Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

Venting about my Tesla Energy Solar + 2 PW install issues

Az_Rael

Supporting Member
Jan 26, 2016
5,635
8,816
Palmdale, CA
Gah, I am so frustrated right now!! I have a full solar system plus 2 powerwalls sitting pretty in my garage ready to go for 4.5 weeks and I just found out they forgot to push the "send" button on the PTO request to my utility. Oops.

From what I can see Tesla Energy is an unorganized mess. I feel a bit suckered right now for signing with them when I knew Solar City was not known as a good installer. I foolishly trusted the Tesla name.

Here is my saga:
  • September 2017: Sign contract with TE for solar plus 2 Powerwalls. Assured that they DO have plenty of Powerwalls in stock. Thought at the time we might be able to get the job done before the end of the year for the tax credit.
  • Over the next few weeks have to sign multiple copies of documents because they keep getting them wrong and have to have me re-do them. My sales advisor would tell me one thing, documents would arrive from engineering with different numbers, etc. Right hand not knowing what the left was doing. Each correction usually took several days to sort out.
  • Wait weeks for my permit. Call the building department myself and find out TE had to do a re-design of my plans and had to resubmit. Awesome. I am not their first PW install in my city, but whatever. Permits finally get approved.
  • In December after calling many times to find out when we would be scheduled we find out that "oh, there was no way you could get your system installed this year even though you signed in September. We are looking at March 2018 as the earliest". I would have made a different choice on signing if this had been made clear to me in September (all the other installers were telling me they could do it by December). Too late now.
  • March rolls around and its finally install day! They show up with the WRONG panels. We had ordered the black/black 315W panels and they showed up with the white line 325W panels due to a last minute unauthorized substitution. Tesla Energy is apologetic and says they will get us the correct panels.
  • Two and a half weeks later, we get the new install date for the correct panels and they will do the city inspection that same day. Great! Panels arrive and are correct, but we ended up not passing the city inspection. Sigh. another delay.
  • Next available date after they fix the inspection issues is another two weeks away. We are now in mid-April. Finally pass inspection. Tesla Energy tells me they submitted the PTO paperwork on the 18th of April and my utility has a 4-5 week turnaround. OK, that sucks, but it is what it is. I get a few updates over the next few weeks from MySolarCity that they have checked on the status of my PTO and it is still in work.
  • 4.5 weeks later, I decide to check in with the utility myself to see where it is in the queue. They look into it, and tell me Tesla Energy hasn't sent them the documents yet (!!) I call TE to see. TE says: we did send the documents and got confirmation in April, but we can't follow up until the 5 weeks have passed. So I call SCE back to find out exactly what is missing. SCE tells me that TE has put the documents in the online system, but didn't push the "send" button to push them over. Call TE back. The sales rep says - oh, I see they submitted that "just 2 minutes ago". So apparently the story I got the first time I called and all the status updates I had been getting were all wrong. More delays. So now I am STARTING my clock with the utility. Hope it doesn't take another 4 weeks.
And that is where I am today. I have had 2 Powerwalls sitting at 25% charge turned off in my garage since March 14th. At first I was worried that all these delays might be bad for the batteries, but frankly, I don't care anymore. Tesla Energy can replace them if they turn out to have been damaged by all the delays once we finally get our PTO.

I will say Tesla Energy is always very apologetic when these issues have been found and they have always agreed to correct the errors. But the errors just KEEP happening, so it just gets very tiresome. My next hurdle is to make sure my SGIP application actually gets submitted and/or for them to tell me WHERE I am in the queue, which they have so far refused to do. The customer service rep was apologetic (as usual) and they are supposed to be looking into that for me. We will see how that goes.


Sorry for the wall of text. Anyway - I hope this helps anyone who is thinking about signing with TE. You have to keep track of the whole process yourself every step of the way and you can't trust the status updates you get from them. Very unfortunate and at this point I can only hope our next 20 years of warranty service aren't also riddled with these same issues.
 

M32Mars

Member
May 14, 2018
17
15
North Bay
I had a very similar story that unfolded in nearly the same manner about one year earlier. It took forever to finally get them up and running, but I thought that was because I was one of the first PW2 installed in the country. It is disheartening to hear that they are still suffering the same issues. From what I have found, the people in the field are incredible, but the organization in the office is terrible...

The only good news I have for you is that once its up and running, its great and the best news is going to come year after year as the utilities keep jacking up their prices and our $aving$ start really showing!
 
