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My inverter failed shortly after install- Now No Solar during hottest months of the year

Squeezit

Member
Aug 18, 2020
39
3
Mesa, AZ
I'm not paying for the equipment of course, I have the warranty. I'm paying for the cost of my electric in the most expensive part of the year for my state.

I've had solar since January but it's only been active since March due to errors Tesla made in my paperwork and took them forever to fix so I could turn it on.

9 days ago my inverter broke. I've been on grid power every since. Tesla support is so bad to top it off.
So today they FINALLY sent someone to look at my inverter. 20 minutes later he tells me it's dead and needs to be replaced. He tells me it'll take about 3 weeks to get the part (admittedly he was estimating he did say he doesn't know how long it will take to get the part), and they won't schedule me until the part arrives, so roughly 5 weeks from now it should be repaired.

I live in Arizona, June and July are the hottest months of the year with temperatures already hitting 120.

I also have a utility company that punishes solar users by charging us higher fees if we use grid power while on solar not to mention we are also charged higher rates between 2-8pm which is conveniently the hottest part of the day. My AC is running 24/7, nothing I can do about that.
So not only am I paying higher rates than the normal person, I'm paying these rates at the same time as paying my solar.
My electric bill SHOULD be 250 (my loan). It's currently looking like I'm going to pay around 650 for the entire outage out of pocket for my electric + my loan.

While I'm grateful I have the grid to fall back on, I'm pretty ticked off at Tesla and their indifference to my plight. I asked for a courtesy credit to help me out as I'm paying around 650 or so this month for my electric bill + my solar bill. They told me no as they don't guarantee service. My issue is that I've been allowed to use the system for less than 3 months and it's already costing me more than it ever saved me).
 
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wjgjr

Active Member
May 11, 2020
1,349
1,063
Silver Spring, MD
Unfortunately, your experience sounds pretty typical for Tesla service (there have been similar reports in the past) both for the length of time and for Tesla not providing any credit. It would be nice if Tesla had spare inverters they could swap in, but that is clearly an expense they don't want to take on - maybe at some point they will be able to do so for customers with Tesla inverters (not sure what you have) but right now they don't seem to do that for any inverters.

There has also been some discussion that Tesla's response time may not be out of line for the industry as a whole, but I'm not sure there is sufficient information either way. In any case, it certainly sucks to be sold a product that promises to directly save you money and then have it cost you money instead, due to something beyond your control.

Maybe someday we will see "solar insurance" as a product that pays customers for lost solar due to equipment failures. In the meantime, the only other thing to do would be to see if the utility has any way to temporarily revert you to a better, non-solar plan, but I suspect that is not going to happen either.
 

MCNE

Member
Mar 12, 2021
177
33
Texas
I'm not paying for the equipment of course, I have the warranty. I'm paying for the cost of my electric in the most expensive part of the year for my state.

I've had solar since January but it's only been active since March due to errors Tesla made in my paperwork and took them forever to fix so I could turn it on.

9 days ago my inverter broke. I've been on grid power every since. Tesla support is so bad to top it off.
So today they FINALLY sent someone to look at my inverter. 20 minutes later he tells me it's dead and needs to be replaced. He tells me it'll take about 3 weeks to get the part (admittedly he was estimating he did say he doesn't know how long it will take to get the part), and they won't schedule me until the part arrives, so roughly 5 weeks from now it should be repaired.

I live in Arizona, June and July are the hottest months of the year with temperatures already hitting 120.

I also have a utility company that punishes solar users by charging us higher fees if we use grid power while on solar not to mention we are also charged higher rates between 2-8pm which is conveniently the hottest part of the day. My AC is running 24/7, nothing I can do about that.
So not only am I paying higher rates than the normal person, I'm paying these rates at the same time as paying my solar.
My electric bill SHOULD be 250 (my loan). It's currently looking like I'm going to pay around 650 for the entire outage out of pocket for my electric + my loan.

While I'm grateful I have the grid to fall back on, I'm pretty ticked off at Tesla and their indifference to my plight. I asked for a courtesy credit to help me out as I'm paying around 650 or so this month for my electric bill + my solar bill. They told me no as they don't guarantee service. My issue is that I've been allowed to use the system for less than 3 months and it's already costing me more than it ever saved me).
I might have missed it but what type of Inverter did Tesla install? Apparently it makes a difference with the warranty recovery if its the in-house unit.
 

qdeathstar

Completely Serious
May 17, 2019
3,933
4,207
VB
I'm not paying for the equipment of course, I have the warranty. I'm paying for the cost of my electric in the most expensive part of the year for my state.

