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  • Tesla solar panels

    After recent price drops (which the local companies I called won't even come close to) of $2.65/watt before all incentives, is it worth considering Tesla Energy for solar panel installation? Does anyone have recent experience?

    I know Solarcity has horrible reviews, but from reading them a lot of them seem to have to do with leasing "scams" and misleading sales pitches. With their new sales model all of that element appears to have been removed from the process.

  • #2
    If you believe things at SolarCity/Tesla have changed, I've got bridges for sale. See David Robinson's columns in the Buffalo News for the shenanigans going on that the NY financed $750 million plant is doing. It's B.S. as usual. They've also just revealed a plan to "slash" prices and sell 4 kW (STC I'm assuming) for $2.85/W before fed. rebate, which BTW, is about or close to the national average per STC W these days. They will sell in 4 kW increments and do so with some customer involvement such as photos of meters and roofs. I don't see that coming to a good end.

    As for the roof tiles, no price cut on them. They're still planning on being about 2X the price of a standard panel. Also, the production of the roof tile panels has been delayed again to "some future date". Still not ready for prime time 2 1/2 years after a flashy Hollywood rollout. So don't hold your breath and have deep pockets and a lot of hope and faith when that turkey finally does get released.

    Anyone who knows anything about SolarCity/Tesla and their B.S. won't go near their products. I've not seen anything that would change my mind on them. About the only thing different in their "new sales model" model is that the B.S. is greater than before. It's more of the P.T. Barnum model.
    Last edited by J.P.M.; 05-04-2019, 12:04 PM.

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    • #3
      Tesla is offering 8 and 12 kW systems for $2.5 a watt which is very competitive and Tesla taking out a lot of the hassling from the process for consumers but offer a fixed price. Hopefully other residential solar panel firms become equally transparent.

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      • #4
        Wow, that's a good price. Presumably this is with house brand panels (aka Panasonic Light from Buffalo, NY). I wonder what inverter they are offering.

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        • #5
          Tesla's price is $2.5 per watt in Pennsylvania and $2.85 in California. Tesla's panels are black and low price, but I'm not sure what kind of inverters they use.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by funguy11 View Post
            Tesla's panels are black and low price, but I'm not sure what kind of inverters they use.
            Tesla doesn't make PV modules. They resell Panasonic Black on Black PV modules which are slightly less efficient than the current Panasonic PV modules available to others.
            OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

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            • #7
              The agent I spoke to told me that they use whatever panels are available in the warehouse, and they usually use fronius inverters if no shading and solar edge with optimizer if there is shading. I was told that recent systems mostly use the Tesla/Panasonic panels. The agent told me that the equipment is specified in the final contract (before any real $$ is due) and that after the point they will not switch equipment without customer permission. I was told that if possible they will use the equipment a customer requests if it means closing the sale. There is only a $99 deposit that is fully refundable before equipment is specified so not a huge risk to at least see what they are offering. They also offer a production guarantee with payouts if the system underperforms...most solar companies I have talked to refuse to provide that. There is also the concern that many of the local companies will not be around to honor their 25 year labor warranties...while Tesla will at least be around to financially honor them even if they exit the solar panel business.
              Last edited by malba2366; 05-04-2019, 05:45 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by malba2366 View Post
                The agent I spoke to told me that they use whatever panels are available in the warehouse, and they usually use fronius inverters if no shading and solar edge with optimizer if there is shading. I was told that recent systems mostly use the Tesla/Panasonic panels. The agent told me that the equipment is specified in the final contract (before any real $$ is due) and that after the point they will not switch equipment without customer permission. I was told that if possible they will use the equipment a customer requests if it means closing the sale. There is only a $99 deposit that is fully refundable before equipment is specified so not a huge risk to at least see what they are offering. They also offer a production guarantee with payouts if the system underperforms...most solar companies I have talked to refuse to provide that. There is also the concern that many of the local companies will not be around to honor their 25 year labor warranties...while Tesla will at least be around to financially honor them even if they exit the solar panel business.
                Believe as you wish but your points and more about SolarCity/Tesla have been brought up here and addressed for at least the 5+ years I've been around here.

