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PSA for folks getting a new solar install - ask for a map of your panel/optimizer layout

Thanks for the advice to get the maps and codes. On my install today I was able to take my own photos of the piece of cardboard they stuck the serial number stickers on. It was just a grid with the panel numbers and stickers. When I asked for the mapping of which panel number was where on the roof they gave me a detailed map which was a printout of the plan with a number for each panel, and the sequence in the string. They let me keep that drawing. They said I’d be able to get it after the job was done, but were more than happy to let me take pictures and keep that printout. I did buy them coffee and donuts, but they would have given me the codes anyway.

My install has 3 powerwalls and I was able to get them to run Ethernet cables from the teg and the se inverter to my wired router. They did also install the zigbee card and antenna in the inverter and also the little Tesla black box zigbee gateway. With the powerwall setup and the teg (gateway 2), I believe that the Tesla app gets its production measurement from the teg rather than the inverter. I just got installed today so I don’t have PTO yet. When I asked to have them wire the Ethernet to the inverter they were hesitant but they “checked with the office” and got approval to put in my wire. I did supply the cat6 cable for that to make it easy for them. The solar installer team didn’t have Ethernet wiring gear but the powerwall team did since they try to install Ethernet for the TEG if it makes sense. Since the solar guys install the inverter, I needed to provide the cable and connectors. They said that using the Ethernet on the inverter may cause issue with the zigbee reported data, but the guy who said that wasn’t up to date on the powerwall based systems.

once I have PTO I’ll play with leaving the zigbee gateway off and see if I get both Tesla and solaredge production data with the Ethernet connected to the inverter.
 
Thanks for the advice to get the maps and codes. On my install today I was able to take my own photos of the piece of cardboard they stuck the serial number stickers on. It was just a grid with the panel numbers and stickers. When I asked for the mapping of which panel number was where on the roof they gave me a detailed map which was a printout of the plan with a number for each panel, and the sequence in the string. They let me keep that drawing. They said I’d be able to get it after the job was done, but were more than happy to let me take pictures and keep that printout. I did buy them coffee and donuts, but they would have given me the codes anyway.

My install has 3 powerwalls and I was able to get them to run Ethernet cables from the teg and the se inverter to my wired router. They did also install the zigbee card and antenna in the inverter and also the little Tesla black box zigbee gateway. With the powerwall setup and the teg (gateway 2), I believe that the Tesla app gets its production measurement from the teg rather than the inverter. I just got installed today so I don’t have PTO yet. When I asked to have them wire the Ethernet to the inverter they were hesitant but they “checked with the office” and got approval to put in my wire. I did supply the cat6 cable for that to make it easy for them. The solar installer team didn’t have Ethernet wiring gear but the powerwall team did since they try to install Ethernet for the TEG if it makes sense. Since the solar guys install the inverter, I needed to provide the cable and connectors. They said that using the Ethernet on the inverter may cause issue with the zigbee reported data, but the guy who said that wasn’t up to date on the powerwall based systems.

once I have PTO I’ll play with leaving the zigbee gateway off and see if I get both Tesla and solaredge production data with the Ethernet connected to the inverter.
That is great. Now, someone can build the layout so you can actually see panels in their correct place and production.
That will be interesting to see how panels will differ in their production. Early morning light I have seen mine all the same low output.
But later in day it is different.
 
I had a list of items that I spoke to the lead about, and the optimizer map was one of them. Attached is what he gave me at the end, with the layout map drawn on the other side. Now to get access to the SolarEdge app, and also to see if the layout on SolarEdge can be adjusted to match my layout.

Can you give me the list of items as my install in this coming saturday?
 
Can you give me the list of items as my install in this coming saturday?
I don't have my check list any more. But, I remember having to ask him/her the optimizer map on it. You need the serial numbers, and also the map that shows where each optimizer went. I also had a request to see if they can move some panels from the east side to the west and south facing side. Which they could not, and had to reduce the number from the west and south side. Wanted to check the conduit path, which I did not finally ask. There was a couple more, that I cannot recall. Sorry.
 
Can you give me the list of items as my install in this coming saturday?

My PV + 2 Powerwall install is tomorrow (10/19) . Tesla called me on Friday and I already told the guy what I wanted. Here is my list and he agreed to all and put it in the notes. He gave me names of lead and the 2 electricians also.

1) I want the optimizer serial nos/mapping.
2) I have paint matching my stucco and they can use that to paint the conduits.
3) I have a conduit run path in mind which I can talk to lead on day of install to hid it as much as possible.
4) Move the gateway to inside garage as long as I have space for a 3rd powerwall in future. On permit plan, the gateway is outside but they can change it without changing permit IMHO.
5) I have 2 50 ft network cables (cat8) which I want them to use to hardwire the Gateway and inverter to my wifi switch located in a garage cabinet.

I will also let lead know when they come about lunch to keep them happy..I am planning to get lunch (pizzas ) and water / soda for the crew. I am assuming the crew would be around 9 people.. 2 electricians, 1 lead, 4 PV installers. I will buffer in additional 2 people when ordering pizzas. Guess 5 large pizzas would suffice.
 
