Hot water keeps things cool

April 2014

Pacific Islands Solar is pleased to introduce Fire and Ice, a new solar hot water systems and performance enhancement for air conditioning (A/C) cooling equipment. Fire and Ice utilizes proven technology of heat transfer systems of both solar thermal technology and heat recovery unit technology (HRU).


About Fire and Ice solar thermal

The Fire and Ice system utilizes not only the unlimited energy of the sun, but also heat recovery technology from mechanical equipment such as air conditioners and heat pumps. The patent pending technology provides multiple benefits including hot water production during daytime and night time hours, as well as a significant increase in the mechanical equipment efficiency. Overall, Fire and Ice touts one of the best returns on investment in the renewable energy arena. The savings from hot water production and increased mechanical performance is virtually unmatched and can provide significant energy savings for homeowners.

The system is retrofitable to existing equipment. Your existing A/C equipment, hot water tank and traditional solar hot water systems do not have to be replaced. An additional benefit is the ability to upgrade a traditional solar hot water system with the latest technology. Three energy systems technologies are created from one. Fire and Ice creates hot water from the sun, creates hot water from the mechanical equipment (A/C) and improves the efficiency of the mechanical equipment. The system reduces the load on the compressor, thus consuming less electricity.

Up to 50 percent of your energy bill can be saved by the Fire and Ice system. Savings are proportionate to your hot water and air conditioning usage. Anyone who finds themselves using their A/C more will appreciate the energy savings from Fire and Ice system plus the benefit of additional hot water production.


Pacific Islands Solar’s goal is to provide the best solar solutions. The company only uses the best products and installs these products with a quality installation in mind. Along with the Fire and Ice system, it also installs Kyocera solar modules for PV systems, one of the best solar modules in the industry. Since Pacific Islands Solar is also a general contractor and roofing contractor, it also has the expertise to ensure that installations are leak free and well constructed.

To find out more about the Fire and Ice system or Kyocera PV system, call Pacific Islands Solar at 841-7756 or email You can also visit online at

PACIFIC ISLANDS SOLAR contact // 841-7756 web //

Exploring Your Energy Options

February 2014

Pacific Islands Solar believes that the whole energy needs of a customer should be explored to determine the best way to provide an energy saving solution. For example, does the old refrigerator need to be replaced first, since it is an energy hog, or has LED lighting been installed to replace outdated, energy-consuming lighting? Would a solar thermal hot water system make sense first, since 30 percent or more of your energy usage goes to heat up your hot water? Would energy saving window treatments keep your home cooler, therefore lowering your energy consumption? These questions need to be asked prior to designing a PV solution for your home or business.

Heat in a home causes an appliance like a refrigerator to work harder to keep things cool. If the refrigerator is kept outside, it has to compete with the warm temperatures of the area in which it is placed. Working harder to do its job, it will not be as efficient. If it is an old refrigerator, it is even less efficient in doing its task. The bottom line is that replacing these old appliances with newer efficient models is the best choice. Ask yourself if you really need that second refrigerator or freezer.

Heat in the home can be lowered by addressing the window coverings that keep out the sunlight. Keeping the home cooler with window coverings keeps refrigerators and air conditioning efficient. Pacific Islands Windows Treatment can be reached at 216-2328 to show you window coverings from Hunter Douglas that not only keep the rooms cooler, but are also an attractive way of beautifying a room.


The type of roof system covering your home has affects its internal temperatures. Energy star rated roof coverings transmit less heat into the home from the overhead sun. White or reflective roof coatings reflect about 75 percent of the sunlight, keeping a home cooler. The construction division at Pacific Islands Construction has installed many energy saving roofs for customers — like the Post Office and Pearl Highland Shopping Center — lowering their energy demands.

LED lighting will reduce energy consumption by a great amount over incandescent, and is even more efficient than a CFL light bulb. CFLs should be replaced, as they contain about 5 mg of mercury, a neurotoxin. If a bulb breaks, you are exposing yourself and your family to something that should be avoided.

Ninety percent of CFLs are made in China (quality issues), and generally require twice the wattage they are rated. LED lighting uses very little electricity, is cool to the touch, and lasts for over 10 years. An added benefit is that the light is closer to natural outdoor lighting, and the living area is not being heated by the lights. Pacific Islands has a division that specializes in LED lighting, and the company can help you save energy by talking to one of its consultants.