  • Helpful
Reactions: Az_Rael

SD_Engnr

Active Member
Mar 24, 2016
1,836
1,493
San Diego
Sorry to hear your about your frustrating experience! It is for this reason alone I paid a little extra to go with a different installer but same components as Tesla quoted. Signed March 29th, installed April 20-21, signed off by inspector on 4/23, approved by utility on 5/9. System has been up and running since 4/23 and it's been great. No doubt you'll feel the same once it's generating power.
 

Az_Rael

Supporting Member
Jan 26, 2016
5,635
8,816
Palmdale, CA
Sorry to hear your about your frustrating experience! It is for this reason alone I paid a little extra to go with a different installer but same components as Tesla quoted. Signed March 29th, installed April 20-21, signed off by inspector on 4/23, approved by utility on 5/9. System has been up and running since 4/23 and it's been great. No doubt you'll feel the same once it's generating power.

Yeah, the installer I really wanted to use was out of powerwalls and wasn't sure they would get any in time to get the SGIP. I think they did end up getting some this year, so that would have been a better choice in the end.
 

NuShrike

Member
Nov 13, 2017
459
193
SoCal
Looking at the NEM spreadsheet (CaliforniaDGStats), SCE generally has an average one-day+ turnaround after documents are submitted via PowerClerk. Never let your "contractor" control the process is what I keep learning.

I had issues with a different installer where they couldn't coordinate the stucco repair, after power-panel upgrade, with the city-inspectors (city didn't need to look at the lathing). So instead of waiting for the contractor to continue scheduling city-inspections that would fail (because I emailed the city-inspector and asked directly), I went 3rd party to get the stucco done. The installer was still pushing around blame and spent a week trying to figure out how to modulate their inflexible internal process that required a lath-inspect pass step. I got it done while they were still figuring out. Even signed paperwork to say I will take "responsibility" if it failed inspection -- it didn't because I talked to the city-inspector beforehand. Of course they never reimbursed me for not actually performing the stucco work, but I'm much happier it was done quicker with another contractor that specializes in stucco, sealing, and painting.

Then, I set up the inspection appointment (first) with the city myself, and pushed it all the way through dragging my installer along the way. I was already in the SCE system to fill out the forms and ready to submit the paperwork. I just needed the installer to pass me the city signed-off paperwork. Again, they were trying to push me in with 10kW+ paperwork instead of the proper < 10 kW CEC-AC value that SCE short-lists for fast-track approvals, as SCE has publicly documented and I'd Googled. Again, I had to take responsibility if the paperwork failed, and then they finally submitted it themselves. PTO was 1-day+ as I expected, and not the 2 weeks they quoted.

If I didn't keep kicking them every day about it, it would've taken 2 weeks+ as "quoted". So, it pays to keep on top of the process yourself, to make sure your contractor isn't slacking, or "doing it badly". You'd assume they should know processes better as it's their "one job", but they're probably overloaded with different jobs/tasks that prevents them from giving things the personal TLC that only you can really give.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: Az_Rael

Rockster

Active Member
Oct 22, 2013
3,010
4,617
McKinney, TX
Very similar to my story. I got so frustrated with TE that I shopped around and ended up saving $1.30/watt on a 10k system by canceling with TE and going with someone else. Their installation was fast and flawless. They met every deadline and caused zero frustration. I don’t have the powerwalls I wanted but I’ll add those later.

I really wanted to keep it in the family and give TE the $$$ but between the endless frustrations and saving $13k, I had to go elsewhere.
 

rw99

Member
Jul 11, 2017
72
31
Bay Area
OP, you’re confident that you’ll receive the SGIP? I chickened out, because I REALLY don’t want to get stuck with full cost for two Powerwalls.

I’m midway through my own install, and I’d say it’s been a similar experience. Clearly, leadership in the TE organization is ineffective at achieving a coordinated execution of the product delivery. Yes: there are many moving parts... it’s complex. But that should be invisible to the customer.

One thing I’ve noticed: when the site survey isn’t performed by the guys doing the work, there will likely be issues. It’s predictable, really.
 

Michael_R

Member
Mar 31, 2018
6
0
Las Vegas, NV
just adding my two cents, much of the posts represent my experience. Excellent field crew. Terrible customer service. Have a bad powerwall now waiting for a replacement. Thanks to this forum i have answers. Tesla Customer Service(ha) told me nothing. I will say NV Energy in Nevada was much more communicative then Tesla.
 

FoothillGuy

Member
Apr 24, 2018
7
5
California
Got our PTO today!!! Will be firing up the system when I get home from work!

So the whole 4-5 week SCE approval time appears to be incorrect, thankfully. Glad we are finally through this stage.
AWESOME! I am in a similar boat and TE and my utility are going back and forth on installation issues. I hope to get a PTO soon :)
 

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
Top