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Tesla Energy Solar + 2 Powerwall Install SoCal

Az_Rael

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Jan 26, 2016
5,673
8,973
Palmdale, CA
After a very long wait, we finally had the crews out to install our solar and 2 Powerwall units yesterday and today. Process via Tesla Energy was not trouble free as the panels they installed today weren't the panels we asked for. We wanted the black/black 315W panels but ended up with a last minute substitution to the 325W white lines panels. They went ahead and finished the install and will schedule a new date to come swap out the panels. Sigh. At least they owned up immediately to the problem and didn't fight us at all about fixing it. Powerwall install went smooth with no issues. Showed up in my App and we could see the status immediately while they tested it. Will have to wait now for our inspection before turning the system on for real.

I thought I would share some photos of the install for those still waiting or considering Tesla Energy.

Here is the racking system that went up yesterday:
LRM_EXPORT_20180313_144925.jpg



Here is the 325W panels installed on our South roof:
20180314_143532_s.jpg



Here are both arrays (South and East)
DJI_0030.jpg


East roof array:
DJI_0006-2.jpg



Total system size with the 315W panels will be 11.34 kW with 36 total panels.


And here is the Powerwall and all solar equipment install in our garage:
20180314_143451.jpg



Looking forward to getting our permission to operate!!
 

Az_Rael

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Jan 26, 2016
5,673
8,973
Palmdale, CA
How did you get those nicely distanced and height pictures? Did you climb a ladder?

I fired up my drone for a couple of them. We do have a slope on the south end of the property and I took the South roof shot from there.

Would have gotten better drone photos, but the wind was blowing a good 20mph and the poor little Spark was have a hard time of it. I should have gotten out my Phantom ;)
 
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Az_Rael

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Jan 26, 2016
5,673
8,973
Palmdale, CA
What did your system cost before & after tax credit & rebates?

Before it was $52k for everything. After the federal tax credit, the cost will be $36,400. IF I get into Step 3 of the SGIP (I am on Tesla’s waitlist), I think my final cost will be just over $28k. I am considering the SGIP a huge gamble right now, though.

Without the SGIP my payback time on the system based on our power bills is 7.5 years. With the SGIP payback is a hair under 6 years. I am pretty happy with those numbers either way. Without the Powerwalls, we could have had a much shorter payback, so I am doing them more for the backup and “cool new tech” factor than I am anything else, honestly.
 
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Nice photos with the drones. It nice that you had blocks of roof space without any penetrations like vent pipes (which should be moved in my opinion). On my install I had the conduit run thru the attic instead of going over the ridge instead of exposing some 30 ft of conduit. Very neat setup for a finished garage. I am curious what other wall outlets were needed. Did you go full Wi-Fi for the solar and PW? I see you have a Rachio (off-topic) do you recommend it?
 

MorrisonHiker

Well-Known Member
Moderator
Mar 8, 2015
10,486
10,436
Colorado
Eek. Glad I saw your post. We had assumed the 325 watt panels were black/black. Do you know if they also have black/black 325 watt panels?

I noticed you have the "skirt" on the bottom. Are they going to install it along the sides as well?

Also, can you confirm that's currently an 11.7 kW system but it was supposed to be 11.34 kW?

Guess we'll have to give them a call to discuss.
 
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BrokerDon

Active Member
Aug 23, 2014
1,429
1,355
Newport Coast, CA
Before it was $52k for everything. After the federal tax credit, the cost will be $36,400. IF I get into Step 3 of the SGIP (I am on Tesla’s waitlist), I think my final cost will be just over $28k. I am considering the SGIP a huge gamble right now, though.

Without the SGIP my payback time on the system based on our power bills is 7.5 years. With the SGIP payback is a hair under 6 years. I am pretty happy with those numbers either way. Without the Powerwalls, we could have had a much shorter payback, so I am doing them more for the backup and “cool new tech” factor than I am anything else, honestly.

Sounds like a great pricing! 36 x 325W = 11.7kW system + 2 PowerWalls for $4.44/kW before tax credits. What was your pre-solar power bill in $$$ and kW? I'm guessing in Palmdale your ACs burn a lot if kW, especially during the day when electric rates on at expensive "On-Peak" rates.
 

Az_Rael

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Jan 26, 2016
5,673
8,973
Palmdale, CA
Nice photos with the drones. It nice that you had blocks of roof space without any penetrations like vent pipes (which should be moved in my opinion). On my install I had the conduit run thru the attic instead of going over the ridge instead of exposing some 30 ft of conduit. Very neat setup for a finished garage. I am curious what other wall outlets were needed. Did you go full Wi-Fi for the solar and PW? I see you have a Rachio (off-topic) do you recommend it?

They said we could run the conduit through the attic, but the installers didn't recommend that since it would add roof penetrations. We opted to go with the fewer roof holes option. You can't really see it except with the drone or standing on the slope on the edge of my yard.

As far as other outlets, they needed one regular outlet in the garage for the power line adapter to hook into our network, and then another by the router for the other end of the power line adapter. (they prefer that over wifi - if you can get Ethernet to the garage, that is best).

