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New Powerwall Install - Swell Energy/Horizon Solar

Discussion in 'Tesla Energy' started by Brovane, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. Brovane

    Brovane Member

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    I recently completed the installation of 2 Power wall's by Horizon Solar in Orange County CA. I originally ordered the systems through Swell Energy in December of 2016 since they would handle the SGIP rebate process. Swell Energy sub-contracted the install to a local installer, Horizon Solar. Overall the installation took about 2-weeks with 3-days of work onsite by Horizon. The installation was done over 2-weeks because of a missing part.

    Some takeaways I had from the install.

    • I had requested during the site survey last year that only the 110V loads be placed on the Power wall circuit but instead the design was changed without my knowledge to include a full house backup.
    • The design that Swell/Horizon had for the wall placement didn't leave sufficient spacing for the installation of the Power walls and the Breaker Panel, Backup Gateway and Generation panel. The original design had called for the Power walls to be directly underneath the new electrical boxes but as you can see this design would never had worked. This design oversight resulted in several design changes onsite.
    • I told Swell that these issues could have been fixed by doing a site check and review of the final design with the customer a couple of weeks out. However Swell told me that would require another truck roll which would have cost to much.
    • Horizon started the install without the part that allows two power wall's to be clipped together for a ground install. Why they started the install without the proper parts I don't know. I also gave this feedback to Swell and pointed out that maybe a site check with the customer would have prevented another truck roll which is what was required because of the missing part.
    • Horizon took my old breaker panel (200-amp service feed) and installed a new 32-space panel inside my garage. This turned my old panel into basically a junction box.
      • I wish I would have known ahead of time I was getting a complete new panel. I thought I was just getting a sub-panel because just the 110V loads would be moved. I would have negotiated with Horizon to install a 40-space panel instead of the smaller 32-space panel they did install. The cost is almost nothing between a 32-space and 40-space since everything is in the labor. However they went with the smaller panel to save a few bucks. By the time I realized what was happening it was to late to get a bigger panel. The new panel they installed is almost completely full.
    • The Horizon solar tech's were very nice but I had to watch them and a couple of times I caught them making mistakes.
      • My bathroom outlets are on a GFCI breaker but they never installed a new GFCI breaker in the new panel. I called them out on it. They then installed GFCI outlets in my three bathrooms. Which I was fine with. But I could see some customers not catching this.
      • When they left after the 2nd day of the install because they didn't have the part to complete the install. They left my solar turned off. I knew they had moved my solar panel circuit over to the new panel but of course nothing was labeled. So by trial and error I figured out which breakers to throw to get my solar panels back into production.
      • They had to relocate the conduit and wiring that I had installed in 2016 for my EV charger. Instead of leaving a pull wire they removed all the wiring from the conduit. I then found them struggling to re-run the wire through the conduit. I got them some twine so they could get a pull wire through the conduit and complete what they had started.
      • I had run Cat-5E wire for the gateway but for some reason the tech was going to leave me on cellular for the gateway. I had to insist that he plug the Cat-5E wire back in. He thought my home network was causing issues but it wasn't my network, it was just the gateway needing a reboot so it would pull a IP address.
      • The installers seemed confuse about how to work with the foundation brick that comes out about two inches all around the floor of my garage. They insisted that the Power wall had to be flush to the wall all the way from the ground up. I politely pointed out that a couple of 2x4's could act as a space because of how the foundation brick on the bottom of the wall. I then offered a saw to use and a 2x4 and then they finally agreed they could work around this problem.
    • The Horizon techs really struggled getting my system online and eventually they had to call Tesla. The tech on the phone was very knowledgeable and got everything straightened out. Later the Horizon tech admitted to me this was only second install they had done with 2 batteries all the rest of the installs have been single battery systems.
    Considering how new the product was for the tech's I was overall ok with the install despite the couple of bone-headed moves. However I have seen contractors do much more stupid moves than these tech's. The biggest issue I had was the panel space issue that could cause issues for me down the road. I would have liked a 40-space main panel. Now let's see how long it takes me to get the SGIP rebate.......






    URL="IMG_20180407_142353322"][​IMG][/URL]
     
    • Informative x 4
  2. Shygar

    Shygar Member

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    Just curious why you chose to go with them instead of Tesla to do the install
     
  3. Tam

    Tam Well-Known Member

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    #3 Tam, Apr 10, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
    I thought he said because it would handle rebate hassle.

    Would you please further explain how this work?

    Originally, without your 2x4, how did they propose to do?

    I can't see your 2x4 in the picture. Where is it?
     
  4. Shygar

    Shygar Member

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    Tesla's handling my SGIP rebate too. So that's where I'm confused as to the benefit of paying a 3rd party more when Tesla will install it cheaper.
     
  5. wwhitney

    wwhitney Member

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    The concrete curb is proud of the drywall. The Powerwall wall bracket is fastened at a height that is above the concrete curb. So the bracket needs to be proud of the drywall and preferably flush with the face of the curb. The wood 2x4 is a filler between the bracket and the drywall. It can be just the size of the bracket, and thus hidden from view like the bracket is.

    Cheers, Wayne
     
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    • Like x 1
  6. Brovane

    Brovane Member

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    #6 Brovane, Apr 10, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
    When I called Tesla in December of 2016 they claimed to have never have heard of the SGIP rebate program. When I explained to them about the rebate program they then told me it was only for Commercial installs. At that point I had enough of the incompetence from the Tesla sales team. I went with Swell because the told me they would handle all the paperwork etc. and they knew all about the SGIP program.

