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You may have recently received an email from SolarEdge regarding a change in the communication system for your inverter. In an effort to help our customers understand this change, we are reaching out to you to let you know that you are one of our 1,800 clients affected by the upcoming shut down of 3G prepaid wireless networks. This affects you because your inverter has a cellular card which uses the 3G network to communicate production and inverter faults. It also allows SolarEdge and Solar Maintenance Pros Inc. DBA Solar Negotiators to push important firmware updates, actively monitor your system, and provide customers access and visibility to their solar production information.

What can I do?

Luckily one of SolarEdge’s approved partners will be performing all the cellular network installation upgrades for all affected customers across the country including those in our client base. We have approximated the cost of a new modem/cellular data card with a 5-year data plan and installation to be around $495.00 per cellular modem. As acknowledged in your solar agreement, a cellular card renewal is mandatory every 5 years for solar customers to maintain their inverter’s communication and monitoring capabilities. This renewal will simply take place earlier in your cycle, along with a modem upgrade. The estimated cost for a cellular data card/modem renewal as described in your contract would have been $400.00 at the end of your initial 5-year period, for an additional 5 years. SolarEdge understands that for most clients, their installed cell cards and modems are not set to expire before the network will be shut down. 3G network providers will be shutting down on the following dates:

  • CDMA Sprint: March 31, 2022
  • GSM: April 1, 2022
  • CDMA Aeris: December 31, 2022

Due to this inconvenience, for any customer that accepts Option 1 below, SolarEdge will extend the 5-year period to a 7-year period through December 31st, 2028, providing customers with two extra years of coverage for the inconvenience this has caused. If you do not choose to move forward with an upgrade, you will be at risk of losing certain warranty coverages from both Solar Negotiators’ Labor Warranty and your inverter manufacturer warranty. Please notify SMP at your earliest convenience by email or phone which of the following options you would prefer.

What are my options?

Option 1:

Accept the 7-year option with SolarEdge’s approved partner to install a new card, which is valid through Dec 31, 2028. This cost is estimated to be approximately $495.00 to be paid directly to SolarEdge’s approved partner by the customer and will not require a visit by Solar Negotiators.

Option 2: (Recommended by Solar Negotiators)

Decline cell card installation by SolarEdge’s approved partner and have Solar Negotiators install a new 5-year card for $295.00 This data plan will only be good for 5 years.

Option 3:

Decline cell card renewal and installation by SolarEdge’s approved partner and request a hardwired solution with a Zigbee. A customized quote will be needed from Solar Negotiators. This will have a minimum cost of $750.00 and maximum cost of $1,350.00, and the quote will include running-cat cabling as well as Zigbee gateway device and requires the customer to provide their own internet service provider connection. Cost variation depends on attic access, modem location, the number of technician hours, and distance between inverter and modem. This option is recommended for clients with multiple inverters and will prevent having multiple cellular card upgrades.

Warranty Consideration: This option will include a truck roll fee of $95.00 for subsequent service calls related to communication issues resulting from a customer’s internet service provider interruptions or a customer’s mishandling of installed communications equipment.

Option 4: (Not recommended)

Decline all options and accept loss of access to SolarEdge inverter monitoring, Solar Negotiators’ active monitoring, and risk losing warranty coverage from SolarEdge and Solar Negotiators. If this creates a financial hardship, please contact us and we will see if we are able to assist you.

Why isn’t this covered under my contractor warranty?

Solar Negotiators proudly provides installation, workmanship, and equipment warranties to our clients to ensure peace-of-mind in relation to their solar investment. However, Solar Negotiators does not provide warranty coverage against advancements in technology related to the communications networks in the cellular industry. This issue is not the result of faulty or poorly manufactured equipment nor of improper workmanship on part of the contractor. This is the result of a nationwide cellular communications network shut down, and is not covered under your installation warranty with Solar Negotiators.

Although we will recommend to our clients to select Option 1 because it will mean two extra years of service, Option 2 above represents an attempt to provide a resolution to our clients at a lower cost.

When will this happen?

To ensure none of our customers are impacted by connectivity issues, this transition will begin in early January. We are being proactive in issuing a notice early to all our affected clients.

A small number of clients will fall back onto the 2G network, which will be available until the end of 2022. To find out if you are eligible, please contact our team. However, please keep in mind that the transfer to 2G can cause monitoring problems if you are in an area with poor cellular service.

What are the next steps?

One of SolarEdge’s approved partners will contact you in early January to schedule your service appointment. However, you can expect a phone call from a Solar Negotiators team member within the next 21 days to discuss your upgrade options and answer any questions you may have regarding these changes. We appreciate your patience through this process and hope you know that we are doing everything in our power to make this a smooth transition and to stay informed of the necessary steps to ensure the updates take place on-time for all of our clients.

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