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I did not want to write a bad review for anyone ever, but since I have personally had to correct an uncountable number of SolarCity hack installs I felt compelled to get the word out. I am an Electrical Contractor in Sacramento, and I DO NOT do solar installs. I don't know where SolarCity finds their installers, but I can promise you, I have not seen one install that was done correctly. Not only is the workmanship bad, but the installers usually create half a dozen hazards with the original wiring that were not there before, which is ultimately is the reason I get called out to see what the issue is.
Smoke, Fire, Shock, these installers are not real Electricians. To be fair, I am sure there are a few good men out there doing things right; But when you hire a company who has a sales team that prides themselves on "Murdering Souls" with their sales tactics, you get what you pay for. An expensive lesson on how to just say NO. If anything I feel sorry for the installers, as I am sure they are all underpaid. 1099 contractors who have Mr. Bottom line cracking the whip to get as many hacked systems in as possible.
If you thought an electrical permit will save you, think again. The inspectors don't inspect anything here in Northern California. They just pass by your house and call it a PASS. A pass releases SolarCity from liability if your house burns down. As others have said here. IF you hire SolarCity, you better sure have your own independent Electrical inspector to pass the job before the City does. Or else good luck to you. Solar City: Did you know that the sun is a ball of fire? The name fits perfectly.
So after a lot of discussion on our massive energy bill, my husband and I decided to put some money into solar, arguing that once the loan is paid our energy costs will be next to nothing. Our rep, a nice guy, gave us this pitch about how when you buy solar the government gives you back $11,000 on your taxes as a solar energy credit. If this is put into the solar loan, our payment is only X amount and the loan only lasts 20 years. It sounded good. We went for it, fully intending to put all of that money into our solar loan. They worked it into the paperwork like there was no doubt that we'd be refunded that amount.
Joke was on us. The government won't refund you a solar credit more than your tax return amount. Our actual tax return was only 3k, so we only got a 3k solar credit, nowhere near the 11,000 that the loan required be put down within the first 18 months. The loan amortized and we were, of course, $8k short of the lump sum they wanted. Our payment has gone up $50 a month. (Of course, this came at a time when my husband was out of work due to massive illness, so the timing couldn't have hit us harder) Yeah, I'm mad. Should have done my homework, but honestly didn't think a big company like Tesla would pull a fast one like this on us. I emailed the rep about it and he never responded, so here I am.
Before solar our energy costs averaged $200 a month. Now we're paying $288 a month. Is the product working? Yes, the panels seem to be doing their job well so far. We've only had them for a couple of years. No leaks on the roof. We've had heavy snow and two layers of shingles on our roof with the panels, and no structural problems yet. After all of these reviews, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the panels continue to function well. It sounds like it would take an act of Zeus to get someone to fix them if they malfunctioned. Yikes. I just can't get that bad taste out of my mouth every time I look at the panels and think about the misleading financial burden.
I had a horrible experience with Tesla SolarCity. I also have all of my fax phone calls, and emails all documented to prove their lack of communication and deceitfulness. There are so many things from the beginning that I have to caution you about this product. First it offers expire or change I was never notified. Second my sales rep left, I had no clue until the day of installation that I had a new representative and my old one left three months ago. I sent all of my information and pictures to Tesla and initially their design team stated that they would be able to come in through my electrical panel and sub panel and connect it on the inside. But on the day of installation they stated that it couldn't be done and they had to put in a Hoffmann tap.
Now I have an extra box on the outside of my house drilled into my brick home, that no one contacted me about or got my approval to continue with the job to make sure that this was okay with the homeowner/buyer. Then my next representative up and quit Tesla and I had no one to contact. I had to reach out to three or four individuals before someone got back to me and then they passed me on to someone else. Each time I had to speak to a new person I had to give the new information all over again because no one either documented it or chose to read the documentation. Tesla's resolution for being on what I feel deceitful, is offering me $200 for a nest offer that expired before I signed with them but I was never made aware of by my rep.
I just feel that because in the beginning I specifically told them that they would not be able to use the electrical box or the sub panel because it was full that they just thought because I was a woman I had no clue of what I was talking about. It's a shame you can't trust people these days and you have to read the entire small print. Now I really question how good their warranty is going to be for the next 25 years supposedly that I have my warranty for.
Tesla/SolarCity installed panels on our house in 2013. The panels turned out to be defective and stopped working in June 2018. Since June 2018 through mid-March 2019, we have had no solar (9.5 months!), and we were still expected to pay the monthly fee for nothing. Anyway, during the whole time of no service, we were regularly paying our monthly fee. After multiple rounds of back-and-forth negotiations, offering new lease contract that was actually worse than our current PPA contract, we got the new panels installed on March 15, 2019.
