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Re: [RFI] Update: Tesla's Response to Solar Panel RFI

To: Tony Brock-Fisher <barockteer@aol.com>, Rfi List <rfi@contesting.com>, "Cianciolo, Paul, W1VLF" <pcianciolo@arrl.org>
Subject: Re: [RFI] Update: Tesla's Response to Solar Panel RFI
From: Tony <dxdx@optonline.net>
Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2019 21:48:00 -0500
List-post: <mailto:rfi@contesting.com>

My case with SolarEgdge is the one that has not been resolved so I'd like to ask you a few questions and respond to the confusion regarding the RFI from my neighbors system continuing after it was disconnected.

I was at the site each time the crew attempted to fix the RFI issue and they NEVER disconnected all of the solar panels from the system at one time. They instead worked on one section at a time so the majority of panels and optimizers remained in service, hence the noise.

The SolarEdge tech at the site said that the system continues to generate noise as long as the optimizers are connected to the solar panels. I have the emails from SolarEdge confirming this.

The only effect I noticed during the process was a fluctuation in the noise when they handled the panels and cabling.

I've asked many times if they would disconnect / disassemble the entire system as a process of elimination in order to isolate the noise, but they said it wasn't necessary.

As far as the source of the noise, I was present the day they installed the system in 2016 which is when the noise began. At S-9 plus, the source was blatantly obvious then as it is now. Seeing the noise fluctuate as the crew handled the panels also confirms the source.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but after reading your post, there doesn't seem to be anything in regulations that would force SolarEge through to fix the problem as long as their devices meet FCC emissions standards.

So what recourse do amateurs have in a scenario like mine where the noise renders HF unusable? I can't sue them on a retirees pension.

Thanks for your time.

Tony -K2MO

On 12/17/2019 1:55 PM, Hare, Ed W1RFI wrote:
Let me see if I can put this into perspective.

First, there are a number of factors here that are not usually made part of the discussions 
about solar arrays that are being installed.  The first is the applicable FCC rules.  These 
are regulated by Part 15 of the FCC's rules.  Under the rules, they are "unintentional 
emitters,"   devices that intentionally internally generate RF signals (> 9kHz), but 
that do not intentionally radiate them.  As unintentional emitters, the manufacturer is 
subject to the following regulations:

1, They must meet radiated emissions limits.  These apply ONLY above 30 MHz. They are set 
at a level such that from a "legal" device next door, one might see about S7 
noise on 6 or 2 meters.
2. There are NO radiation limits below 30 MHz.
3. Below 30 MHz, the FCC controls interference by limiting the amount of noise 
that can be placed on the AC mains through limits on conducted emissions.  This 
includes ONLY the ac mains and there are no limits to the conducted noise that 
may be present on the wires leading from the solar-system electronics to the 
4. The system must use "good engineering practice,' whatever that means. This 
generally means that if they make any attempt at filtering, such as a few strategically 
located capacitors, they would probably be considered as having met this requirement. I 
have never seen FCC take any action related to "good engineering practice.

Incidental emitters are not subject to certification by the FCC. Older designs were 
brought forward under the "Verification" authorization in the old rules, and 
today, more likely through a manufacturer's declaration of conformity. Both are, in 
essence, self-tested and self-policed.

This is a key here, because from all indications, the devices meet the 
conducted emissions limits below 30 MHz,  so any radiation from the system is 
not directly covered by FCC rules.

We don't like the current limits, but they have been in place for decades, and 
it is highly unlikely that FCC will ever seek to change them.   But in planning 
what to do, it is critical that Amateurs fully understand just what does and 
does not apply to the manufacturers.  Any claims that these devices are in and 
of themselves illegal appears to be incorrect, because from all indications, 
they meet the requirements for radiated and conducted emissions.

The rules then require that the operator of the device, ie the neighbor and possibly the 
solar provider, use them in a way that does not cause harmful interference.  First, 
harmful interference is defined as the repeated degradation of a non-emergency service, 
or any degradation of emergency communications.   It is often in the eye of the beholder. 
 FCC, for example, has typically deemed that noise that is below the median values of 
man-made noise described in ITU-R P372.12 is not harmful interference; it is just noise. 
This is typically about S6 on 40 meters, so any "marginal" cases are apt to not 
pass through the FCC process much past advisory letters.   Even more key, if the devices 
meet the radiated and ac-mains conducted limits, there is no enforcement even possible 
against the manufacturer.  If there is harmful interference, as defined by the rules, 
then the operator of the device must correct it, as ordered by the FCC. So, in trying to 
address this, the manufacturer would be well within its rights to claim that it meets the 
rules and, from there, any action it took would be voluntary.  The operator is still 

Tesla and the FCC are NOT saying that systems can be put in whether there is 
interference or not; they are saying that the POTENTIAL for interference is not 
a reason for people to not be permitted to install solar systems.  This is 
correct.  There has always been a potential for Amateurs to cause interference 
to over-the-air broadcast, even from transmitters that meet the rules, but that 
potential is not enough to preclude Amateurs from installing stations in 
residential environments.  Tesla and FCC are saying the same thing.

Solar Edge is essentially the manufacturer of these products. So far, they have 
truly stepped up to the plate in a way that I believe should be appreciated, 
not criticized.  Yes, there systems are among the noisy ones, but they have 
been working with Amateurs, installing new panels, optimizers and filters, and 
virtually all of the cases that ARRL has heard about have been resolved 
correctly.  Paul Cianciolo, W1VLF, has been involved with them for almost a 
year now, and they are continuing to resolve problems on a case-by-case basis.  
Now, the scheduling for doing that can sometimes be several weeks out, but they 
are not avoiding all responsibility and are, to the contrary, stepping up in a 
way that I think we wish all manufacturers would.