Solar hot water systems provide a significant savings since so much of the energy bill goes to heating your hot water. Pacific Islands Solar installs Apricus hot water systems that use evacuated tube solar collectors, which are more efficient than flat panel collectors. If you already have a system, these collectors can be used when it is time to replace your current panels. Solar hot water systems should be considered first since after the tax credits and Hawaii Energy Rebate, the systems usually pay for themselves within two years.

A PV solar system is the most common way people have solved the high cost of electricity. Pacific Islands uses Kyocera modules in its systems due to their proven long-term reliability, with nearly 40 years of manufacturing solar modules. Quality does make a difference when considering how long you expect your system to last.

Pacific Islands Solar believes that there is a correct way to solve your energy needs, and it starts with keeping you, the consumer, first in the process. It also provides cleaning and system inspections for all types of solar equipment. Call 841-7756 to find out how Pacific Islands Solar can solve your energy needs.

PACIFIC ISLANDS SOLAR contact // 841-7756 web //

Solar tips just for you

January 2014

Pacific Islands Solar has found that with time, consumers become more knowledgeable about solar energy. A neighbor’s home can been seen as a system is being installed, a contractor’s performance can be judged, and problems after the installation become known.

The following information is presented to help you, the consumer, by giving you knowledge to make wise decisions about solar:

• Solar installations have caused many roofs to leak. Most solar installers are not roofers, and the more penetrations into a roof, the more likely they will leak.

• Energy bills went up the last part of this past year for both solar customers and homes without solar. The reason for this increase was the lack of normal trade winds, causing homeowners to use more electricity to power fans and air conditioners. Refrigerators are also working harder to do their jobs, requiring more energy. There also has been a cost increase per kWh from HECO that is reflected in your utility bill.

• More manufacturers have been driven out of the industry as cheap Chinese modules continue to make the industry unprofitable. In order to keep pace with the low prices, many manufacturers have lowered the quality of their products to compete.

• HECO has determined that there are problems with grid saturation, and is conducting studies to determine how it will handle the problem moving forward. As a result, the number of new installations has slowed down considerably, and future costs to have a solar system connected to the grid are unknown. Initial information from the utility companies was that by March, the studies would be done and it would be known how much the utility will charge to have a system connected to a grid.

• Hybrid systems are being offered that do not have grid saturation issues. These systems generate power that is either used in the home, or stored in batteries to be used later. Since no energy is exported to the grid, a net metering agreement is not necessary with HECO. Hybrid systems are not a perfect solution to grid saturation, but they do offer some benefits including the homeowner having power even if the grid goes down.


• Manufacturer warranties are written to protect the manufacturer, not you, and are sold to the consumer as if they are a guarantee.

• Tax credits from both the state and federal governments are still in place to help finance the cost of a new solar system. Financial institutions have introduced programs that require no money down and no payments for two years, allowing homeowners to receive their tax credits first, and then apply to the loan at the end of the two years. There are savings every month in not having a utility bill that can be placed in a bank account.

• Leasing solar systems has created problems for people when they try to sell their home, as the new buyer may not wish to take over the lease payments. For some people, the systems have proven beneficial, but there have been reports of poor installation and customer service. Consumers have also reported that salesmen did not provide the option of purchasing, and they felt that their decisions were made without all the facts or options to acquire solar.

• Energy conservation can be realized in many ways, and this is where people should start the process. Solar hot water systems can save up to 30 percent of a utility bill, and these systems often pay for themselves within two years. LED lighting is also an excellent option.

• On a yearly basis, solar equipment needs to be serviced and the modules cleaned.

Pacific Islands Solar believes that there is a correct way to solve your energy needs, and it starts with keeping you, the consumer, first in the process. The company only uses the best components like Kyocera from Japan, which has passed the hardest salt-resistance testing in the industry, and has been making solar modules for more than 35 years. It also installs Apricus solar hot water systems, the most efficient solar panels on the market. Pacific Islands also provides cleaning and system inspections for all types of solar equipment.

PACIFIC ISLANDS SOLAR contact // 841-7756 web //

Hybrid grid systems offer a solution to oversaturation

Hybrid grid systems offer a solution to oversaturation

December 1, 2013

Recent announcements by HECO state that as a result of grid saturation, PV installations may require studies or added equipment that will add costs to solar installations. Due to the studies, installation delays may last up to a year or more before solar projects may begin. These announcements were sudden and the impact on the solar industry has been a slow down of the number of new installations and workers being laid off. Here, Pacific Islands Solar provides news as well as a solution.

