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Tesla Solar Install—Part 3: Installation (Day 2)

February 18, 2021 5:14 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

On day Two, Thursday, the crew arrived started right where they left off. The Powerwalls team completed running the conduit from the electrical panels to the roof to connect to the solar panels. This involved several discussion over the two days as to how best to route the conduit as there were code requirements to be met. It was finally determined that the conduit could run up the side of the chimney and well above the gutters to ensure that water flow from the roof would not be impeded. The result was an unobtrusive line.



While the conduit was being run, the Panels team was installing the solar panels on their mounts. It all began to come together.


While the panels were going up, the Powerwall team began pulling all of the wires through the conduits. Two sets of power wires and control wires ran from the Powerwalls the length of the house to the entrance panels. Then sets of power and control wires were pulled from the entrance panels to the solar panels. With the twists and turns the conduit had to make, this was a significant effort.

Now it was time to setup and test the system. The Network Gateway, a small device that connects to the house’s internet, was installed the previous day. A WiFi connection from the Entrance Gateway to the network was made and the new equipment connected to our Tesla account. The energy system now showed on the Tesla app on our phones and tablets.

The crew leader switched off power from the electric meter with the breaker in the Entrance Gateway to simulate an electrical outage. The Powerwalls immediately took over with such a slight drop that only the digital TV in the family room turned off. Nothing else, including the PC, the network, and the cable boxes, was affected. The crew wrapped up and left as the sun was setting.

A few days later an independent electrical inspector came to check all of the work and determine whether it could be approved for use. He commented that he had seen a lot of work by different electricians in his time and that the workmanship here was some of the best. He approved the work and submitted his report to the town. With the system approved, Tesla now submitted the bill to us and we made the bank transfer to complete the sale.

A few days later the town building inspectors came and reviewed the installation. The Certificate of Compliance came in the mail a few days after that. The information has been sent to the utility company. There only two remaining items needed to complete the installation and bring it fully online. First, the utility company has to return and install the new meter that manages the interface to the electric grid. This will allow us to either draw from the grid or supply to the grid. The second item is for Tesla to return and enable the solar panels through the inverter in software, and connect it to the house’s network.

It was interesting to learn that, were we to start supplying the grid from our solar panels, the existing meter could not differentiate that from the grid supply to the house so that we would actually be charged for the power we were supplying rather than receiving payment. Further, it would be a violation of Public Service Commission rules and we could be liable for significant fines.

We’re looking forward to the day in the very near future when we can say we’re making a difference for environmental sustainability, not only by driving Tesla cars, but by generating energy with other Tesla products.

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