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Tesla Solar Roof Installation Issues – Tesla Solar Roof Buyer Left Without Roof

Tesla has been in the news for a number of reasons for the last year or so. Most of these reasons have been due to the automobile sector of the company, i.e Tesla Motors. While Tesla Motors has definitely made impressive strides in the electric mobility and autonomous driving fields, they have some other ventures too. What many people forget is that the California-based company has invested heavily in energy storage, solar panels, and the insurance market as well.

TESLA SOLAR ROOF INSTALLATION ISSUES
Credit – Electrek

Tesla Solar Roof Installation Issues

Tesla has definitely made a lot of progress in the solar energy department, but there have been some complaints with the installation from the company. The latest of the lot was when a guy from Florida was left with no roof and tarps covering his house two months after the installation of his new Tesla solar roof had begun. According to the owner, there was an issue with the process of installation of the roof underlay, and the situation was worsened by the presence of intermittent rains, which made it a hassle for his family.

The Entire Story

The story started when Paul Stacey signed a contract with Tesla for what would be one of the largest solar roof installations, with a total power of 24.3 kW. The initial timeline was supposed to last just 2 weeks, but it was doubled at the time of the removal of the older roof.

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The first week saw the installation crew remove the existing roof, but there were some issues too. The equipment was not in place on time, and there was also a leak in the tarp (temporary plastic covering) on the fifth day. Stacey tried to reach Tesla with the issue, but couldn’t. After the roof removal was done, Tesla began to install the roof underlayment, which is a waterproof material that gets attached directly to the roof deck. This is where the problem began, as Tesla tried out a new product, which was thinner than usual and largely untested. Tesla began the preparation work to receive the tiles in week 3, and the actual installation began in week 4. They even installed the electrical hardware by then.

By week 5, the installation crew realized that they had made a mistake with the underlay product. Stacey mentioned that they experienced some rain, and seven areas of the roof started leaking. The roof removal team was brought back and they found errors in two of these areas and fixed them. The other five areas were because of the new underlay. Apparently, it was very thin, and the clips that held the underlay in place were not as strong as they should have been. This resulted in the underlay coming off in some areas, causing the leaks. Another thing that disappointed Stacey was the fact that he was one of the very few customers to receive this new underlay product. Week 5 was almost entirely devoted to fixing these issues.

Tesla sent an expert to assess the situation and bring it back to the standard in week 6. The move seemed to work, as there was some relative progress through the week. However, they experienced another leak towards the end of week 6, this time over the garage. The Tesla crew then moved to a defensive strategy and ended up covering the entire roof with tarp. At least the leaks got solved, while the team set about pondering about what step needed to be taken with respect to the underlay product. The issue started to move up the chain of command.

Stacey started hearing rumors that were on the lines of having to start from scratch. The project, which was already two months in, was now being halted. Some sources even said that the engineers working on the project admitted their fault regarding the underlay product. The single layer and the thinner and weaker product was used without adequate testing, in comparison to the usual double layer of self-sealing Firestone.

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Now, Tesla has called for Servpro to come into the mix and ensure that the leaks do not leave any lasting effects. They also entered into a compensation agreement with Stacey regarding all the issues. Stacey’s house, which had started losing its roof in early August, is now covered in a plastic tarp, trying to survive against nature’s elements. The rains falling down in the past two months haven’t helped either, as the work has had to be halted many times.

Tesla will now start relaying the roof from the deck up, and the new timeline means that Stacey will not find normalcy in his life for at least another 4 weeks. He still hopes that all this will finally be worth it. At the same time, he wanted prospective customers to know that Tesla is yet to figure out the installation process of the solar panels yet, even if the prices they offer are attractive. For now, it is at least a month under the covers (literally) for him and his house.

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Mihir Tasgaonkar
A mechanical engineer who loves reading and writing about new technologies in the automobile industry.

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