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Tesla solar panels have become a nightmare for some homeowners

  • Some homeowners with Tesla solar panels said they were disappointed while waiting for the company to repair the damaged panels on their roof.
  • On August 1, the roof of Brianna Greer's home in Colorado caught fire as she waited for Tesla to send a crew to inspect her panels.
  • Greer said Tesla did not properly support the panels. Homeowners in Maryland to Arizona with Tesla solar panels also found that working with Tesla was frustrating and were forced to pay regular fees because their systems were off.
  • Tesla current and former employees have said it all has to do with "Project Titan," a secret Tesla program launched in the summer of 201
    8 to quietly change solar roof wires across the country.
  • Business Insider sent Tesla an extensive list of customer claims and current and former solar employees for the story. Tesla did not respond to repeated requests for comment via phone calls, emails or text messages.

Brianna Greer was out of town when the fire started in the panels of her Tesla sun roof. Fortunately, her neighbors in Louisville, Colorado – a city outside of Boulder – were vigilant and managed to put out the fire before the fire arrived.

That was on August 1st. The day before, Greer said, Tesla contacted her to let her know her system had been detecting voltage fluctuations for several days. The company said it would send a crew to inspect it on August 8th. It was too late.

Greer, an environmental consultant, stated that she had not yet received a report explaining why any of this had happened.

"They purposefully keep many people in the dark. For an energy company, this is ironic," Greer told Business Insider in an interview last month.

Tesla did not respond to multiple requests for comment on this article, but a local Fox station in Colorado reported last month that Tesla told it that "its solar panels are safe and very rarely lit." Fox's report also says Tesla says it works with Greer's insurance company.

Tesla has not agreed to release her from his contract, so Greer creates GoFundMe to raise funds for a lawyer to handle the matter. [19659007] Greer stated that he believed Tesla had breached its agreement with her and Xcel, a third-party electrical company that installed its meter and connected Tesla to the network. Its contract with Tesla, viewed by Business Insider, said Tesla maintained solar panels according to the manufacturer's specifications.

Xcel did not respond to a request for comment.

Greer panels are made by a solar panel manufacturer called Trina, whose manual says his panels need to be physically inspected twice a year. Tesla didn't do that, Greer said.

Trina did not respond to a request for comment.

The Greer contract also states that Tesla must maintain the panels in accordance with state law. In 2017, the year Greer installed his panels, Colorado adopted the National Electrical Code. But Greer, who provided diagrams of her system to Business Insider, said Tesla had not updated its solar panels to encode them. For example, the NEC 2017 rules require that all solar panels can be switched off quickly at module level, and according to Greer, the system that was on fire did not have this.

Tesla did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

In a September 23 email and viewed by Business Insider, a Tesla representative told Greer that the company had no maintenance records "except for remote monitoring and reactive response." The company does not actively visit people's homes unless it performs compulsory service in the neighborhood of customers.

In August, Walmart filed a lawsuit against Tesla, claiming that he failed to maintain solar panels in stores nationwide. Seven of those stores caught fire – one eventually closed for a week this spring – and had millions of dollars in losses and damage. Walmart's complaint says just as Greer claims that Tesla never explains why the fires started.

Walmart has the resources to look at them. His complaint details that Tesla has installed defective Amphenol connectors that cannot regulate the heat entering the solar panels. As a result, the panels experienced temperature spikes that could lead to fires.

After Walmart's suit was made public, Business Insider announced that last year Tesla launched a secret program called "Project Titan" to replace as many of these Amphenol connectors as quickly and quietly as possible. Tesla told Business Insider that its software monitoring applications found that "a small number" of connectors had failures and interruptions higher than their permitted standards.

In this email from September 23 to Greer, most Tesla said about the fire that its system was "unmarked" as having problems with Amphenol connectors. For her, that is simply not enough.

"They play with my life while raising money from the payment," Greer said.

Tesla did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Greer's allegations.

If you would like to share your experience as a customer or employee of Tesla's automotive or solar companies, please email me at llopez@businessinsider.com.

 Walmart Roof on Tesla Beavercreek Roof

Local news channels show a fire at Walmart in Beavercreek, Ohio, in March 2018.


