TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker and becoming a Supporting Member. For more info: Support TMC

Tesla / Solar City Horrible Yelp Reviews?? What is y'alls experience with their PV installs?

Discussion in 'Tesla Energy' started by who177e, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. who177e

    who177e Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2018
    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    Union City, CA
    Hi all

    We are really close to pulling the trigger on a PV system with Tesla (no powerwalls) but I have some major reservations.
    I love the look of their black panels with the edge skirts, something that other solar companies don't have. And my rep assures me that they can install before the end of the year to get it this tax year. (He also told me that PWs were available too.......so.......... But we decided we didn't need it and he agreed).

    However, communications with them is not the best. It takes way too long to get answers from them and my sales rep is a nice guy but just don't feel like he's on top of it.

    After looking at other solar companies on Yelp, many of them have 5 out of 5 star reviews however Tesla / Solar City has hundreds of awful reviews. I know that many of them have to do with leases and buying power from them, and issues with customer service and communication. However, I see many recent bad, local (SF bay area) reviews on their PV installs.
    Delays on installations, not passing inspections, damage to roofs, sales reps lying about time frame, and the list goes on and on.

    I wanted to see what your guys' experience was like with them on just the solar install end (no PW).
    The only place I've found good reviews for them was on YouTube but those are not in the northern California area. I have 2 other company's quotes that are similar cost range, and I feel like communications would be much better with them, but I know the final install product won't look as sexy (low profile with the skirts).

    I really want to feel good about going with Tesla on the PV install but am struggling given all the horrible reviews.

    https://www.yelp.com/biz/solarcity-san-mateo?osq=Solar+City+Tesla
     
    • Informative x 1
  2. Drax

    Drax Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2017
    Messages:
    263
    Location:
    United States
    I wouldn’t be concerned over the quality of the work, but realistically communication is Tesla’s biggest problem. Install times can drag out due to powerwall availability, but since you’re not going that route you should be fine for this year - you’ll need to move soon though, because the window will be closing soon.

    Ultimately, once everything is installed and turned on all of these stressors and annoyances simply won’t matter, and I’m confident you’ll be thrilled with the results. We have been!

    Btw - If you’d like to extend your solar warranty by 5 years for free, PM me and I’ll give you my referral code. =)
     
  3. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2016
    Messages:
    5,584
    Location:
    Palmdale, CA

    I used them to install solar and 2 Powerwalls. I would not recommend them.


    Communication was terrible. I signed my contract in Sept 2017 and was assured I would be installed by the end of the year. Found out in December after many calls to my sales rep, that March of 2018 was my actual install. I ordered the black on black panels. When the crew showed up, they had done a last minute substitution to the 325W white line panels. I complained and they agreed to fix my panels. That took an additional month to handle.

    The sales person implied strongly that I would be getting a Solar Edge system. I ended up with Delta string inverters. Since those weren’t in my contract like the panels, I couldn’t change those.

    I failed my city inspection and they had to come out again later to make the corrections. Considering how many solar installs they do, I would expect them to have more experience with various cities.

    It took Tesla 2 months to submit my PTO to my utility and when I would call, they assured me it was waiting on my utility. I finally called my utility and they said Tesla had not pushed the submit button on their online PTO submission tool. Called Tesla back and they pushed the submit button. 3 days later, I had my PTO. So every time I called previously to check the status with Tesla, they weren’t actually checking the status.

    After install, I noticed that one of my arrays wasn’t getting as much power as I expected. I called, and called, and called, and was brushed off numerous times. “Oh, your system is only performing 10% below our estimates. We don’t worry about it until it gets down to 50% (what!)” 5 months in, I finally got a customer care rep to look at my data and agree that maybe my system was not performing to spec and sent my case to tech support. Tech support called two days later after looking at my inverter data on their end and scheduled to come out. Turns out they had miswired a section of 6 panels, and I was not getting good performance. He spent two hours on my roof, but got it fixed. So unless your system is completely broken, you have a VERY hard time getting warranty support. I was to the point of paying another solar company to come out and diagnose and fix the problem, and just throwing Teslas warranty in the trash. Very frustrating.