I've had solar since January but it's only been active since March due to errors Tesla made in my paperwork and took them forever to fix so I could turn it on.

9 days ago my inverter broke. I've been on grid power every since. Tesla support is so bad to top it off.
So today they FINALLY sent someone to look at my inverter. 20 minutes later he tells me it's dead and needs to be replaced. He tells me it'll take about 3 weeks to get the part (admittedly he was estimating he did say he doesn't know how long it will take to get the part), and they won't schedule me until the part arrives, so roughly 5 weeks from now it should be repaired.

I live in Arizona, June and July are the hottest months of the year with temperatures already hitting 120.

I also have a utility company that punishes solar users by charging us higher fees if we use grid power while on solar not to mention we are also charged higher rates between 2-8pm which is conveniently the hottest part of the day. My AC is running 24/7, nothing I can do about that.
So not only am I paying higher rates than the normal person, I'm paying these rates at the same time as paying my solar.
My electric bill SHOULD be 250 (my loan). It's currently looking like I'm going to pay around 650 for the entire outage out of pocket for my electric + my loan.

While I'm grateful I have the grid to fall back on, I'm pretty ticked off at Tesla and their indifference to my plight. I asked for a courtesy credit to help me out as I'm paying around 650 or so this month for my electric bill + my solar bill. They told me no as they don't guarantee service. My issue is that I've been allowed to use the system for less than 3 months and it's already costing me more than it ever saved me).
Everyone has labor shortages right now so likely there isn’t enough labor for immediate service, especially on a warrantee item.

I don’t think generally the argument for solar is that it is currently more economical than standard, which is why they are heavily subsidized.
 
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h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
3,108
685
auburn, ca
Everyone has labor shortages right now so likely there isn’t enough labor for immediate service, especially on a warrantee item.

I don’t think generally the argument for solar is that it is currently more economical than standard, which is why they are heavily subsidized.
Yep, I am seeing these labor shortages impacting things I am trying to get down, like my solar final inspection.
 
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sorka

Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2015
8,338
6,281
Merced, CA
I'm not paying for the equipment of course, I have the warranty. I'm paying for the cost of my electric in the most expensive part of the year for my state.

I've had solar since January but it's only been active since March due to errors Tesla made in my paperwork and took them forever to fix so I could turn it on.

9 days ago my inverter broke. I've been on grid power every since. Tesla support is so bad to top it off.
So today they FINALLY sent someone to look at my inverter. 20 minutes later he tells me it's dead and needs to be replaced. He tells me it'll take about 3 weeks to get the part (admittedly he was estimating he did say he doesn't know how long it will take to get the part), and they won't schedule me until the part arrives, so roughly 5 weeks from now it should be repaired.

I live in Arizona, June and July are the hottest months of the year with temperatures already hitting 120.

I also have a utility company that punishes solar users by charging us higher fees if we use grid power while on solar not to mention we are also charged higher rates between 2-8pm which is conveniently the hottest part of the day. My AC is running 24/7, nothing I can do about that.
So not only am I paying higher rates than the normal person, I'm paying these rates at the same time as paying my solar.
My electric bill SHOULD be 250 (my loan). It's currently looking like I'm going to pay around 650 for the entire outage out of pocket for my electric + my loan.

While I'm grateful I have the grid to fall back on, I'm pretty ticked off at Tesla and their indifference to my plight. I asked for a courtesy credit to help me out as I'm paying around 650 or so this month for my electric bill + my solar bill. They told me no as they don't guarantee service. My issue is that I've been allowed to use the system for less than 3 months and it's already costing me more than it ever saved me).

What inverter do you have? SE? The fastest way to get it replace is to open up a support ticket directly with SE where they will promptly issue an RMA number that you can call Tesla support with. I've seen reports on this forum that SE even shipped replacements directly to the customers house cutting many weeks of the normal Tesla route off the replacement round trip.
 

MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
16,870
40,506
Oregon
It would be nice if Tesla had spare inverters they could swap in, but that is clearly an expense they don't want to take on

That doesn't really work, since it is likely a Solar Edge inverter, the manufacturer is providing the warranty for that particular inverter/serial number. So if Tesla put a "spare" inverter in, they would have to come back and replace it with the one Solar Edge provided and has your remaining warranty period on it. So double the time/labor for Tesla. (Not to mention their cost of keeping the spare inverters around.)

I think the infant mortality on the Solar Edge inverters is part of the reason Tesla made their own and have pretty much switched to using them exclusively on new installs. I hope that warranty service is much faster for them. (As well as they should be more reliable.)
 

holeydonut

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
2,381
1,723
East Bay NorCal
Sorry to hear about this experience... unfortunately as others pointed out it's pretty much a standard outcome in the event of an inverter failure. It's not just Tesla Energy... pretty much any other solar company would not pay for the lost production on your type of purchase.

