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Whole Home Solar Roof + PowerWall - Backup Switch or Gateway?

Solar Tesla Roof Install - 15.6 KWH: Nov 9th - Nov 18th (Complete)
PowerWall+ x 2: Nov 19th (Not Complete)

Had a relatively smooth experience with the Roof Install (will find out when we have more rain...)

Fun started when the PowerWall+ team came out using designs made in June, but were updated in Nov (new PV 72W panels and Backup Switch with PG&E using PowerWall+ instead of BGW2). There was suppose to be a scheduled MPU since my panel's bus doesn't handle the load required, which I thought the Friday team was doing, but there was some confusion. They installed the PW's, but now I'm waiting on Tesla to sub-contract the MPU upgrade (2-3 weeks out due to component shortage), then the PW team can come back out and finish the work from connecting PW's to the main panel. My Project Advisor has been somewhat responsive, but I expect I will be going through a lengthly process here on out.

My question is:

They are pushing the Backup Switch, which looks clean and saves on the re-wiring/space. Bonus is since my panel is exactly 3ft from the gas line, other than like-for-like work, it would've likely required some suboptimal wire planing for PG&E to approve.

I'm wondering if anyone in the East Bay (specifically Dublin/Freemont) area has had any experiences with the Backup Switch & PG&E specifically? Does Tesla install the Backup Switch and PG&E come out later to tag, or do I have to wait for yet another appointment to have PG&E & Tesla come out and install the Backup Switch? Still on the fence to push back on the BSW on ask for a BGW2 if it will save me a lot of headaches (and time).

I don't plan to pay a single $1 (ok $101) until a PTO application is made and I have a working system and we pass final inspection, but I'm trying to gauge my own expectations re: timing.

Also, if anyone who's gone through this process have any tidbits on whom to contact (both at Tesla / PG&E) etc. please DM me.

Thx.
 

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What other have reported is that PG&E is "piloting" the backup switch. Whether that means if you went that way would get approval is anyone's guess. From what you describe though, Tesla is on an MPU upgrade path. If that is their call, I would go with it.

Bottom line: it is Tesla's issue. If they choose they backup switch and it doesn't get approval, then they need to do whatever it takes to make it right, which may (ok, will!) involve lots of calls by you to keep it moving forward. I am sorry that you are on the bleeding edge on this one, but I don't think that you can do much besides "fasten your seat belts" and endure the ride. I wouldn't wade into "X" vs "Y" on your install because then it becomes your call if the install goes sideways. Tesla proposed a system to you, and they are installing what they proposed, and frankly they are the experts at the table. If they want to go with "X", that is their call, and their win, or problem.

Given the uncertainties, I personally would not pay if there is any sort of regulatory snafu.

Good luck, and try to remember that this is a long term purchase / investment.

All the best,

BG
 
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BGW2 is your best bet if you want your system operational any time soon. I got lucky that I got in early on and had my backup switch installed two weeks after the PW install. I've heard there is a huge back log so I imagine it will take longer now. I am glad that I have the backup switch and the install is a lot cleaner and I can add loads to my setup without having to worry about the backup gateway. I imagine eventually backup switch will be standard for whole house backup.
 
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One would hope that after they install 100 or so Backup Switch units that PG&E will make it standard operating procedure for any PG&E field technician to handle like any other meter swap. Then the backlog can be cleared quickly.

That said, I don't expect it to happen any time soon. This is PG&E we're talking about...
I've resigned myself to the fact that it will be another 4-6 months before I get a working system. 3 months if I'm lucky.

As you point out, not only is it PG&E we're talking about, it's Tesla & City Permitting Inspections... will take a lot of patience and coordination.

I waited since March.. so what's another 6 months. And NEM 3.0 won't impact me much given I have a storage solution. *shrug*
 

miimura

Well-Known Member
Aug 21, 2013
7,373
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Los Altos, CA
I've resigned myself to the fact that it will be another 4-6 months before I get a working system. 3 months if I'm lucky.

As you point out, not only is it PG&E we're talking about, it's Tesla & City Permitting Inspections... will take a lot of patience and coordination.

