removed the panel of the Gateway 2 to look at the wiring. I asked him about the shutdown sequence, but he declined it to say, I believe due to liability risk.

Thanks again.

setup 3.jpg
 

Flick75

Member
Aug 11, 2020
89
60
Hawaii
Even if the utility company does not need me to turn the system off, it's still good to know how to do it, say for something like a fire.

In the event of a fire for emergency shutdown you'd shut your main breaker and your A/C disconnect. That's how my system is setup. That would isolate power from the grid and shutdown your solar and take your powerwalls offline for the purposes of providing power to your house.
 

slcasner

Active Member
Supporting Member
Feb 20, 2011
1,392
939
Sunnyvale, CA
I would hope not, but anythings possible. I'm pretty sure the prongs are far enough apart that you'd have to intentionly stick some sort of conducting object in there to make it arc.

I've seen my local utility change my meter out three times and those guys have no issues pulling and replacing it with power on. The first guy who replaced my super old analog meter pulled it and adjusted the prongs to make it fit more snug while line power was still there.
Sorry, I meant that as the meter is removed there will be an arc as the meter prongs separate from the socket. Of course, the same problem occurs inside the main breaker as the contacts open when you move the handle to the OFF position.

There have been a couple of other threads here about damage meter sockets and resulting noisy power that caused the Gateway to think there were frequent power failures. I think that was more a matter of mechanical damage to the meter socket rather than arc damage.
 

Fruitcake

Member
Oct 4, 2021
77
36
New Jersey
If we're talking about only one main power meter for your house, then as soon as the meter is pulled from the socket, the gateway 2 should island your house when the relay in the gateway separates your house from the grid, i.e. the load side of the meter socket. This would happen with in a few seconds of removing your meter.

I'm not sure why the utility company would want the house and solar turned off as there is still power on the line side of the meter socket even if you did isolate power to your house.
Yes. this exactly. This was my experience. PSE&G showed up with a new digital meter and told me "you'll be without power for a few minutes while we swap meters." That's what HE thought - the system interpreted the intentional interruption as an outage and responded exactly as intended - automatic transfer switch activated, the Powerwalls established a microgrid, and everything in the house kept running, even the finicky microwave oven clock that used to reset to 12:00 with even the slightest brownout. Five minutes later after the new meter was installed, the automatic transfer switch closed and I was back on the grid. Zero downtime.

Fruitcake
 

holeydonut

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
2,362
1,705
East Bay NorCal
It'd be way overkill if the utility requires you to shut everything down when they do a simple meter swap.


That's how I know you don't live in PG&E land. I have 3 disconnects that can sever power between my home grid and PG&E's precious gear.

One 200A main breaker in the main service panel because code requires a main breaker in there
One 200A huge azzz disconnect 2 feet away because PG&E says it's important for worker safety in case someone is wearing gloves and cannot operate an OCPD
One 200A disconnect 1 feet away that isolates the Tesla Energy Gateway from the Grid because redundant redundancy is good
 
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