Tesla simply has to conform with a "reasonable" effort to get your inverter replaced/repaired. This is a bit different than automobile warranties where those warranties often include language for a "Transportation Assistance Policy" which would provide for at least a shuttle-trip for same day repair or a rental/loaner for longer delays. But the auto industry has much more litigation and time to shape expectations and warranty. Unfortunately Solar is still relatively early and thus far consumer protections haven't required companies selling solar equipment to offset the opportunity cost of the system being unavailable due to an in-warranty failure.

The only systems I'm aware of that guarantee production are the Power Purchase Agreements ("PPA") where the homeowner is leasing the system based on certain production guarantees. If the system goes offline then the homeowner pays for power at the same rate they would have received it from their rooftop solar. Of course, the PPA participant will over-pay for the value of the system over a 20 year interval, so nothing comes for free.

I think the closest to a production guarantee for hardware failure would be to get microinverters instead of one single inverter. However, these would still have a single point of failure if the combiner fails or if the Tesla Energy Gateway fails.
 

wjgjr

Active Member
May 11, 2020
1,349
1,063
Silver Spring, MD
That doesn't really work, since it is likely a Solar Edge inverter, the manufacturer is providing the warranty for that particular inverter/serial number. So if Tesla put a "spare" inverter in, they would have to come back and replace it with the one Solar Edge provided and has your remaining warranty period on it. So double the time/labor for Tesla. (Not to mention their cost of keeping the spare inverters around.)

I think the infant mortality on the Solar Edge inverters is part of the reason Tesla made their own and have pretty much switched to using them exclusively on new installs. I hope that warranty service is much faster for them. (As well as they should be more reliable.)
I agree it doesn't work, but it is because of business arrangements, not technical issues. That is, there is no reason that if Tesla had the same/equivalent inverter model in stock, they couldn't replace it an get Solar Edge to update records and send them another spare.
 
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holeydonut

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
2,381
1,723
East Bay NorCal
Which controller? All microinverters I'm aware of function standalone.


My Enphase system still has to feed an Envoy/combiner box on my wall. While this thing is only supposed to be a way to communicate data, I can see this box failing just because it's got a bunch of blinky diodes and was a giant PITA for me to provision. I'm assuming this Enphase box isn't just splicing the combined current of my microinverters to plug into the generation panel on the TEG2.

In case you're thinking "why wouldn't the installer provision the microinverters before leaving the house?" the answer is "PG&E."

I don't really expect this Enphase Envoy to fail in the next 20 years... but it is possible that some weird failure of the system instructs all the microinverters to shut down; or the box fails to do the combining for some wacky reason that I cannot predict. Regardless, Envoy weirdness seems much less likely than an inverter failing.
 

MCNE

Member
Mar 12, 2021
177
33
Texas
That doesn't really work, since it is likely a Solar Edge inverter, the manufacturer is providing the warranty for that particular inverter/serial number. So if Tesla put a "spare" inverter in, they would have to come back and replace it with the one Solar Edge provided and has your remaining warranty period on it. So double the time/labor for Tesla. (Not to mention their cost of keeping the spare inverters around.)

I think the infant mortality on the Solar Edge inverters is part of the reason Tesla made their own and have pretty much switched to using them exclusively on new installs. I hope that warranty service is much faster for them. (As well as they should be more reliable.)
That’s exactly what the Tesla techs told me during my install as they tried to convince me to keep the two new Tesla inverters (was told SE would be installed). They said that the SE turn around with failures were killing them because of the process and guidelines they are working with. I hope I don’t get to find out how fast the Tesla hardware gets replaced but I was told my hardware is kept in Texas. Time will tell.
 

h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
3,108
685
auburn, ca
That’s exactly what the Tesla techs told me during my install as they tried to convince me to keep the two new Tesla inverters (was told SE would be installed). They said that the SE turn around with failures were killing them because of the process and guidelines they are working with. I hope I don’t get to find out how fast the Tesla hardware gets replaced but I was told my hardware is kept in Texas. Time will tell.
I got my replacement SE inverter in less than a week. Now getting it installed was a different issue
 
That’s exactly what the Tesla techs told me during my install as they tried to convince me to keep the two new Tesla inverters (was told SE would be installed). They said that the SE turn around with failures were killing them because of the process and guidelines they are working with. I hope I don’t get to find out how fast the Tesla hardware gets replaced but I was told my hardware is kept in Texas. Time will tell.
This is unfortunate for sure. I had a SolarEdge inverter fail in summer of 2018, it only took 7 days from reporting it to get a replacement from SE and then 2 days for my local installer to replace it, so total was 9 days.
 

vickh

Active Member
Dec 16, 2018
3,165
711
az
APS customer here and I feel your plight OP. . Except they don't punish solar (or give a lot of credits, just net metering.

