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Wierd First TE Appointment

Discussion in 'Tesla Energy' started by sjcsale, May 26, 2018.

  1. sjcsale

    sjcsale Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2018
    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I reached out to Tesla Energy for solar install. Finished the online formalities, sending them my utility bill etc.

    First the positives, rep was very courteous, polite and professional. He was sensitive to our tradition of not wearing shoes inside house.

    Though when we got talking about solar itself, I asked him questions about kind of panels and inverters. He had no clue of the types of inverters they use (if they are String or DC optimized or anything else). Well that's okay, maybe its too technical for initial contact. We went ahead with the conversation. He came up with a design with panels (showed me pictures of two Panasonic panels they use 315 W and 325 W). I asked him if there is efficiency dropped as temperature goes up and what kind of efficiency drop there is, again no clue. Well lets keep rolling. Showed me an initial estimate of a system with 6.125 kW capacity.

    Then came the time to schedule a site survey, but first "Please sign this Docusign" and either pay $500 deposit or let us run a credit check.

    I'm like, What?! I am Tesla customer. Tesla literally has my 60K for Model 3 (in TX we have pay before they ship the car, which I have already paid and don't have the car). Why a credit check for site survey, anyway I've frozen my credit (after Equifax issue). I live in a state where I have to pay to unfreeze, I am not willing to pay $40 to unfreeze just for site survey.
    I am also unwilling to pay $500 deposit for site survey. None of the competitors I have spoken with have had this requirement. It like calling a contractor for estimate and he asking a deposit before any work or estimate of work is done.

    What is Tesla up to with this approach?
     
  2. trmmcd

    trmmcd Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2015
    Messages:
    178
    Location:
    Arlington, MA
    I recently pursued getting a Powerwall to augment my existing solar system. I put down the $500 deposit after confirming it was refundable. Things started moving very quickly. They offered me the option of participating in a beta self site survey or scheduling a traditional on-site survey. I followed the beta route, but my system was complicated enough that they needed to come on-site anyway.

    The site survey was extremely complete and took a full hour. Even stair heights and doorways were measured along the route the battery would have to transit to get in the house, not to mention the extensive documentation of the existing electrical and solar system.

    Solar installations are quite involved and certainly adding a battery to an existing solar system is complex. I assumed that the are using the deposit to only make time investment in qualified leads given how extensive the evaluation needs to be. They also have demand well exceeding supply so they can afford to take this route for the time being.

    In comparison, I also had an evaluation for a gas generator. That actually had a longer lead time to get the initial appointment but it was also much simpler - just tie into my existing gas line and breakout some circuits on my electric panel. The survey took about 15 minutes.

    I ended up going with the Powerwall to avoid the noise of the weekly tests, the annual maintenance and the cost of fuel when it was in use and to better utilize my existing solar investment. It did cost an extra 2k. Lastly because of the supply demand problem I have no idea when it will be installed. I am hoping for this year.
     
  3. sjcsale

    sjcsale Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2018
    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    @trmmcd Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Mine is not a PowerWall install. I don't have solar right now. Just straight up solar panel install on the roof. Will not involve PW. I don't suppose solar capacity will go over usage too much. Does Tesla brand add so much more value over other local installers, that it lets them do a 500$ deposit? None of the competitors do this.

    I did pay $1000 deposit for M3 and waited for 2 years - but, that's different - there is no other competitor in that category. Solar, is not the same case.
     
  4. trmmcd

    trmmcd Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2015
    Messages:
    178
    Location:
    Arlington, MA
    The Powerwall seemed to be the best value for batteries. I talked to the company that originally installed my solar and the battery alternatives to Tesla were not very good.

    As for a solar install, I have done two solar installs - not with Tesla - and it is always quite involved. Engineers need to evaluate the structural integrity of your roof, there are permits that are required and substantial coordination with your power company for inter connects and town inspections are required. One of my installs was delayed because the local fire department insisted on cut off switches on the roof adjacent to the solar panels which became another regulation that need to be fulfilled. I was quite surprised at how involved it is.

    I hear your frustration though- but from a business perspective - I think it may make sense to insure that customers are serious before committing to the engineering work to develop a fully qualified cost estimate.

    If you are just looking for solar panels - not a solar roof - I would definitely get several quotes to identify the best alternative. A good installer will be very knowledgeable about local and federal tax incentives which end up being an important element of cost. Before I did my last solar install - I included Solar City (before the Tesla acquisition) in the bidding and was not impressed with the cost or the response. My interaction with Tesla on the Powerwall has been much more organized and positive.
     

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