diy solar

diy solar

Solar nightmare

alexnlitt

New Member
Joined
May 20, 2024
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1
Location
Red Bluff, CA, United States
Hi kinda new to the solar thing , but was hoping for advice. Ok so I signed with a solar company eew 2yea ago. They sub contracted another company the installation, now got say this system was supposed to be my baby . We ended up choosing silfab panels (42)of them with 2 generac power cell battery backup setups . That's 2 inverters with 6 batteries. Now since installed we haven't had a whole week let alone month of complete 💯 operation or production from this system . It's been hell and for the cost it's insane. Question is why would my well not be powered by system during a outage ? Any help with this would be amazing.
 
Hi kinda new to the solar thing , but was hoping for advice. Ok so I signed with a solar company eew 2yea ago. They sub contracted another company the installation, now got say this system was supposed to be my baby . We ended up choosing silfab panels (42)of them with 2 generac power cell battery backup setups . That's 2 inverters with 6 batteries. Now since installed we haven't had a whole week let alone month of complete 💯 operation or production from this system . It's been hell and for the cost it's insane. Question is why would my well not be powered by system during a outage ? Any help with this would be amazing.
That is a question for your installer.
 
Hi kinda new to the solar thing , but was hoping for advice. Ok so I signed with a solar company eew 2yea ago. They sub contracted another company the installation, now got say this system was supposed to be my baby . We ended up choosing silfab panels (42)of them with 2 generac power cell battery backup setups . That's 2 inverters with 6 batteries. Now since installed we haven't had a whole week let alone month of complete 💯 operation or production from this system . It's been hell and for the cost it's insane. Question is why would my well not be powered by system during a outage ? Any help with this would be amazing.
Sorry to hear about that, unfortunately it sounds all too familiar.

Does your quote or invoice say what the system will run? Perhaps they deemed the well to be too high of a load for the system to run in "off grid mode"

What are the problems you are seeing when you say you're not getting 100% operation?

I believe there is a large lawsuit against Generac on these battery systems, the RSD is being blamed as a high failure rate. GENERAC LAWSUIT
 
There lot of scammer solar companies who are not really even selling solar they are selling a loan they hire a local company to install. I would hire an attorney see what your options are. You want to at least get some legal advice who knows what they sold you. Neighbor got scammed by door to door solar salesperson. They bought a lease system when it didn't zero out their bill they were told they use too much power. Have to be careful with these solar scammers there is no oversight.
 
Well pump was not wired in to the system because it would probably overload it. What is the other problem you are having?
 
Hi kinda new to the solar thing , but was hoping for advice. Ok so I signed with a solar company eew 2yea ago. They sub contracted another company the installation, now got say this system was supposed to be my baby . We ended up choosing silfab panels (42)of them with 2 generac power cell battery backup setups . That's 2 inverters with 6 batteries. Now since installed we haven't had a whole week let alone month of complete 💯 operation or production from this system . It's been hell and for the cost it's insane. Question is why would my well not be powered by system during a outage ? Any help with this would be amazing.
You might want to post a set of system photos so we can see the system. If you have a Bill of Materials used in the project, that would be good too. If you are lucky somebody here is close enough to you and can help. Personally, I'm about 4 1/2 hours SSE, and probably couldn't help much anyway. As for your well, do you have any details? That would be helpful too. There are modern pump systems that are easy to start with variable speed drives, soft start systems, solar PV powered pumps, and generally lots of different pumping solutions available. Who is your electric utility?
 
As I posted elsewhere, I have my own ongoing unpleasantness with SunPower (who took major shortcuts on the install, presumably hoping I wouldn't notice, or that they'd be able to bluster me into submission and then made false claims when prior attempts to blow me off failed.... )
In the end, I a local Electrical Engineer who does Solar Installation audits. He found numerous contract, professional standards, and code violations. Issues include a burned/melted breaker connecting PV array to Main load center left in-place for 2 months (fortunately didn't burn house down)
So... time will tell what happens.
Fortunately, I noticed issues on Day 1, and have yet to pay a penny for my system. so I have leverage, and I suspect they realize I have a really good claim, so maybe that is why they haven't made situation worse for themselves by filing a lien. IN my case, I am SUPER relieved I was willing to pay extra for a single-throat-to-choke setup where contract, installation, and lifetime support and performance guarantee all by same company [it may not work out in the end, but I could have paid and been stuck with vendors pointing fingers at each other ... so I chalk my approach up as a win for me].

Your description does not indicate exactly what your issue are. Are there aspects of the system working fine?

In your situation, I'd start with what your expectations were, what was actually documented (vs verbal conversation), and then what made it into contract(s). Often the case is homeowner has expectations, and conversation, but those 'requirements' don't make it into 'standard' contracts. Turning it into a 'he said, she said' situation with no way to prove intent or what was actually promised (in my case, I have lots of TXTs and emails to back me up). If the issue is a mismatch from your expectations and installed system operation, then you have to determine if you are willing to put into the time to fully document the situation, with incontrovertible 'proof', or if you may need to suck it up as a learning experience.

Is this a case of the PV array working but the battery system not working?

Now, if the system is failing to operate at all, that is different. In which case, a professional 3rd party installation inspection may be just the ticket if the installers still in business (their contractors license is at risk if they really screwed up). I should warn ... it took us months to find the right person/company to do such an audit, we ended up getting the reference from a law firm specializing in residential solar lawsuits .. such a law form might be a good place to start looking. In our case, the person is a licensed contractor, master electrician, etc.

Based on above comments, another consideration is how much input you had into system components vs your installer? I ask in case you demanded a certain component (ex Generac), and it is that part having issues
And what warranty do you have? Did your contract provide an entire system/performance warranty? The beauty of options is ability to spec a system that is just right for a given situation. The downside when doing such is the owner is then typically responsible for making sure all the parts play well with each other over time.

Could your system have been designed to include battery backup coverage for the well pump? probably, but possibly at significantly higher cost.
Depending on setup, a well pump may easily be considered non-critical. At the house I grew up at , the well pump wouldn't have been considered critical (for most of the time), as water pump into storage tank that gravity fed house. The well pump not working for a while, even days, wouldn't be an issue (until much later when my parents switched to using a much smaller pressurized tank instead)... my point only being that .. it depends.
 
Some PV/battery systems are strictly for peak load shaving, don't work in a power failure.
Tesla Powerwall systems for instance would be that way unless a separate transfer switch was installed.

System documentation hopefully provided with the quote should show what it is supposed to do. Possibly added equipment is needed to get the backup you want, or maybe just moving some circuits to a protected load panel that may already be installed.
 
Sorry to hear about that, unfortunately it sounds all too familiar.

Does your quote or invoice say what the system will run? Perhaps they deemed the well to be too high of a load for the system to run in "off grid mode"

What are the problems you are seeing when you say you're not getting 100% operation?

I believe there is a large lawsuit against Generac on these battery systems, the RSD is being blamed as a high failure rate. GENERAC LAWSUIT
Damn, I don't think I'll ever be buying anything from Generac in the future ...

Screenshot_20240523_182752_Chrome.jpg
 
Yeah, not a fan of Generac's business practices. Very Similar to Renogy- mass market sales focused only on volume, not so much on quality.
Looks like there's a class action suit going on (seperate from the business losses lawsuit by Pink Energy):

 
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