I waited since March.. so what's another 6 months. And NEM 3.0 won't impact me much given I have a storage solution. *shrug*
One major obstacle will be getting clear status from Tesla about your project. You have the right to talk to the City about the status of your project from their perspective. The PG&E Solar Department will also give you the status from their perspective. You can usually pester Tesla based on the information from those entities to keep your project moving. However, none of that matters until the install is actually complete, including the main panel work.
 
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I've resigned myself to the fact that it will be another 4-6 months before I get a working system. 3 months if I'm lucky.

As you point out, not only is it PG&E we're talking about, it's Tesla & City Permitting Inspections... will take a lot of patience and coordination.

I waited since March.. so what's another 6 months. And NEM 3.0 won't impact me much given I have a storage solution. *shrug*
If it makes you feel any better, you can at least use your Solar while you wait for the Backup Switch to be installed. I am not sure if they connected everything for you, but I turned on my system a few times while waiting for my backup switch to charge my cars. The install process might have changed, but for me Tesla comes out and installs the switch behind the meter and PGE shows up afterwards to put the new tags on.
 
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If it makes you feel any better, you can at least use your Solar while you wait for the Backup Switch to be installed. I am not sure if they connected everything for you, but I turned on my system a few times while waiting for my backup switch to charge my cars. The install process might have changed, but for me Tesla comes out and installs the switch behind the meter and PGE shows up afterwards to put the new tags on.
Asked and tried :)

PW+‘s were mounted but nothing wired to/from inverters or to the main panel, waiting on main panel upgrade.
 
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One major obstacle will be getting clear status from Tesla about your project. You have the right to talk to the City about the status of your project from their perspective. The PG&E Solar Department will also give you the status from their perspective. You can usually pester Tesla based on the information from those entities to keep your project moving. However, none of that matters until the install is actually complete, including the main panel work.
I’m trolling city permits, and PG&E and will be on it. Tesla advisor is somewhat responsive but clearly someone who has to ask others for status/details. I got a lot of the contacts from the roof/pw workers (daily group DoorDash kept them fed, happy and built trust - great crew). But to your point, the MPU is the next milestone I’m keeping an eye on. Order has been placed for the panel apparently by the subcontractor.
 

holeydonut

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Jun 27, 2020
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East Bay NorCal
One would hope that after they install 100 or so Backup Switch units that PG&E will make it standard operating procedure for any PG&E field technician to handle like any other meter swap. Then the backlog can be cleared quickly.

That said, I don't expect it to happen any time soon. This is PG&E we're talking about...


What's amazing to me is how Tesla Energy is deploying the new backup/meter combo for non-beta-test installs without first getting it cleared with PG&E through some official/written acknowledgement.

Someone at Tesla thought it'd be a good idea to just start slapping in new tech knowing PG&E is one of the worst PoCo's in the USA with a "Greenbook" for their own energy rules that is like 700 pages long? What was this Tesla Product Executive expecting to happen? PG&E to suddenly go ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ and just overlook it?
 
What's amazing to me is how Tesla Energy is deploying the new backup/meter combo for non-beta-test installs without first getting it cleared with PG&E through some official/written acknowledgement.

Someone at Tesla thought it'd be a good idea to just start slapping in new tech knowing PG&E is one of the worst PoCo's in the USA with a "Greenbook" for their own energy rules that is like 700 pages long? What was this Tesla Product Executive expecting to happen? PG&E to suddenly go ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ and just overlook it?
Typical Tesla I guess. With the Backup Switch, I assume they can get more installs done to boost their numbers and then if they have to go back and switch it with a gateway later they can take their sweet time.
 

holeydonut

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Jun 27, 2020
3,367
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East Bay NorCal
They are pushing the Backup Switch, which looks clean and saves on the re-wiring/space. Bonus is since my panel is exactly 3ft from the gas line, other than like-for-like work, it would've likely required some suboptimal wire planing for PG&E to approve.


Is this measured square or radiused? I hope your tape measure is parallel to the ground and it's actually 36.1 inches or something. Since you and I are both in East Bay, there's a chance that you get the same PG&E line worker as me.