Currently, HECO is performing a number of studies in grid-saturated areas that it hopes to complete by February or March. These will provide a base line for grid-saturated areas. As a grid gets saturated, HECO will use these studies to determine what equipment will be needed and paid for by the prospected solar installation owner. What these costs will be are not known, but they could be anywhere from $600 to $1,000 per kW of solar to be installed.


To consumers, this could add a significant cost to the price of their solar installations. The two unknowns are what these costs are and how long it will take HECO, for net metering purposes, to allow these installations to begin. Net metering allows the consumer to send solar-generated power to the grid. That power is credited to the consumer and can be used at a later time.

According to the rules today, you should not let your solar company install a PV system until HECO says it is OK to do so. Grid saturation information is available on HECO’s website and you as a consumer can check the status of your home to see at what saturation point your home is. There have been reports that some installers are ignoring the new rules, and it is actually illegal for installers to do so.

A solution to the problem is a hybrid grid interactive solar system that provides both grid-tied benefits with off-grid independence. No net metering agreement is needed because no power is exported back to grid, as all power generated is either used by the homeowner or sent to the customer’s battery bank to be used later. Should all of the customer’s generated power be depleted, they can purchase the additional power from HECO, since it is still connected to the grid. A controller connects the various components of this system, and it is a great way to avoid all the delays and added costs that one would be subject to as part of the net metering program.


Pacific Islands Solar has teamed up with Kyocera Solar (with 37 years of experience manufacturing solar modules) and various other equipment providers to engineer the right system for you. It can show you how economical these hybrid systems are and will only use the finest products for long-term solutions.

Pacific Islands Solar offers a 10-year system warranty and five year free system maintenance/cleaning with every purchase. Call 841-7756 to see the difference prior to making a final decision for your solar needs. The company knows you will see the difference in what it offers.

PACIFIC ISLANDS SOLAR contact // 841-7756 web //

Not ‘phased’ by rough conditions

“Not ‘phased’ by rough conditions” Nov 2013

hawaii renovate october13

Get the most from PV panels installations

“Get the most from PV panels, installations” October 2013

Recently, articles have been publishing detailing the performance factors that cause PV modules to underperform, including a New York Times article, “solar Industry Anxious over Defective panels.” These articles discuss the growing concern over the quality of PV modules and the installation practices that effect the actual energy production of these modules. These poor quality issues are being observed and reported to the extent that there is concern that the public may be unaware of the extent of the problems on what is viewed as a safe investment. Installation practices that cause the modules and inverters to operate at higher temperatures not only lower energy production, but also affect the life of the equipment. The consumer then gets lower-quality modules operating at higher temperatures, which shorten the life expectancy of the equipment and make less energy. Pacific Islands Solar understands that there are differences in the quality of the installation and products used, requiring more information to be provided to the consumer.

Hawaii has one of the toughest environments in the world for solar modules. Systems that are flushed mount to any roof and have less air flow underneath the modules. the modules and inverters can be up to 40 degrees Celsius above the ambient air temperature as a result. For each degree above 25 degrees Celsius, you lose an estimated 0.5 percent of energy production. It causes the micro-inverters to run hotter and the long-term wear on the modules is of concern. Consumers are led to believe that their warranties will protect them if anything goes wrong; the generally the consumer never gets to see the warranty until after the purchase. The correct way to mount the modules is at least 8 to 10 inches above the roof to create airflow underneath.

Most installations do not follow this practice because it is faster and cheaper to install the modules close to the roof, which isn’t in the best interest of the customer.

Solar modules need to be cleaned and inspected on a yearly basis. Monday at a lower tilt tend to have more soiling, and dirty modules can decrease energy production by up to 0.3 percent.

Quality difference are difficult to apprehend by the consumer since they generally only see brochures or know a friend who has purchased a similar system. As most systems are only a couple of years old, problems with solar modules are only now starting to be realized. Pacific Islands Solar have inspected a number of these modules and find inferior construction details such as thinner frames or glass, poor quality junction boxes with low quality connectors and poor box-to-module sealing.

Pacific Islands Solar has teamed up with Kyocera solar to concentrate efforts on educating consumers of the difference in quality between the many module manufacturers, As a Kyocera Diamond preferred partner, Pacific Islands Solar has proven to Kyocera that is installation quality matches the Kyocera total quality product delivery. Kyocera maintains quality control over every aspect of the manufacturing process and the results are proven with more than 37 years manufacturing solar modules.

Pacific Islands Solar believes the only way to protect your solar investment is by going with a module manufacturer that has a proven track record of quality and performance.