    Everything is a battle with them if you have any problems. It is really unfortunate.


    Edit: and hold time for the support line are normally over an hour long. So calling anything in takes a huge time commitment. Emails to support just go to a black hole and are never responded to.
     
    • Like x 2
  4. Maximapolak

    Maximapolak Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2016
    Messages:
    663
    Location:
    North NJ / SouthCentral PA
    Even after reading this, I still may consider them for solar.
     
  5. Wubbles

    Wubbles Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2018
    Messages:
    99
    Location:
    NJ
    I'm in NJ (assuming you are too?) and signed my contract with Tesla Solar (no power wall) Went with their 325W panels since I care more about efficiency vs asthetics. Also pushed for them to get me SolarEdge inverters despite not having shade issues. Have it in writing too which is nice.

    My sales rep has been fantastic. Great communication on everything and extremely transparent. Hoping to get the system installed in November once all the permits clear. Happy to intro you to my sales rep if you drop me a PM.
     
  6. r0xx0r

    r0xx0r Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2016
    Messages:
    430
    Location:
    CA
    SoCal experience.
    1. From order request to site survey: one week.
    2. From a completed site survey to a design: one week.
    3. Changing design (3 times): one week.
    4. Final design to completed financial documents: one week.
    5. Panel upgrade: one week after.
    6. Solar install on the roof: two days after the panel was upgraded.
    7. City inspection: took two weeks. Had to changed the wire, moved the panel away from the gas-pipe, bigger service-line post.
    8. Utility inspection: surprisingly, LADWP came and installed the Net-Meter one day after the city inspection and they turned my system on.

    So it was a 2 months process for a 10kW system. I don't have Powerwalls in my design as I would delay everything until Q2-2019. I can't speak English well so I asked them contact me via SMS or email. They did.

    I only need to contact 2 guys, both of them gave me their direct cell phone number & always replied me instantly.
    1. The Energy Advisor - during the design phrase & question about the system.
    2. The Scheduling Specialist - financial stuff, scheduling the installation, inspection & everything else after the design phrase.

    At this point, I would give them 5 stars. Everything is really smooth & clearly described in every SMS/voicemail/email.

    The negative point is the support. Forget about calling them. My email to support/customercare is like throwing your emails into a blackhole.
     
    • Like x 1
  7. MorrisonHiker

    MorrisonHiker S 100D 2020.40.4

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2015
    Messages:
    8,586
    Location:
    Colorado
    I would give Tesla Energy 5 out of 5 stars as well. While it did take a while to get the ball rolling, a large part of that was because our utility limits the size of a solar system that can be installed. We had to keep going back and forth asking to increase the size of the system and providing documentation to support our request.

    There are a bunch of videos but here's the end of day 3:


    It did take two months to get PTO from our utility company. That wasn't Tesla's fault since we received an email from the utility right away and they said they had x number of days to install our meters. They met their deadline with an hour to spare...but then took another week before telling Tesla that we had PTO. We turned things once we got the meters installed but Tesla didn't officially show it as complete until a week later.
     
  8. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2016
    Messages:
    5,584
    Location:
    Palmdale, CA
    I would have done the same thing in your shoes. Just get everything you want in writing in the contract. And be willing to go the extra mile ro follow up yourself when progress is stalling.

    And triple check every word in the contract. I had several back and forths with the design team and wrong designs.
     
  9. patrick40363

    patrick40363 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2014
    Messages:
    1,116
    Location:
    Cali
    Check other companies in your area. There are plenty of companies that return phone calls and follow-up.
     
  10. who177e

    who177e Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2018
    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    Union City, CA
    @Wubbles I wish I was in NJ. I am in Northern California...
     
  11. who177e

    who177e Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2018
    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    Union City, CA
    Your videos are one of the videos on YouTube that are giving us hope that Tesla will do us right.

