to understand the reason for a regret of a choice in company. It also has information that will inform you about a system purchase. ... (more)
This has been an extremely tiring process and I consider this to be worse than buying a car or a house. I decided to buy the system outright as the cost benefit is not what it should be for leasing or a purchase agreement, pay back period of 30 years to 10 years.
Solar City was given the offer to price match Sungevity''s offer. They did so but they changed the panels from their 315 LG proposal to their 260W panels but increased the panel count. They did this after I had provided them all documentation comparing the 2 systems to save a few dollars on their end. However, I was ok with this because I had the roof space. When the new contract came over, they did not carry over the price match. I had to escalate and get LOUD with the sales team to prove that the contract price was not accurate. I had them email me what my price would be and it did not match on the contract.
I had numerous questions to SC and asked for documents so I could understand the system. I had to supply them with data sheets of items because they could not find them and answer the questions I was asking. Yet they design and install them.
I had asked the sales rep if they can do side skirts, the funny thing is their webpage main screen shows this and yet she told me NO, they cannot. So is Solar City falsely advertising?
Users have to sign contracts but Solar City doesn’t fully outline the design in the documents. I had to have them document where the conduits were going to be routed as they were not shown on the drawing. I had to have them relocate the inverter as the placement did not make sense on the design documents. The sales manager even agreed with these statements.
Then it came time for installing the system. The west facing roof could not use the mounting system that was agreed upon, in the contract papers; because the site surveyor either didn''t measure or screwed up the measurements on that pitch of the roof and the installation team could not install the flashing. I had the crew stop because this was not part of the plan and wanted clarification from California (sales team and design location).
I contacted SC to determine my options. They listed 4 options: change entire system which is added cost to me; have 2 independent systems that would drive cost even higher and increase complexity; reduce the panel count on that string; or go with a new chemically bonded mount.
As I was talking to the sales manager and questioning things; he informed me that I should just trust them and they were integrated and backed by Tesla. However, 2 weeks earlier they were bought so Tesla was not really in the picture yet. To continue, he told me that Solar City did not use this mount often because it costs more. It is a new process that is a chemically bonded mounting system. Wouldn’t explain it to me more than that. I then had to question the quality of this mount and the possibility of leaking into my roof. During this conversation, I had asked for an extended roof warranty and was told NO. At this time I could not back out of the contract at this point because they had already installed 18 panels on my south side of the roof, or I would have. They have no respect for people once the contract was signed.
The other option was to reduce the string count on my west roof from 9, 260W down to 6 panels and use the original mounting system. I contact Solar Edge (the inverter company) and they specifically said they do not recommend any string going below 8 panels at 260W. This is because the power optimizer will adjust if 1 or 2 panels goes into shade or is not producing. Yet, SC is recommending I go down to 6 panels. WHYYY? This was not recommended by the tech rep at Solar Edge because the entire string would not produce if there was any shade on a panel. This forced me to use the new mounting system as why would I pay more money for a system that was not utilized efficiently.
During the installation of the 9 panels on my west facing roof. One mount was collapsed into the roof. I pointed this out to the crew and took a picture and sent it to the sales rep. Sales rep never responded. The crew said it was a soft spot, house roof is only ~10 years old. After the install, I went into the attic and the reason for the collapse was because the additional supports they were installing was not flush to the interior of the roof. This caused the roof to pull it when the mount was secured. However, crew said it was fine. WRONG.
In regards to the chemically bonded system, it’s not a chemically bonded. The mounting piece utilizes a smaller flashing with a foam gasket to the shingles. They then drive a bolt through the roof and back fill the center of the mount with a caulk based materiel. Now, if the sales team would have explained this to me, verses saying chemically bonded; the conversation would have stopped and we would have moved on. But they clearly DO NOT KNOW what they are talking about. Yet they couldn''t tell me this to reduce headaches, phone calls, and research.
I had even suggested 2 other design options where it would increase my panel count on my south roof from 18 to 21 and my west roof would stay at 6. The sales manager said they don’t like to orient the panels in different orientations; but lots of houses do that. He discounted my knowledge and what would be a good middle ground solution.
Time for inspection of my system. The sales rep informed me I did not need to be present for the home inspection. I even second questioned this and she confirmed it. I questioned it because they hook the inverter directly into the circuit breaker in your home and typically this needs reviewed to ensure it’s up to code. I then get a call by the local rep stating they will be at my home in 1/2 hr to prep for the house inspection. This only infuriated me as I now had to rush home and sit around for the inspector.
Now comes time to validate the system. During late March, early April after passed county inspection, I turned my system on during peak hours of a beautiful, no cloud in the sky day. This is the type of day where the system should be maxed out. My system is a 7.02kW system yet the inverter was peaking at 6.0kW and 5.5kW. I ask why? I even asked my sales person, in email, if my system should peak at the 7.02kW power rating and she said YES. Guess what people, this is FALSE, another lie. I was not working with a local regional operations manager who finally was trying to help me.
He sent an electrician out and validated the system and also explained the system will never hit that peak. I then also received this article http://newenglandcleanenergy.com/energymiser/2015/12/01/stc-vs-ptc-why-solar-panel-testing-matters/
This clearly states that the STC (standard testing condition) will never meet a PTC (Photovoltaics for Utility Scale Applications Test Conditions) and you will never get that power out of the system. Even though, that how its characterized and sold.
In my opinion it is like stating a car gets 40 MPG but only gets 30 MPG, ie; Hyundai Elantra lawsuit. However, out of all the questions I had asked the sales team, they never wanted to tell me this. Or they clearly don''t know. I provided them with this information and have never heard back from them on this topic. They only give you the production guarantee at .06 per kwhr that you should have produced but the utility company gives me .14/ kWhr.
I still have to have Solar City process my MD state grant properly and send me their $1,000 promotion so I am sure the fun/battle is not over with them. I don''t know why this was such a painful and non-enjoyable process but something should be done about that sales team I worked with. Yes it was the same 2 people the entire process.
I have spent countless HOURS working with Solar City, Solar Edge, and my own time to get the information I felt I should have, doing my due diligence. This was excessive and was painful and should never happen to anyone.
Based on all the information provided above, the sales team that I have dealt with in California were terrible. Their knowledge is minimal and they do not have supporting information to answer questions that I was asking. They gave me terrible options when I had problems because of Solar City''s errors. However, the sales team only cornered me with terrible options and poor customer service. They offered solutions that are not recommended by manufacturers. They also "LIED" to me in emails stating facts that I should see the full 7.02kW, but based on the article; that is completely false.
This was a terrible experience and I would not recommend Solar City to a friend or family member because of the experience I have had to endure. I was just a number to the sales team. I was not looking for anything major in terms of compensation and nor did I push for it. However, looking back; anything would have been a nice gesture for the large amount of time I had to put in to educate their sales team. The amount of educating that had to be done on my behalf to their sales team. After explaining this story to the operational regional manager, he too was irritated because of the support I was getting by them.
This was supposed to be an enjoyable fun process. It''s solar man, something I always liked. However, now I would not recommend it to anyone. To the point, if I see someone talking to a rep at home depot, I may inject myself into their conversation to give the proper advice and guidance and educate them on the actual facts.
I am sure I have forgotten other details as there were so many. I highly doubt I will hear back as I was not a customer that made their life easy. I plan to leave this on multiple review sites to help educate people.
Solar City Customer
Type: Residential Electric