Pacific Islands Solar offers five years of free maintenance and cleaning with ever purchase.

Kyocera Shines On

“Kyocera Shines On”- September 2013

Pacific Islands Solar has found that there are many things one should know prior to choosing a photo-voltaic system. Knowledge about the company’s product, its  reliability and its history can tell you a lot about what to expect. the following information about Kyocera solar company and its product is provided for your review.

Kyocera has been in the solar industry for more than 37 years. Most companies have been in a solar for less than 10 years and are offering product warranties for 25 years. Kyocera is one of the only companies that has modules in place for more than 25 years. Kyocera is one of the only companies that has modules in place for more than 25 years, and these modules are producing more than 90 percent of their original output. this means they have experienced very little degradation. How can companies with such short track records make claims about the long-term reliability of their product without a reasonable proof of performance.

Kyocera is one of the only solar module manufacturers that made a profit last year for the sale of PV modules. Most other module manufacturers experiences heavy financial losses over the last couple of years due to Chinese manufacturers flooding the market with low-cost products. Lost profits have translated to poor-quality materials and workmanship with less quality control. Kyocera has not followed the ways of its competitors and has instead introduced higher quality frames to keep its products at the top for product reliability.

Independent testing by companies like TUV Rheinland and the Fraunhofer institute has confirmed that when Kyocera modules are tested in more extreme conditions then industry.

A recent article in the New York Times expresses concern in the industry that many solar modules being installed today have defects and a short life expectancy. For consumers, this is bad news, especially for warranties. Most consumers never see the warranty until after their purchase, and then it is to late when they realize the paper is worthless.

Kyocera has never had a module returned for being defective in Hawaii in the 10 years that its product have been installed here. This is quite remarkable, especially with Hawaii’s conditions being so harsh on modules. Kyocera has been the highest performing  module in Australia at the Dessert Knowledge Facility, where more than 20 modules are being tested. the facility took modules independent knowledge so as to ensure they were not given higher, beforehand tested modules to test. What is surprising about the results is that many supposedly high-efficiency modules are not as efficient as companies claim.

Kyocera follows the Kaizen philosophy of continual improvement, or making change for the better. Most companies try to make their products more profitable and look at the bottom line as the key to their success. Kyocera feels that making a cheaper product is not the most important measure to achieve. Making a commitment to continual improvement to a higher- quality product provides the best value in the end to the consumer. As the company says, “others will make cheaper  products, nut not one will make a better product than Kyocera.”

In the average household, there are more than 250 components made by Kyocera, which other manufacturers use to make their products. Kyocera may not be the best known company in the U.S., but the brand’s loyalty to quality affects you every day with these products in your home.

Pacific Islands Solar is the only Kyocera Diamond installer in Hawaii, having demonstrated it’s full attention to quality installations by using only the best equipment and installation practices. The company provides a free five-year service package with installation that cleans and inspects your system every year to ensure your system is being maintained.


The stright answers to solar energy questions

“The straight answer to solar energy questions”- August 2013

Pacific Islands Solar believes that there are questions the consumer needs to be aware of in order to make an informed decision when considering solar energy.

Today, many companies offer various incentives to get consumers to call them, leading homeowners to believe they are getting a good deal. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and this trend stops the process of evaluating a system, which is so important in today’s solar environment. The inducements do not address the quality of the modules, construction methods, servicing of equipment or long-term service life of the equipment.

Pacific Islands Solar believes the customer comes first and aims to provide the best equipment with the best installation. Consider the following prior to purchasing or leasing a PV system.

-The PV system will be installed on your roof. Good roofing practices need to be followed so the roof does not leak and the PV modules stay on your roof during high winds.

-Purchasing, leasing and power purchasing agreements are three options to get solar energy. The latter two options contract you to an agreement of up to 20 years or longer, which may have some disadvantages. Purchasing also has its pitfalls if the wrong equipment is installed and problem occur. Pacific Islands Solar consultants can explain the pros and cons of each of each of these options.

-Few PV manufacturers are profitable, and as a result, more performance issues have come to light. Most solar contractors submit bids to consumers based on the lowest equipment cost they can get and are concerned about future ramifications to the buyer. Pacific Islands Solar believes this is not right and cares about the customer’s future.

-As more manufactures are going out of business or leaving the industry, warranties are becoming worthless. There will only about a dozen PV module manufactures left after the dust clears with the current consolidation.

-Equipment warranties are written to protect the manufactures and are not guarantees. Warranties exclude things like damage that occurs during shipping.