We know of one case that remains unresolved.  In this case, we are getting 
different stories from the amateur and from Solar Edge. Now, so far, the 
stories we get from both sides have been in very close agreement, but in this 
case, Solar Edge has visited the site at least three times, replaced panels and 
optimizers, as we have seen done in other cases that were 100% successful, 
including at W1VLF's own home.  According to the Amateur, even when the system 
was disconnected, there was still noise, and this is dramatically different 
from what Paul experienced when they did these fixes to his own home 
installation.  Anything is possible, including the possibility that something 
was left energized to the possibility that there is some other noise source 
other than the one being worked on.  ARRL is continuing to work with Solar Edge 
and this complainant, because we want to get to the bottom of this.

We do NOT want to lose the cooperation we have with Solar Edge.  Every case that becomes 
an FCC matter, though, runs the likelihood that company lawyers, not engineers, will be 
asked to solve the problem. This case is one in point, because I can clearly see the hand 
of the legal department in writing that letter. It is correct; they have tried really 
hard to fix this, there is question and disagreement about the source of the interference 
and yes, the POTENTIAL for interference that exists with nearly any device is not a legal 
reason to stop homeowners from installing systems.   ARRL is doing all it can to try to 
keep this on track, and will, as needed, be prepared to some field work to try to get to 
the bottom of differences of opinion.  The more "official" this gets, the more 
the lawyers will be involved and we well may be one legal decision away from lawyers 
telling engineers to stop all the cooperation, or at least to run each and every step 
through the Legal Department. I have the results of that, and it ain't pretty.  I want to 
keep this on the technical level, and we will all be better off if we do.

Ed Hare, W1RFI

-----Original Message-----
From: RFI <rfi-bounces@contesting.com> On Behalf Of Kim Elmore
Sent: Monday, December 16, 2019 4:26 PM
To: Tony <dxdx@optonline.net>
Cc: Rfi List <rfi@contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [RFI] Update: Tesla's Response to Solar Panel RFI

She still doesn’t get it. It’s not a zoning issue. I think you should also contact the FCC 
agent and speak with him directly to make sure it’s understood that you’re a licensed amateur.

Kim N5OP

"People that make music together cannot be enemies, at least as long as the music 
lasts." -- Paul Hindemith

On Dec 16, 2019, at 3:20 PM, Tony <dxdx@optonline.net> wrote:


I received the following updates from Tesla's Ms. Holmen regarding the RFI 
being caused by their solar panel installation. The good news is that she will 
be meeting with SolarEdge on Wednesday. The bad is that she continues to 
deflect and place the blame elsewhere.

See below.

Tony -K2MO


Ms. Holmen:

   With the information supplied to me by you and your neighbor
   it has been determined this is purely a civil dispute between
   neighbors. Tesla and SolarEdge have done their due diligence
   to assist in your interference concern.

I recommend that you speak with an FCC agent regarding this matter. It has nothing to 
do with a dispute - it's a matter of federal regulations. 

I've attached a letter that was sent to SolarEdge headquarters in February of 
2017. The document explains the issue of radio frequency interference caused by 
solar panel installations and the FCC's role in such matters.


Hi Mr. Bombardiere,

Thank you for your email. I did speak with the FCC on Thursday of last week. 
They did advise that a homeowner has the right to install solar on their home 
regardless of potential interference. I advised the agent on the line about the 
amateur license being help by the neighbor, and they again informed me that the 
homeowner wishing to have solar is still allowed to install it on their home. 
Jonathan was the name of the agent I spoke to.

I do have a meeting with SolarEdge scheduled on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 to 
discuss the troubleshooting options and what was installed on your neighbors 

Both SolarEdge and Tesla did their due diligence on this matter attempting to 
fix this issue. I can inform you of the information I receive in this meeting 
if you would like me to.

The only options I have at this time are removing the solar system and 
cancelling your neighbors agreement or reducing his system size. Both of these 
options will come at a cost.


Ms. Holmen:

Thank you for taking the time to investigate further. With all due respect to 
the FCC agent, he should have informed you about the FCC regulations that 
pertain to electronic devices that cause RF interference.

If this same Tesla installation was causing interference with Fire or Police 
communications, the FCC would shut the system down immediately until the 
problem was fixed.

While the customer has every right to have solar panels, I'm sure you 
understand that licensed FCC operators like myself have rights as well.

I want to thank you again for all you've done and continue to do to resolve 
this issue. I'm confident that SolarEdge can come up with a solution.

I can inform you of the information I receive in this meeting if you would like 
me to.
  Please do.


Hi Mr. Bombardiere,

Thank you for your email. I did inform the FCC hotline specialist about 
interference and about a neighbor with an amateur license.

When it comes to commercial areas, the city has regulations that Tesla would 
comply with. Your neighbor and you live in a residential area, therefore 
residential solar is allowed to be installed.

Fire stations, police stations and airports all have specific regulations and 
are not in the heart of residential areas. Should these be within a specific 
area, a city or township would block permitting and inspections for these 
situations. I hope that I am explaining this information clearly.

Please let me know if you have further questions. I will keep you informed 
regarding the conversation I have with SolarEdge.

Best Regards,

*Ashley Holmen  | Specialist, Executive Resolutions*

6611 Las Vegas Blvd S., Suite 200 , Las Vegas, NV 89119

p. (650) 546-8110 | aholmen@tesla.com <mailto:aholmen@tesla.com>

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