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  • Leak under panels

    I have a roof leak under my solar panels. I measured where it is leaking from inside the attic ,transferred the measurements outside and it lines up with close with a mounting point under a panel.

    I called Tesla and they said to get a roofing contractor in my area to send them a statement that the leak is related to the panel. Tesla also said that a contractor would be able to remove the panel and do the repair. They would not have to come and remove it. I asked if they had a list of contractors they work with and they said no ... to just call around.

    Is that correct? Seems like since they technically own the panels they would want to control who takes them off.

    Background: Installed around 2012 in Maryland. It was a 20 year prepaid PPA. I purchased the house about 3 years ago and everything was transferred to me.

  • #2
    What does the contract that you inherited say ? Read it, be persistant and get everyone's name as soon as they pick up the phone. Also, call the BBB if you get blown off.

    To my limited experience with SolarCity/Tesla, that sounds about typical for them. My experience with them over several of the contracts that they peddled off to homeowners in my HOA: Expect incompetence from everyone, don't expect to talk to the same person more than once, and don't expect professionalism from anyone there.

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    • #3
      The PPA makes it clear that they own the "system" & are responsible for any repairs to actual equipment. It also says that the system can only be removed & replaced "such as repairing the roof where the System is located" ... "pursuant to the limited warranty."

      The "Performance Guarantee and Limited Warranty" only guarantees the roof penetrations for a year. So I don't expected them to do anything about that. It is not quite as clear regarding panel removal in this type of situation. It mostly goes over how they are not responsible for lost production if the system is offline due to "roof repairs". The closest I could find is under "System Repair, Relocation or Removal" section that says "if (i) the system needs repairs that are not the responsibility of SolarCity, (ii) the system needs to be removed and reinstalled to facilitate remodeling of your Home, (iii) relocated to another home ...<SNIP> ... you will have Solar City, or another similarly qualified service provider perform such repairs, removal and re-installation

      I guess my biggest concern is Tesla owns the equipment & if I just get some contractor to do the work (remove, fix leak, replace) that SolarCity might shirk their responsibility later if something is wrong with the system.

      So anyway for now I will do as they asked and find a contractor who can do it. Get a quote / explanation of the needed repairs & send it to them. I called a few roofing companies last night & so far no luck. None of them wanted to get involved in removing the solar panels. I think one of the problems is that Tesla/SolarCity from what I can tell is no longer active in this area of Maryland.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by AeroEngy View Post
        The PPA makes it clear that they own the "system" & are responsible for any repairs to actual equipment. It also says that the system can only be removed & replaced "such as repairing the roof where the System is located" ... "pursuant to the limited warranty."

        The "Performance Guarantee and Limited Warranty" only guarantees the roof penetrations for a year. So I don't expected them to do anything about that. It is not quite as clear regarding panel removal in this type of situation. It mostly goes over how they are not responsible for lost production if the system is offline due to "roof repairs". The closest I could find is under "System Repair, Relocation or Removal" section that says "if (i) the system needs repairs that are not the responsibility of SolarCity, (ii) the system needs to be removed and reinstalled to facilitate remodeling of your Home, (iii) relocated to another home ...<SNIP> ... you will have Solar City, or another similarly qualified service provider perform such repairs, removal and re-installation

        I guess my biggest concern is Tesla owns the equipment & if I just get some contractor to do the work (remove, fix leak, replace) that SolarCity might shirk their responsibility later if something is wrong with the system.

        So anyway for now I will do as they asked and find a contractor who can do it. Get a quote / explanation of the needed repairs & send it to them. I called a few roofing companies last night & so far no luck. None of them wanted to get involved in removing the solar panels. I think one of the problems is that Tesla/SolarCity from what I can tell is no longer active in this area of Maryland.
        Thank you. Understood.

        A suggestion which may be unnecessary in your case: get all communications with the vendor in writing.

        Good luck on finding a contractor. Most roofers won't chance the liability involved with dealing with something they know little about and can make more money doing stuff that's more familiar to them. Also, most solar vendors know what scumbags SolarCity/Tesla is and won't touch their stuff.

        Not for you, and not a knock, but maybe for other's considering residential PV, your plight is another example of why it's probably and most of the time better to deal with established, local solar contractors.

        Good luck.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by AeroEngy View Post
          The PPA makes it clear that they own the "system" & are responsible for any repairs to actual equipment. It also says that the system can only be removed & replaced "such as repairing the roof where the System is located" ... "pursuant to the limited warranty."

          The "Performance Guarantee and Limited Warranty" only guarantees the roof penetrations for a year. So I don't expected them to do anything about that. It is not quite as clear regarding panel removal in this type of situation. It mostly goes over how they are not responsible for lost production if the system is offline due to "roof repairs". The closest I could find is under "System Repair, Relocation or Removal" section that says "if (i) the system needs repairs that are not the responsibility of SolarCity, (ii) the system needs to be removed and reinstalled to facilitate remodeling of your Home, (iii) relocated to another home ...<SNIP> ... you will have Solar City, or another similarly qualified service provider perform such repairs, removal and re-installation

          I guess my biggest concern is Tesla owns the equipment & if I just get some contractor to do the work (remove, fix leak, replace) that SolarCity might shirk their responsibility later if something is wrong with the system.

          So anyway for now I will do as they asked and find a contractor who can do it. Get a quote / explanation of the needed repairs & send it to them. I called a few roofing companies last night & so far no luck. None of them wanted to get involved in removing the solar panels. I think one of the problems is that Tesla/SolarCity from what I can tell is no longer active in this area of Maryland.
          I would document the conversation and then remove the panels to make the roof repair. I would take my sweet time putting them back like they have taken their time to respond. I know that is shooting yourself in the foot but it would get their attention by depriving them of revenue. After a few months it might be in their best interest to come out and replace the panels themselves. Of course I would research my options in terms of the agreement and the cost to you of the lost production. We are going into winter so it might be a good time especially to make a roof repair before further damage is done by the leak.
          Last edited by Ampster; 10-17-2019, 09:55 PM.

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