I wonder how this would work with subscriptions or PPA. I would hope they'd waive the TSLA fees.
 

sorka

Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2015
8,338
6,281
Merced, CA
My Enphase system still has to feed an Envoy/combiner box on my wall. While this thing is only supposed to be a way to communicate data, I can see this box failing just because it's got a bunch of blinky diodes and was a giant PITA for me to provision. I'm assuming this Enphase box isn't just splicing the combined current of my microinverters to plug into the generation panel on the TEG2.
If you data feed goes down, your inverters should still be producing.
 

holeydonut

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
2,381
1,723
East Bay NorCal
If you data feed goes down, your inverters should still be producing.


I take nothing for granted with this... I'm assuming the worst because something worse than the worst keeps happening haha.

Find me any other dumbazz solar customer that had to look up some California Rule 21 to learn the proper grid profile to tell Enphase so they would provision their solar array for usage.


I am like... WTF why is this industry sooooooooooo difficultttttt
 
I did a pretty bad job responding to this thread. Sorry guys.

To those that were asking about the inverter, it looks like it's solar edge.

As to my experience, I went through 3 separate leads. The first one, we'll call Lead A was incredibly unempathic and was frequently rude to me. I gave up on her and her repeated claims that she will call me but then just rude emails about being too busy (she made it clear I wasn't important).
After that I spoke to another Lead B. She at least did a great job making me think she understood my frustration and promised she'd stay on top of my ticket instead of passing me back to Lead A. Unfortunately it looks like she passed me back to Lead A.

After my issue was finally resolved, I reached back out to Lead B as she promised to see what she could do for me.
Lead A instead responded and told me that she already told me there was nothing they could do.
I responded and was ignored.
I responded again requesting to speak to someone else. She ignored me for days.


Today I called and spoke to a wonderful girl named Awesome Rep.

I explained the situation, explained the emails. Found out that Lead A has been closing my ticket every time I reached out without responding.
Awesome Rep forwarded me to someone named Lead C who helped me with a resolution. Not one that I think is good enough, but one I would have begrudgingly accepted in the beginning if I had never dealt with Lead A.
Needless to say, I accepted the resolution she provided as she was unable to do more.
She promised that Lead A would go through a retraining for their rudeness, then also requested I forward all of our email communication as apparently Lead A had deleted much of it from the ticket.

I then wrote a lengthy email thanking Awesome Rep for all her help as she was the first one to step up and actually make an effort to help me.
 
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holeydonut

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
2,381
1,723
East Bay NorCal
I did a pretty bad job responding to this thread. Sorry guys.

To those that were asking about the inverter, it looks like it's solar edge.

As to my experience, I went through 3 separate leads. The first one, we'll call Lead A was incredibly unempathic and was frequently rude to me. I gave up on her and her repeated claims that she will call me but then just rude emails about being too busy (she made it clear I wasn't important).
After that I spoke to another Lead B. She at least did a great job making me think she understood my frustration and promised she'd stay on top of my ticket instead of passing me back to Lead A. Unfortunately it looks like she passed me back to Lead A.

After my issue was finally resolved, I reached back out to Lead B as she promised to see what she could do for me.
Lead A instead responded and told me that she already told me there was nothing they could do.
I responded and was ignored.
I responded again requesting to speak to someone else. She ignored me for days.


Today I called and spoke to a wonderful girl named Awesome Rep.

I explained the situation, explained the emails. Found out that Lead A has been closing my ticket every time I reached out without responding.
Awesome Rep forwarded me to someone named Lead C who helped me with a resolution. Not one that I think is good enough, but one I would have begrudgingly accepted in the beginning if I had never dealt with Lead A.
Needless to say, I accepted the resolution she provided as she was unable to do more.
She promised that Lead A would go through a retraining for their rudeness, then also requested I forward all of our email communication as apparently Lead A had deleted much of it from the ticket.

I then wrote a lengthy email thanking Awesome Rep for all her help as she was the first one to step up and actually make an effort to help me.


Wow, glad you finally got through to someone that could help!

I wonder what wacky CS system exists that allows someone to modify a ticket and remove narrative? I've seen systems with a wiki-type editing history log. But never one that allowed someone to just strike stuff from record.
 

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