This one a-hole in particular is going to see your shiny new roof that he thinks harms PG&E's profits, see some cool new Powerwalls that he thinks harms PG&E's profits, and then make it his personal mission to absolutely take a dump on your project.
 
Is this measured square or radiused? I hope your tape measure is parallel to the ground and it's actually 36.1 inches or something. Since you and I are both in East Bay, there's a chance that you get the same PG&E line worker as me.

This one a-hole in particular is going to see your shiny new roof that he thinks harms PG&E's profits, see some cool new Powerwalls that he thinks harms PG&E's profits, and then make it his personal mission to absolutely take a dump on your project
Is this measured square or radiused? I hope your tape measure is parallel to the ground and it's actually 36.1 inches or something. Since you and I are both in East Bay, there's a chance that you get the same PG&E line worker as me.

This one a-hole in particular is going to see your shiny new roof that he thinks harms PG&E's profits, see some cool new Powerwalls that he thinks harms PG&E's profits, and then make it his personal mission to absolutely take a dump on your project.
Sorry to hear… 38.4 squared (parallel to ground). I measured it before I accepted the design after looking at PG&E green book. Still not out of the woods if there’s a need for a BGW2 then we’ll need to get creative with some conduits into the garage to access the utility panel.
Is this measured square or radiused? I hope your tape measure is parallel to the ground and it's actually 36.1 inches or something. Since you and I are both in East Bay, there's a chance that you get the same PG&E line worker as me.

This one a-hole in particular is going to see your shiny new roof that he thinks harms PG&E's profits, see some cool new Powerwalls that he thinks harms PG&E's profits, and then make it his personal mission to absolutely take a dump on your project.
Is this measured square or radiused? I hope your tape measure is parallel to the ground and it's actually 36.1 inches or something. Since you and I are both in East Bay, there's a chance that you get the same PG&E line worker as me.

This one a-hole in particular is going to see your shiny new roof that he thinks harms PG&E's profits, see some cool new Powerwalls that he thinks harms PG&E's profits, and then make it his personal mission to absolutely take a dump on your project.
Sorry to hear. Measured parallel to ground it’s 38.5”.

What happened re: your inspection/project?
 

holeydonut

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
3,367
2,771
East Bay NorCal
Sorry to hear… 38.4 squared (parallel to ground). I measured it before I accepted the design after looking at PG&E green book. Still not out of the woods if there’s a need for a BGW2 then we’ll need to get creative with some conduits into the garage to access the utility panel.


Sorry to hear. Measured parallel to ground it’s 38.5”.

What happened re: your inspection/project?


I made a couple threads about this…

TLDR PG&E sucks. You know they’re screwing with you when they have you researching explosion proof MSP enclosures, researching power control system restrictions, and researching insurance options to name PG&E as insured.


 
Our installation was completed in 11/4 with a backup switch (installed in separate box and not integrated with utility meter) and waiting on scheduling inspection. System is performing good and I am happy so far. However, called Tesla to find out status of inspection and they said they are waiting permit approval from city on modified site plan. I have checked with township and lady said a failed-permit due to backup switch and did not elaborate further (left voicemail to city electrician for more info but no response yet) . Anyone having a permit issue due to backup switch ?
 

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I’m in SOCAL and had my solar roof completed mid-September. Tesla installed a backup switch. The city finally signed off the inspection and I was told that PTO was requested. Nothing has happened to date - now 4 months since completion. My Tesla project manager is nowhere to be found and my emails are returned undeliverable. I spent hours trying to make phone contact and finally have someone in support working on the issue. I was advised yesterday that the backup switch will not be accepted by SCE and now I require a gateway. Not sure how that will work yet.
 
was advised yesterday that the backup switch will not be accepted by SCE and now I require a gateway. Not sure how that will work yet.
I have had two systems installed in SCE territory and two in PG&E and I have never had either of them even come out for a site visit. There has to be more to the story. Do you have any way to confirm what Tesla is telling you? SCE does have a department that should be able to answer you question about the status of your application?
If you installation includes a Powerwall, which could be inferred from the title, it could be a separate issue.
 
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