I believe they have been using SolarEdge inverters with optimizers for a while now. Occasionally they use delta inverters without optimizers. What brand is your inverter?
I have SolarEdge 'HD Wave' SE 3800H. I swear I'm only getting shading on a couple of panels but my output drops to 0.2kW around 10:30am. I suppose there's no way of finding out if I truly have optimizers and even then, what use they are? Can they be misconfigured in software?
 

BrettS

Active Member
Mar 28, 2017
2,155
2,574
Orlando, FL
I have SolarEdge 'HD Wave' SE 3800H. I swear I'm only getting shading on a couple of panels but my output drops to 0.2kW around 10:30am. I suppose there's no way of finding out if I truly have optimizers and even then, what use they are? Can they be misconfigured in software?

If you have a solaredge inverter then you very likely have optimizers. Does your inverter have an LCD screen or not?
 
If you have a solaredge inverter then you very likely have optimizers. Does your inverter have an LCD screen or not?
Alas no - I was just googling around and it seems without the LCD screen I'm at the mercy of Tesla to troubleshoot this. Can you have optimizers that are not paired correctly and act like a string without them? Just after midday I get what I'd expect from the fully unshaded panels.

EDIT - this is my model
https://tandem-solar-systems.com/buy-solar-products/solaredge-energy-hub-se3800h-uss3bbc14/
 
Last edited:

BrettS

Active Member
Mar 28, 2017
2,155
2,574
Orlando, FL
Alas no - I was just googling around and it seems without the LCD screen I'm at the mercy of Tesla to troubleshoot this. Can you have optimizers that are not paired correctly and act like a string without them? Just after midday I get what I'd expect from the fully unshaded panels.

No, if you had optimizers that were not paired properly then you wouldn’t get any production at all. The solaredge inverters require optimizers to run, but apparently there is an option where you can get a single “string optimizer” that connects all of your panels as a string, but it doesn’t seem that tesla uses that option frequently.

You can download the solaredge setapp app. (Search for setapp in your App Store) and that has an option to connect directly to the inverter in read only mode so you can see it’s configuration. That would show you if you have a single string optimizer or optimizers for each panel.
 

willow_hiller

Active Member
Apr 3, 2019
3,743
21,230
Maryland
Thanks that's a great app/tool. It shows I DO have 12 optimzers communicating. I'll have to have a look again tomorrow on how many of those panels are getting shaded etc. Getting an output of 0.2kW at midmorning I would expect to have only 2-3 panels in sun.

Reading more about optimizers here: Power optimizer - Wikipedia

It sounds like they're a DC-to-DC converter that can lower the voltage of shaded panels so the amperage can still match that needed by the inverter. But I imagine there's a critical threshold of shading at which point there's no feasible combination of voltage and amperage to power the inverter. So it's possible a 95% shaded panel early along the string could still cause the system to not produce.
 

BrettS

Active Member
Mar 28, 2017
2,155
2,574
Orlando, FL
Just wanted to add a quick update here. It seems that Tesla has recently started to allow the SolarEdge inverters to report their data to SolarEdge through the Tesla zigbee gateway.

This means that the Ethernet connection is no longer necessary to use the SolarEdge app and that people with solar only installs no longer need to choose the Tesla app or the SolarEdge app. They will both work simultaneously now through the Tesla zigbee gateway.
 
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Just wanted to add a quick update here. It seems that Tesla has recently started to allow the SolarEdge inverters to report their data to SolarEdge through the Tesla zigbee gateway.

This means that the Ethernet connection is no longer necessary to use the SolarEdge app and that people with solar only installs no longer need to choose the Tesla app or the SolarEdge app. They will both work simultaneously now through the Tesla zigbee gateway.

Can confirm this! I disconnected ethernet today and have my inverters set to Zigbee, I get data from both now!
 
Just wanted to add a quick update here. It seems that Tesla has recently started to allow the SolarEdge inverters to report their data to SolarEdge through the Tesla zigbee gateway.

This means that the Ethernet connection is no longer necessary to use the SolarEdge app and that people with solar only installs no longer need to choose the Tesla app or the SolarEdge app. They will both work simultaneously now through the Tesla zigbee gateway.


Well that's great news. I was just going through this thread to get all the info I need for my install tomorrow, glad I don't need to bother with anything besides just getting the map and data matrix codes.
 

BrettS

Active Member
Mar 28, 2017
2,155
2,574
Orlando, FL
the serial numbers, the little stickers with the data matrix codes. I have no intention of entering them by hand

Ah, yeah, I would have called them QR codes, but I know what you mean. Scanning them is definitely easier than entering them by hand. But keep in mind that the only way you will be able to enter them at all is if you have solaredge transfer your site away from tesla to your own installer account and accept all of the caveats that come with that. The standard monitoring account doesn’t have access to create or modify a site map.
 
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