So, according to contract, we expected that we would be refunded for the time when we did not get any solar production - which is just for 2018 more than $700. Not to mention that we had to pay to grid company (SCE) additional $300 because we fell into higher tiers, which supposed to be covered by solar. But, Tesla/SolarCity does not accept any issues, and - after multiple calls - only sent us the small check covering just 1/5 of what we paid to them. So saying that customer service is the worst - is not making enough emphasize. Their customer service is based on ignorance, lie, denial, and staffed with people fully embracing such a tenet. So right now, we are looking into our legal options.
They make money on the sale of your house by adding a 20 yr leasing term and if the new owner(s) decide not to continue the lease, you're muscled into paying 20k or more to terminate the lease. It's extremely difficult to sell a home with what they claim is not a lien on your house, but when you sign with Tesla (formerly Solar City) a UCC1 financing agreement is attached which inhibits the title company from releasing any proceeds to the seller until Tesla's financial obligations are met. The contract states that they will give you discount but fail to mention the amount. Therefore, you're at the mercy of Tesla. My "discount" is a 25k, which basically means this multi-billion dollar corporation just had me give them this money.
Also, prior to installing, I advised the salesperson that I was planning to sell the house and would it pose an issue upon sale, she stated no it wouldn't, there's no problem transferring to the new owner, and it also adds value to the house. This is not entirely true, she did not mention that if the owner did not agree to continue the lease, that it is costly to discontinue the lease. Also, when you pay the lease off, you're gifting the new owners solar panels and practically free electricity. Please stay away from Tesla and do research on terms with other companies.
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SolarCity never honored my service agreement when panels stopped working. Now two years later and no reimbursement! They keep telling me the check is in the mail since September of 2018 and we are now April 2019. The end of 2017 my utility bills seemed high then by mid 2018 I contacted SolarCity. They said my panels went out. It took until October for them to change my panels but they have still to cash reimburse me for the loss of use as stated in the performance contract. They keep saying check is in the mail. Don't use SolarCity, now Tesla.
Solar City Agent explained how the contract works... 1) Solar Panels were installed on North side of the roof while sun comes on South side most of the year. obvious result production is low. 2) Two months we had high energy bills and when called they said because your meter was off. Don't they have any way to notice and notify customer to check the obvious?
3) We had a hail in Texas last year and roof needed to be replaced so I call Tesla to remove panels and their response was they are not schedule anyone until 2019 (five months away) so I said let's make schedule after that and response was we cannot do it now. Ridiculous thing ever! 4) They asked me to higher someone to remove panels and they suggested subcontractor that charge $3500 to just uninstall the panels. 5) I had to pay to remove the panels and they also expect you to pay your monthly bill regardless of panels on roof or not. 6) Now, it's over six months there are no panels on the roof (they are sitting in the backyard) and they are not sending anyone to install them. Now, that I stop paying they are calling every day for the payment and threatening to report to credit bureau. What a rip off business?
All went well my installation ~2 years ago. I was very happy with the process but 2 years on things have changed: #1: my estimated production was 14,000 kilowatts but the actual production has been 11,000 Kilowatts which is significantly worse than estimated. #2: I just found out that my local town never issued a CO once the project was completed. I had the building inspector come by. There were 3 issues that needed to be resolved. Special stickers need to be placed on a conduit and electric meter and they need a certificate of inspection. I then called Tesla/SolarCity and the customer service person said the operations team would need to handle it and would email them. It has been a week and I have not heard from the them.
In addition, they did not know what an installation certificate was. When I asked them to contact the building department they said they "do not call the city to ensure completion." I asked to speak to a supervisor and was told that it would take 24 to 72 hours to get a call back. When I asked how was my problem going to be resolved the representative said that she would have to wait for the operations department to get back to me but she did not know when that would be. She said to try back tomorrow. They were very good on the install but on the follow up terrible. Do not use. They are not the only solar company in town.
I had to assume a PPA when I bought my house. SolarCity's contract guy couldn't send me the right agreement 4 times, so my title company had to do it for him. Now that we're done the monitoring device stopped working. So I get an email telling me the monitoring system isn't working. So I respond with, "Great, how do I fix it?" Nothing. For 3 weeks. Then I finally get an email from some guy saying he's created a "case" for me. What does that mean? Is someone going to call? Come fix it? What? He writes back - "Well, that's why I also gave you a number to call during business hours - I don't actually know if the case will do anything or when." Holy cow! Seriously? Why even bother then???
So we paid off the solar panels in full, because their billing department and inability to get a billing portal was mind boggling and extremely frustration to deal with. 1.5 years after assuming the panels they still hadn't gotten our billing portal up, never apologized once, and forced me to call in monthly (with 5-20 minute wait times) to pay manually. Also, the energy they charge for is more expensive than the utility company. When I told them this was the case they acted surprised like it had never happened before, said they would escalate, and never called back. That was a recurring theme actually - they would never follow up on escalations and, after asking more than 10 times for a supervisor to contact me, one never did. I gave it two stars because the panels work, everything else is trash. Stay away from this company.
SolarCity Company Information
- Company Name:
- 3055 Clearview Way
- San Mateo
- Postal Code:
- United States
- (888) 765-2489