I’m inspecting a home with Tesla Solar Panel tiles tomorrow. I see that it is OK to walk on them, safety first of course. Wondering if anyone has inspected one of these yet, has any tips or knows of any unusual or different things to look for reference these.
Solar Panels are part of a Specialty System, and I am not a trained or licensed Electrician, or a Solar System (no pun intended) Technician.
Other than viewing for the obvious damaged glass/components, they get referred to a Specialist for evaluation.
NACHI encourages this:
And, above all, be sure to include a disclaimer in your pre-inspection agreement that states that you are not an expert at photovoltaic systems and cannot warrant the functionality or longevity of the solar roofing system. State that doing so is beyond the scope of your standard home inspection. Offer no written or oral opinion beyond what you state in your inspection report as to the visible condition of the accessible and observed components.
I’ve started running into a lot more solar systems in Maui than I ever did in Oregon (for obvious reasons) and I do a very basic test to confirm some power is being generated. Basically, I just open the box (if I can get in easily) that the feeders from the panels are coming from and test it with my voltage sniffer.
In the report I’m VERY clear that my test is minimal and only verified some power is being generated. A more specialized inspection is recommended, etc., etc. I can tell you solar systems are kind of a PITA. Or, at least the one on my house is. There are the installers and then the companies that “manage” the data and whatnot. Whichever person you call, your question is the other person’s responsibility.
On a good day my system ties into my home wifi and I can look at how much each panel is producing (basically I know which ones the pigeons just crapped all over). It seems like every other week the communication goes down and I can’t see what’s going on. I generally just check periodically with my voltage sniffer as I described above and I’d know pretty quick when I get my electric bill if the system wasn’t working. Whatever you do just be sure to clarify what you are doing and the limitations. Buyers’ assumptions lead to calls to your E/O carrier.
Thanks Matt, good information. Have added a disclaimer, had the verbal conversation and am going to add in the report that the roof was inspected as a roofing system only. Not for functionality of the solar system.