-Special offers being advertised can be misleading. The goal of advertising is to get you to buy a product, so beware that there always is something you need to know that might change your mind about what a great deal the special offer is.

Pacific Islands Solar is a part of Pacific Islands Construction, a general contractor, roofing contractor and solar contractor, The company advises you to make an informed solar decision.


Are your solar panels up to par?

“Are your solar panels up to par?”- July 2013

Recently, an article was published in the New York times titled “Solar industry Anxious over Defective Panels.” according to the article, there is a growing concern over the quality of materials and workmanship used in manufacturing photovoltaic panels. The issues regarding quality are being observed and reported to the extent that there is concern in the industry that they may disillusion the public’s view of a safe investment.

The public’s general misconception is that every manufacturer’s quality is the same and that modules should be treated as commodity. Pacific Islands Solar Understands that there are difference in quality and feels that it is the company’s duty as a solar contractor to educate the public about those differences.

At Pacific Islands Solar, It’s professionals believe that the only way to protect your solar investment is by going with a module manufacturer that has a proven track record of quality and performance. Kyocera has been manufacturing modules for more than 37 years. as opposed to most manufactures that have less than 10 years of experience and are vertically integrated. From the production of silicon raw materials to the assembly of module frames and everything in between, Kyocera maintains quality control over every aspect of the manufacturing process and the results are proven by the following:

- Kyocera is the first manufacturer to pass TUV Rheinland long-term sequential testing.

-It is one of only manufacturers of 13 to clear a high voltage stress test with zero degradation conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute (modules were secretly acquired to ensure accurate test results).

-Kyocera has the highest performing module out of many tier-1 manufacturers in independent testing at Dessert Knowledge Australia.

-In 10 years in Hawaii, Kyocera has never had a module returned as defective product.

Hawaii has one of the toughest environments for solar modules and it demands well made products that meet these conditions. Consumers are led to believe that their warranties will protect them if anything goes wrong, and these documents are written to protect the manufacturer, not the consumer. Read the exclusions and check the company’s financial strength because it may be out of business in a few short years.

Pacific Islands Solar offers five years of free maintenance and cleaning with every purchase. It also offers a seven year guarantee that your roof will not leak. The company only uses the highest quality products rather than cheaper, lower- quality products, and it offers leasing, purchase and power purchase options. It has financing options available with no money down and no interest for two years.

Call Pacific Islands Solar at 841-7756 to find out the difference prior to making a final decision for your solar needs. The company believes you will see the difference in what it offers.


Things to consider before buying, leasing a PV system

“Things to consider before buying, leasing a PV system” June 2013

Pacific Islands Construction desires to provide a comprehensive approach to the solar industry. It Is a solar company that is also a general and roofing contractor, which makes it better able to install and maintain your solar system. The company also provides both purchasing and leasing options as well as power purchase agreements.

Keep in mind the following facts regarding solar:

Fact No.1

Solar modules are installed on your roof, and a result, they need to be flashed properly so your roof does not leak. The system also needs to be installed so that the modules withstand high wind speeds and will not blow off your roof. Pacific Islands Solar- a division of Pacific Islands Construction- only uses roofing industry standard details to flash the roof penetrations, and only uses racking systems that have been tested by third- party testing agencies. Many systems are being installed below the standard in order for the contractor to be more profitable, not to make your project better.

Fact No. 2

The consolidation of the PV module manufacturing industry continues with many companies either going bankrupt or closing their factories. Pacific Islands Solar philosophy is to only use products from manufacture’s that are solvent and in a good financial position to stay in business. the company believes that the Japanese manufactures Kyocera, which has been manufacturing solar modules for more than 37 years, is the best choice in solar manufactures.

Kyocera modules are made to very exacting standards that other manufacturer’s ignore, inclusive of heavy reinforcement of the module frames and a potted junction box to protect the electrical connections. No other company in the industry can match Kyocera’s performance, and new testing standards confirm that its quality exceeds more stringent testing that others are failing in. Kyocera is not only profitable, but it is also one of the few manufactures that can say it has been making solar modules longer than the current warranties- and it has a track record to prove it.

Fact No.3

Solar systems need to be maintained, and Pacific Islands Solar provides five years of free cleaning and maintenance inspection with your purchase or lease. The service will make your system work more efficiently, which allows more power to produced, and it will catch any problems early on.