    From what I could tell it wasn't until a couple of months later, sometime in early 2017 that somebody at Tesla figured out that they could take advantage of the SGIP program in CA for residential installs.
     
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  7. Brovane

    Brovane Member

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    Here is a picture of what was done with the 2x4. It is being used for as a spacer between the wall and the power wall.


    [​IMG]
     
  8. Tam

    Tam Well-Known Member

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    #8 Tam, Apr 10, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
    Thanks for the picture. Your are a very good problem solver!
     
  9. NuShrike

    NuShrike Member

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    What a nightmare with Swell. Thanks for posting it for the rest of us.

    Since you're in OC, I would've suggested going with another installer that would've done the rebate without the Swell cost. I wouldn't be able to swear for the install yet, as I'm still waiting.
     
  10. cr0ntab

    cr0ntab Member

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    Thanks for the insight!

    I'm waiting on LA Solar Group to do my install.

    Hopefully my permits come back this week so we can get moving.....but who knows.

    I have the same feeling about the install, I'm going to have to watch them closely to make sure they don't do anything funky.
     
  11. Brovane

    Brovane Member

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    Which other installer besides Tesla? When I was looking in December of 2016 Swell Energy was the only one that I could find that had knowledge of the SGIP rebate for residential battery installs. Swell Energy did get me Step 1 for the rebate program.
     
  12. miimura

    miimura Well-Known Member

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    I also used Swell Energy for SGIP Step 1. I have a very low number in the SGIP table since I reserved before the 2017 SGIP reservations opened. Swell's installation documentation prior to install was comically bad and lacking detail. My install was in Northern California, so a different installer was used than the OP above. IMHO, my installer knew what they were doing and 95% was done in one working day by two guys. They discussed exactly where they would mount everything and I approved it. I posted photos of my install in one of the Install threads. The main punch list item was one relocated bedroom circuit that needed an AFCI breaker that they didn't have. Provisioning was done on a second visit. County inspection didn't pass the first time, but it was all labeling and paperwork issues, not mistakes in the install. They asked for WiFi credentials, but ended up not using them, instead it is running off cellular. I am still waiting for PG&E PTO.
     
  13. mongo

    mongo Well-Known Member

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    Given the issue with the GFCIs, are their bedroom feeds properly set up with AFCIs?
    @wwhitney you might be able to speak to the requirements on this situation.
     
  14. NuShrike

    NuShrike Member

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    You're right. I'm not sure if this other installer would've been doing this work in Step-1.

    When I was looking, it was Oct, 2017. I just a customer not happy with Swell's prices, and how late Tesla has been to be up-front about running out of rebates.
     
  15. strangely

    strangely Member

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    @Brovane, You live in Lake Forest right? I think I saw your install last week whilst Horizon were doing a follow up on my install with the city inspection, and correctting some other minor issues with mine. In order to save some time, I needed to collect something from the crew that was doing yours. I only have a single battery, but I was also surprised by all the supporting electrical panels etc, and also had expected it to be occupying the same space and not needing the battery to be off to the side.
     
  16. Brovane

    Brovane Member

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    Yes I live in Lake Forest. Small world isn't it? My city inspection should be this Friday.
     
  17. strangely

    strangely Member

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    Fairly small, although I guess a lot of techie power nerd type folks frequent similar forums etc and buy similar geeky stuff.
    We have at least one EV thats the same, a Juicebox, and a Powerwall (or two in your case).

    I was chatting with your crew (they did mine too the prior week) whilst they were cutting some wire of a spool and they had mentioned about the missing battery bracket.
     
  18. SoundDaTrumpet

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Bay Area, California
    I have the foundation blocks to deal with also. I plan to wall mount my two powerwalls side-by-side so there more space for parking a car in the garage. I value floor space from ground to 30" more than free wall space, and will be asking to mount the Powewalls to the maximum 30" or 32" (I forget) height limit (measured from bottom of powerwall to ground) per Tesla's guidelines. This will allow for the occasional garage items while yielding more width for cars. Thanks for posting your experiences! Did you ever considering building a concrete foundation/footing for the Powerwalls to rest on?

    Here are some personal notes to benefit others:
    1. I am surprised your installer did not go out and source strut channels (a.k.a. Unistrut) since they were waiting for a part anyway.
    2. Fortunately, being very transparent, Tesla provided me the design drawings. My drawing calls out a 42 space 225A panel. I will make sure to perform my own inspection to match part numbers to print in case "late minute" substitutions take place.

    About SGIP over the past 2-3 years... a mess for the uninformed. Please don't flame me for this here. Save it for the SGIP thread.
     
  19. Brovane

    Brovane Member

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    The inspection was completed today. Everything passed without issue and the inspector talked with me for a while about the Tesla Powerwalls since he was looking to install possibly on his house. After the inspector left the Horizon Solar guy (Chris) helped me install the Sense energy monitor in my panel which was very nice of him.
     
  20. strangely

    strangely Member

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    I'm interested in what you think of the Sense and its abilities to track each electrical device? A friend of mine wanted to buy one, but he's also seen the amount of data that my Brultech GEM generates, and is on the fence with the easy install of the Sense versus the nightmare that a Brultech GEM can be to install...

    After I ripped out my GEM (pre powerwall install), it took me a whole day to re-install it again since its even more complex to wire it now to multiple areas and work out the configuration to have it all configured correctly. Totally worth the effort though as the amount of data it generates is great if you are a data junkie.
     

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