    I'm still not sure yet.......
     
    • Like x 1
  12. MX458Dave

    MX458Dave Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    Messages:
    141
    Location:
    Boulder
    Installed by Solarcity in 2012. I produce ~9MWh yearly. Not a single issue. Took a couple months with permits etc initially. Considering adding powerwalls now as insurance against blackouts etc.
     
    • Like x 1
  13. Bigtanuki

    Bigtanuki Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2016
    Messages:
    144
    Location:
    Atascadero, California
    We had solar installed by sunrun in 2015 followed in 2016 by Tesla/SolarCity installing 2 PW2 units. Based on an overview of many install reviews on this forum it seems like (surprise) install experiences are influenced heavily by the local organizations. We live on the central coast of California just up the road from the Paso Robles wine country.Ibelieve our service unit is based in the Fresno area. They did a fantastic job and I could not be more pleased with the powerwalls and their ntegration with our existing solar. The group's manager gave me his card so I could call direct and he has been very responsive to all my inquiries.
    The telephone customer support has been less than stellar. Ihad issues with the cooling system on both of my PW units ultimately requiring replacement of both units. Tesla support was difficult to convince that there was a problem. At first, clal backs were non-existent but there has been significant improvment in the last year. Getting Powerwall support to acknowledge that there was an actual problem took a lot of calls on my part but once the issue was confirmed resolution (unit replacement) was fairly quick.
    Here are a couple of takeaways:
    Check out local reviews and try to give them more weight than reviews for installation and service. These are the people that are going to do your actual physical work and local folks have a lot more at stake with their reputation. You will still end up dealing with Tesla support after install and commisioning because they will be the ones that can remotely access your data for troubleshooting purposes.
    When using phone support, be patient, persistent and don't get angry at the rep on the other end. Being a jerk won't get you faster results. Keep a log book of all your interactions with support including date, time, name of service rep, and details of the conversation. Referr to the record when you follow up. You would be surprised at how attentive folks can be when they know you will remember their name and your experience.
    Do your own troubleshooting. You don't have to be an engineer to figure out if you have a problem and what, if anything, you can do to get more data to feed the service reps. This forum is a treasure trove of serious solar and PW geeks that would love to help. Use those resources

    Lastly, if you are installing PW units, you are on the leading edge of a pretty small movement toward energy reliability and independance for you and your family. Early adoption usually has issues around service and support as the organization gets it's act together. I've seen tremendous improvement in Tesla support in the last 18 months and I'm hopeful it will continue to improve.

    "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity." - Hanlon's Razor
     
    • Like x 2
  14. cr0ntab

    cr0ntab Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2018
    Messages:
    79
    Location:
    Corona, CA
    I've been watching your saga since the beginning of this year, and it totally sucks man. I thought I was going to do poorly going with another installer but it seems like it was less painful in the end (albeit more money).

    I signed my contract in March, got my solar in May, Powerwalls in July, SGIP step 2 payment approved September (Check should be along any day now).

    While I did have to fight about some installation details with the powerwalls, for the most part it was mostly hands off.

    I certainly didn't have to fuss about the SGIP rebate like most have with Tesla.

    I am in your camp, I can't recommend Solar City/Tesla to any friends given all the headaches discussed on this forum.
     
    • Like x 1
  15. commasign

    commasign TeslaAdviceBlog.com

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2013
    Messages:
    3,202
    Location:
    Davis, CA
    Didn't get solar panels from Tesla, but got 4 Powerwalls. Everyone I've interacted with from their remote sales and support staff to the onsite installers and supervisors have been excellent. Still waiting for my SGIP check, but that's an SGIP/PG&E issue. Tesla SGIP support team has been excellent and have done everything and more on their end. They actually answer phones calls and respond to emails faster than Tesla automotive division. ;)
     

Share This Page

  • About Us

    Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.
  • Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


    SUPPORT TMC