Stop and pay though?

To find out how clients can be affected by Project Titan, Business Insider talks to five Tesla clients, as well as one former and two current Tesla solar employees. Tesla did not respond to multiple requests for comment on their claims.

All customers – who were in Arizona, Massachusetts, New York and Maryland – said they were given a little without explaining why their panels should be serviced. They said they were told to shut down their systems and wait for the crew to come and do maintenance. They all said they were forced to continue paying Tesla leasing fees as well as a power outage while their systems were off.

A client, Christina Karen of Phoenix, Arizona, told Business Insider that her system started having problems in August 2018. Then in November, she said, she received an email from Tesla informing her that her the system produces an arc reading. According to two Tesla current employees who wished to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, the arc reading indicates that the connectors overheated at one point.

Inside the company, according to people, there is a system for grading the weight of a beam in the arc. Employees said that X meant that a customer should be served immediately. Another rainbow error 1 is the next worst, then a rainbow error 2 and finally a rainbow error 3, employees said.

A Tesla crew inspected Caron's system in February and found that it had been damaged and needed to be replaced. The crew didn't say why, but told Caron the panels had hot spots and spots of moisture. The system has been shut down at Tesla's request ever since.

However, Karen said he still pays Tesla for the panel rentals, as well as the average energy the company calculates. Plus, she has to pay her local electricity supplier.

"So my electricity bills are not $ 250 or lower – they ranged from $ 400 to $ 800 in a month because my solar power was off and that's about the same use as last year and the previous year." , Karen told Business Insider. "No one can give us any answers except to say, 'We are not responsible for the high electricity bills that go in when the system is off.'"

Jeffrey Sutherland, a homeowner outside of Boston, is also experiencing a bug

"The claim that they are actively monitoring their systems is not true," he said of his experience in a phone call with Business Insider. "I had to call them in March to inquire about the bugs I saw. on my inverter for months. The technical support person looked at the logs and immediately instructed me to shut down the system. "

Sutherland said Tesla had sent someone to inspect the system in April and that they said they should" replace parts that send defective signals to the inverter. They also said there were "defective components" but did not specify what the problem was, he said.

So after seeing that he was still being charged for the production of 400 kilowatts, even though his system was off, Sutherland turned his system back on.

"The representative of the bills insisted that I should pay under the purchasing power agreement, even though they shut down the system. He would not cancel the fees," Sutherland said.

In August, Sutherland said its system would periodically go into standby mode. It will only turn it on to turn it off 15 to 20 minutes later. Only when Sutherland read about the Titan project, Tesla's secret project of replacing defective connectors, did he worry and shut down the system altogether, he said. As of October 3, its panels have not been replaced.

If you would like to share your experience as a customer or employee of Tesla's automotive or solar companies, please email me at llopez@businessinsider.com.

 the roof of briana greer after a fire on a solar panel

the roof of greer.
Briana Greer


Two Tesla current employees and a former employee told Business Insider that the company was instructing its people not to say the word "fire" but "a heat event".

Tesla did not respond to numerous requests for comment on employee claims.

They also stated that the company had widespread concern about the quality of the Trina panels located in Greer's house.

If a customer asks what's going on over their heads, Trina doesn't respond to a Business Insider request. A Tesla current employee who works in the solar panel installation told Business Insider that employees should read a script that sounds something like this:

"We are here today to replace a part of your leaning system cancellation and may interrupt your service. We are here to prevent this today and after the work is done. , you will be able to enjoy continuous and impeccable service. "

Two Tesla employees said they were instructed not to tell customers anything specifically about why their roof needed maintenance or something related to Project Titan.

" At first, Tesla was transparent to connectors. Then they started hiding why maintenance was needed, "said one person.

" I think people should understand that we are lucky that no one died, "they said, adding," This c should be in your home above your child's bedroom. "

In fact, at the Greer House in Colorado, a fire started above her 16-year-old son's bedroom.

Business Insider sent Tesla an extensive list of claims made in this story. Tesla did not respond to repeated requests for comment via phone calls, emails or text messages.

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