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Solar Panel Skirts require a proprietary tool

SolarBob

Member
Apr 1, 2021
9
1
Northern California
My 44 panel, 2 PW system was installed in Dec 2020. About two months ago I lost 1/2 of solar generation because I noticed one the inverters was not producing power.

Finally, after too much effort on my part Tesla sent someone to help me 2 months after I contacted them about my issue.

The Tesla service rep checked the inverter which was good, however on the roof where the wire connected to 42 of my panels wire was damaged by pests.

So he took pictures, and off he went, told me to contact Tesla again for repair, support.

Because I did not want to have to wait another two months for service, I asked on of my local experts on solar to look at it.

They reported they could see the wire damage, very minor, easy to fix, but could NOT REMOVE THE SKIRT to fix the wires. It required a proprietary tool.

They also reported that although almost all the cable was in conduit, this small area where the wire was exposed was the problem.

This is crazy. You are trapped with Tesla service with the proprietary nature of their equipment and install process.

Now I still do not have power on half my system. After 4 calls to service yesterday finally got an appointment 2 weeks from now to repair.

I am very concerned about Tesla's ability to service their customers, especially me.

I guess I will have to put pest abatement screen around the panels, more expense, but unavoidable.

Tesla should have fixed this months ago. Tesla should have made sure all the exposed wire was in conduits. Tesla should have recommended pest screening at time of install.

I like their stuff. I like Tesla as a company. All the people I talk to try to be helpful, but they need to fix this service issue.

Comments?
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
7,856
8,696
Riverside Co. CA
What comments are you looking for, beside "I am sorry it took that long for them to fix, and you are right that they need to do better on the service end"? (both of which I mean, btw).
 
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Electrph

Member
Aug 29, 2019
278
161
Central California
Is it possible it was just one of the many new configurations like a torx bit (looks like star) or square bit? If so, those bits are available at most hardware stores.
i agree with this ... i have seen so many different types of bits etc .. hard to believe tesla would truly have used a proprietary bit / fastener .. perhaps something just not seen before by the solar person you used ?
 
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cobra

Member
Feb 8, 2021
125
22
Lansdale, PA, USA
Yes, would be great to see a picture. I'm curious as well. Are there any at ground level you could snap a picture of? (Maybe not if it's just on the panel skirts...)
 

SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
8,894
9,494
SF Bay Area
When you buy a solar system from a company you are buying their warranty repair service as part of the deal. Unless or until warranty is up or they go bankrupt. In the latter case there are solar maintance companies out there (seen them listed online in the SFBay area) that you would contract with. Some operate under a contract and might do individual jobs but not sure. We have a neighbor who bought a system who’s installing company went belly up.

Too bad you didn’t see the threads on here about pest abatement. We did right before our install and was able to add it as an extra service contract with them. Not everyone feels or has the need for the screening and there are companies out there that install pest abatement screening on solar panels, chimneys, vents etc. Our install team had one person who had done the installation before and was teaching his teammates how to do it. This was back in late August/early Sept. and not something Tesla advertises as a service.

My guess is they weren’t fully equipped to add this service back then, and I see their main goal as working through the backlog of solar installs they had so people got hooked up for summer and had power for PWs in case of PSPS. We have 24 panels split over 2 roof sections, and not uniformly placed, and it took probably most of a day’s time to do it all.

Back to servicing the panels, I’m not sure if you had someone else do another company's warranty work whether if something went wrong you’d void your warranty. The panels we had installed (q-cell 340s) are meant to work with the Zep Solar mounting. The array skirts are part of their system. Zep was I think designed, patented and owned by Solar City that was acquired by Tesla, so all inhouse materials now. Not surprised the system has specialty tools for installation.
 

SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
8,894
9,494
SF Bay Area
There’s a Zep Solar System II PV Install Manual on line that might help identify parts. Page 7 shows the two custom tools used in the install.
 

SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
8,894
9,494
SF Bay Area
Like the cars, a hot in demand product and as they have been expanding this year and gearing up not enough service staff so longer wait times.
 

SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
8,894
9,494
SF Bay Area
On page

I found a reference to a Torx T30 on page 14. Perhaps a different page but worth a try.

I saw that but it said it was for adjusting the height of the Leveling Foot.

There are also videos on you tube showing installation but I suspect you need that hammer-like Zep Tool to move panels. From the manual:

A25605FB-8C0C-405F-911A-39AF8FA86BB1.jpeg
 
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Vines

Active Member
Jul 20, 2018
1,859
2,145
Silicon Valley, CA
If the Zep tool is what they used it is hard to find. I have one but couldn't let it leave my sight.

If its the narrow one you can make it from flat bar but its a bit of a pain.
 

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