The Rachio is great! Love being able to turn on zones with my phone when troubleshooting my system, or turning off or adjusting the sprinklers while away because I forgot or whatever. I don't fully use all the smart features of it, but it has been very reliable and was worth it for me.

Eek. Glad I saw your post. We had assumed the 325 watt panels were black/black. Do you know if they also have black/black 325 watt panels?


I noticed you have the "skirt" on the bottom. Are they going to install it along the sides as well?

Also, can you confirm that's currently an 11.7 kW system but it was supposed to be 11.34 kW?

Guess we'll have to give them a call to discuss.

They do not have black/black at 325W. The black/black is the 315W panels only right now.
The skirt is only on the bottom. I am guessing all of Tesla's marketing photos are taken at that angle on purpose.

I haven't confirmed the system size, not sure if there will be a way to do that once it's powered up?

Sounds like a great pricing! 36 x 325W = 11.7kW system + 2 PowerWalls for $4.44/kW before tax credits. What was your pre-solar power bill in $$$ and kW? I'm guessing in Palmdale your ACs burn a lot if kW, especially during the day when electric rates on at expensive "On-Peak" rates.

Pre-solar power bill was around $400/month. I don't have my kWh numbers anymore, but Tesla estimates the 11.34kW system is sized for 83% of my usage. I will say Tesla tends to oversize the systems with their bids. They started us with like a 14kWh system I think because they don't account for how netmetering is used to your advantage with credits accumulated during the day rates being used at night. So I did my own sizing calcs and told them how big I wanted the system. All the other contractors bid a size similar to what I calculated, so I feel pretty confident that Tesla was over estimating.
 
As far as other outlets, they needed one regular outlet in the garage for the power line adapter to hook into our network, and then another by the router for the other end of the power line adapter. (they prefer that over wifi - if you can get Ethernet to the garage, that is best).
Thanks for pointing out the power line adapter option, and sharing what the pecking order was for connecting the gateway to the internet. Up until now, I automatically assumed cellular to be the preferred method requiring least customer involvement.
Pre-solar power bill was around $400/month. I don't have my kWh numbers anymore, but Tesla estimates the 11.34kW system is sized for 83% of my usage. I will say Tesla tends to oversize the systems with their bids. They started us with like a 14kWh system I think because they don't account for how netmetering is used to your advantage with credits accumulated during the day rates being used at night. So I did my own sizing calcs and told them how big I wanted the system. All the other contractors bid a size similar to what I calculated, so I feel pretty confident that Tesla was over estimating.
Good pricing. You may be one of the few that received a "packaged deal" often touted but often not a reality. Good to hear that contractors are using calculators (spreadsheets) that account for time-of-use. For me these days, simply replacing a light bulb to LED throws off my calculations more than sharpening up my homegrown spreadsheet. When the PWs are installed, I will have handsome surplus credit to allocate towards more EV miles and possibly reducing natural gas use.
 

Az_Rael

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Jan 26, 2016
5,673
8,973
Palmdale, CA
Good pricing. You may be one of the few that received a "packaged deal" often touted but often not a reality

Tesla's first bid was much higher. When I got solar bids from other companies for basically the same system (Panasonic 325W or 315W b/b panels), Tesla then offered to come down in price and gave me a "best offer" if I would sign with them. The Tesla no negotiation pricing doesn't apply to the solar side, so just like any other home project getting multiple bids helped me a lot.

EnergySage was where I started when getting bids. Ended up with several bids from very reputable local solar contractors.
 

SD_Engnr

Active Member
Mar 24, 2016
1,836
1,521
San Diego
Tesla's first bid was much higher. When I got solar bids from other companies for basically the same system (Panasonic 325W or 315W b/b panels), Tesla then offered to come down in price and gave me a "best offer" if I would sign with them. The Tesla no negotiation pricing doesn't apply to the solar side, so just like any other home project getting multiple bids helped me a lot.

EnergySage was where I started when getting bids. Ended up with several bids from very reputable local solar contractors.

I can attest to their pricing strategy. I gave them a comparable quote, and they beat it quite easily.

If it weren't for their long lead time (6-8 weeks for the Solar install, and 4 months for the Powerwall), I would go with Tesla. However, I've already missed out on the first 4 steps of SGIP (!), and don't want want to leave the last $2900 on the table. (Coupled with their less than stellar reviews, I'm passing...)

How long did you have to wait for everything?
 

Az_Rael

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Jan 26, 2016
5,673
8,973
Palmdale, CA
How long did you have to wait for everything?

We signed at the end of Sept 2017. It will take another 2-3 weeks to get our correct panels, then the city inspection after that. I figure another month before we are given permission to operate.

Now I just have to hope I get into Step 3, which I think I was at the tail end of when we signed the contract.
 
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Az_Rael

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Jan 26, 2016
5,673
8,973
Palmdale, CA
Had our panels swapped today! Had some issues with the inspection, so we will have to have one more visit by the city to finalize our install before we can turn the system on. I think the black on black looks way better and I am glad we switched even though we do lose some efficiency.

It was a little calmer today, so I was able to get the drone up higher for a better overview shot.

DJI_0053.jpg


Here is the new south facing array:
DJI_0044.jpg


And the larger east facing one:
DJI_0031.jpg
 
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