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Normal installation process

I just had a new PV system and Tesla Powerwall physically installed. Both are currently turned off, waiting for the installer to “program” them. There is also a building inspector visit planned prior to approving the permit for the installation. Then there is some review by the power company prior to the PTO being granted.

Should I expect that the system will remain off throughout the remaining steps? I’ve seen people refer to running their battery in a mode that lets the home charge and draw from it, but does not feed power back into the grid. Is that a reasonable mode to expect prior to PTO? How can the city inspector determine if the system was correctly installed until it is ”programmed” and brought online to some extent? Obviously the gateway, which sits between the home loads and the meter, is operating now, even if it isn’t “programmed”.

I’d appreciate understanding how these steps normally take place. A few years ago, when I added the original PV system, it was all turned on and operating the day the installers left; many months later, the utility came by and replaced my meter. Many more months later, and inspector showed up one day, took some notes and mumbled about things, and was never seen again.
 
Hey Billme. I can only tell you about my experience as I would imagine it would be different in each city.

I had 2 Powerwalls and a 12.24kW system installed. The powerwalls actually went in first and a few days later the panels were installed. While waiting for all the approvals and inspections I could open my Tesla app and see how much power my home was drawing from the grid but that was it. No information on solar nor powerwall.

IIRC if you have Storm Watch activated your batteries will charge form the grid but as far as I know that stored up juice will just sit there until the whole system is turned on.
 
Hi Billme, in my case, the system including the powerwalls was installed, powered up briefly to verify it worked and had the powerwalls worked when no solar was on. Then the system was shut down until activation. Just like hobapolis, my gateway logged grid usage only until the solar was activated.
 
It depends on your system design and your utility provider requirements. In my case, SRP requires an additional meter installed between Powerwall/solar and the gateway. Until PTO, that meter won't be there and the circuit to the gateway is not complete. Tesla does install a temporary meter during testing to verify everything is working correctly.

Others that do not have that meter requirement can be in 'self-powered' mode until PTO. But you may not have Tesla turn the system on until after city inspection to be sure everything is wired correctly.
 
It depends on your system design and your utility provider requirements. In my case, SRP requires an additional meter installed between Powerwall/solar and the gateway. Until PTO, that meter won't be there and the circuit to the gateway is not complete. Tesla does install a temporary meter during testing to verify everything is working correctly.

Others that do not have that meter requirement can be in 'self-powered' mode until PTO. But you may not have Tesla turn the system on until after city inspection to be sure everything is wired correctly.
Hey Toneman! So out of curiosity, the 2 locks on the PV and Battery meters that SRP put on, did they give you the keys? The SRP tech gave them to me when they activated us.
 
After the installer commissioned mine, he left it switched off. I opened the switch to the grid and tested it standalone for a couple days before PTO.

Note that if you don't have the proper meter, and are connected to the grid, trying to push electricity TO the grid will register as taking it FROM the grid, doubling your bill!
 

jboy210

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Dec 2, 2016
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Northern California
Since this is a PV replacement I would assume you have a permit to send power to the grid. So, how it proceeds from there is up to your local authorities. Some places seem to not care much on an upgrade.

Regarding the inspection, when our installers left they had the roof and all equipment online for a while and turned off the inverters after they were sure everything worked. The crew showed me how to turn on the inverters and how the system could be isolated from the grid to prevent feeding power back prior to PTO.

On inspection day Tesla sent someone out to put on all the remaining labels and placards, turn on the inverters, and the inspector and Tesla rep verified proper operation, walked through the wiring diagrams, and opened and inspected the various boxes.
 
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