                1.) You believe anything a peddler tells you ? Especially a SolarCity/Tesla peddler ? What you write about what you've been told with respect to equipment selection sounds pretty open ended anyway.
                2.) Most reputable vendors will tell you what equipment they intend to use. Anyone ignorant enough to not care is leaving themselves open to trouble.
                3.) Production guarantees are pretty standard as a sales tool used by most all vendors. They are of little use, mean less, and are for the most part impossible to use as a warranty claim for production shortfalls. The production bars are so low with so many exclusions you'll trip over them. I sincerely suggest you read a warranty claim and then reread it after you learn and understand what all the terms used in them mean. For many reasons, production warranties are a cynical joke and useless. The solar ignorant think they offer some protection. They (the production warranties) do not.
                4.) Tesla may be around in 25 years but I kind of doubt it, at least not in its current iteration. To me, and for a lot of reasons, they're too leaky a vessel sailed by a yahoo captain to put much faith in.

                5.) Something anecdotal: And this isn't a plug for Baker - just an example of one top vendor in my area (Baker) both sells and leases PV equipment. (A bit off topic - I wanted them to do my system based on the quality I observed them to be capable of, but their price was ~ 10 % higher than I wanted to pay.) They have ~ 11 leases in my HOA. All the Baker leases use Sunpower equipment and Sunpower leases. The average price for those leases is $0.02352/month per leased STC watt. SolarCity has leases of mongrel equipment put in by subcontractors who use labor that was probably roaming around the Big Box parking lot that morning. The average monthly payment for those leases is $.023693/month per leased STC watt. So, another example of how local quality beats the big national brands all the way around - price and quality. Baker's also been around a lot longer than SolarCity.

                6.) More anecdotal: The only PV system the HOA has forced removal of was a Solar City system. I was a mess, in gross violation of the CC & R's and ARC guidelines, and the elderly mark was getting blatantly screwed. For starters, the system was under some trees.

                7.) I appreciate selling PV is cut throat, but SolarCity has been about the most difficult, most unprofessional and IMO, most unethical of the 23 vendors I've dealt with in the 11 years I've been reviewing PV installs for my HOA. FWIW, the other big nationals, Vivant and Sun Run aren't far behind.

                Take what you want of the above. Scrap the rest.

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                • #9
                  The agents aren't really peddlers anymore... you have to order online and the agents are there just to provide info. They don't get commissions... I think that's part of the cost savings.

                  They will specify the equipment on the system design...no money besides a $99 refundable deposit is needed before then.

                  I would like to use a local company, but my main concern is that they can not survive to honor their warranties if they can't beat Tesla on price. Now that Tesla has made their pricing crystal clear they can't use the traditional arduous process to get a quote that is typical in the home improvement industry.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by malba2366 View Post
                    The agents aren't really peddlers anymore... you have to order online and the agents are there just to provide info. They don't get commissions... ....
                    Yes many things have changed since Tesla acquired Solar City. It is now part of Tesla Energy which also sells Powerwalls. They no longer do PPAs. Their cars are outselling BMW, Audi & MB in their segment. I believe they will be around fo a while or be acquired.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ampster View Post
                      Yes many things have changed since Tesla acquired Solar City. It is now part of Tesla Energy which also sells Powerwalls. They no longer do PPAs. Their cars are outselling BMW, Audi & MB in their segment. I believe they will be around fo a while or be acquired.
                      Selling more cars than another manufacturer is different then making more of a profit compared to other manufacturers. Tesla has yet to make a profit. But who knows they still may be around if enough customers plunked down their money to keep the company afloat.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SunEagle View Post

                        Selling more cars than another manufacturer is different then making more of a profit compared to other manufacturers. Tesla has yet to make a profit. But who knows they still may be around if enough customers plunked down their money to keep the company afloat.
                        Agree. All of the opinions above including mine are subjective opinions about whether the company will be around to honor their warranty. I believe they will. Just my two cents.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ampster View Post

                          Agree. All of the opinions above including mine are subjective opinions about whether the company will be around to honor their warranty. I believe they will. Just my two cents.
                          I hope so too. I actually like the cars but I just don't trust the man behind them.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SunEagle View Post

                            I hope so too. I actually like the cars but I just don't trust the man behind them.
                            I don't like his public persona either. I know several people that work for him and their evaluation of his problem solving skills is what gives me confidence. Two of them are at SpaceEx and two of them are design engineers at Tesla Motors. I don't own the stock and I prefer local installers to do my solar installations.I don't put much faith in many installers being around in 20 years in that cut throat industry, especially in California with its mandated zero energy homes by 2020. I place more reliance on the manufacturers warranties.

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                            • #15
                              The manufacturer warranty is still in effect but to spend 300-500 every time something goes wrong on labor will destroy the ROI.

                              Re. Elon... people used to say the same kinds of things about Steve Jobs. The fact is that Elon has revolutionized The auto industry. He was the first to build an EV that isn
                              Last edited by malba2366; 05-05-2019, 11:38 AM.

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