Fact No.4

Oftentimes consumers figure that the lowest price is the best system to purchase. Not all solar modules are made equal despite the warranty claims that are filled with exclusions and legal language to eliminate liability. Contractors who buy the cheapest components and install with a minimal attachment system prey on the consumer’s lack of knowledge. In the end, the consume pays for this down the road with equipment that fails, roofs that leak and lower energy production as the equipment gets older.


Be an informed buyer when switching to solar

“Be an informed buyer when switching to solar” May 2013

In addition to being a solar company, Pacific Islands Construction is a general and roofing contractor, which makes it better able to install and maintain your solar system. Pacific Islands Solar is a division of the company that takes the approach that doing what is right for the customer is what is best for the company.

Pacific Islands Solar looks at the products that can be used and only uses what us determined to be the best. It keeps abreast of the latest issues and is prepared to provided prospective buyers with information that makes them informed buyers with information that makes them informed buyers.

There are many issues regarding the solar industry that the consumers should understand before he or she makes an investment in a photovoltaic (PV) system. As a customer or prospective buyer, having a company that provides the greatest value and service is important when there are so many options. The following information is provided to help educate you to know if you’re getting a great deal or not.

Product bankability is a new buzz word in the solar industry that customers consider because of the large expenditure and / or potential risk these projects expose investorsor buyers to initially the evaluation focused on the financial strength of the manufacturer and the long-term value there is for warranties, etc. Bankability has taken on another value, as product quality is being considered because of a rising number of product defects. Since long-term service life is considered in the valuation and product defects need to be avoided, bankability considers both the financial strength of the manufacturer and also its ability to provide proven product quality.

The industry has become enamored with “cost per watt: and the downward spiral in prices. Solar modules are being sold as if they are all equal or just a commodity. Experts are warning that the fallout from the price-per-watt mentality has manufacturers using inferior components to get to these price points and the consumer will have purchased equipment with a short life expectancy in the long run.

The consolidation of the PV module manufacturing industry continues with bankruptcies of manufacture’s factories such as Suntech, once the largest solar companies in the world, and a warning by the Chinese government advising banks not to loan money to Chinese solar manufacturers because of the credit risk.

The crisis in the solar manufacturing business affects consumers when long term warranties they believe in are no longer valid, and when quality issues arise as manufactures who are losing money place more value on trying to stay in business and less on quality of their products, The financial health of the manufactures of the solar equipment is a major concern for Pacific Islands Solar and it believes that its customers should only be provided with solutions from financially sound sources.

Pacific Islands Solar believes that a company like Kyocera, a Japanese company that has been manufacturing solar modules for more than 37 years and is diversified in its industries, is the best choices for solar modules. Kyocera is among the select few solar manufactures that are profitable. These modules are not known to fail and aren’t returned because of failure. Modules that were manufactured more than 25 years ago are still producing more than 90 percent of their original rated output. No other company in the industry can match Kyocera’s performance, and new testing standards confirm in the industry can match Kyocera’s performance, and new testing standards confirm that Kyocera’s quality excels in the stringent testing others are failing in.

There is a lot to consider when purchasing a PV system. Price is often a reflection of poor installation practices and using lower quality manufacturers who will not be in business in the future. Pacific Islands Solar feels that it is our responsibility to provide what is right for its customer, not what is the cheapest thing that can be installed. Pacific Islands Solar can be reached by calling 841-7756 if you are interested in discussing your PV needs. You can also email us at

New tests reveal issues in quality

” New tests reveal issues in quality ” March 2013

Consumers generally do not understand the issues that arise with photovoltaic (PV) modules and their construction. As a result, there has been a flood of modules that have come on the market claiming to be just as good as, or better, than other ones. Well- known names for other consumer products have also brought products onto the market and consumers assume that they must be good.

The fact is they are not always good, and new extensive testing indicates that the problems tend to surface in around seven to eight years. The new testing is being done to prove the bankability of solar modules and manufactures long-term warranty claims. Pacific Islands Construction wants to keep you informed, and the following is what these new tests are finding that indicate that not all modules are equal:

-New tests indicate that there is a problem called “snail trails”. The Phenomenon is so called because of the appearance of dark trails on the modules’ surface causing hot spots and underperformance. More than 25 manufacturers have been found so far to have this problem. The cause of it has not been fully determined, but likely factors include micro- cracks in cells, cheaper components, weaker frames and poor construction.

-The tests have indicated that many modules seem to have been built to meet only the minimum standards, and these new, more stringent tests can predict the life expectancy of solar modules. Few modules are actually passing these new tests, and this information is being used by financial institutions who are investing in 20 year solar farm projects to protect their

Pacific Islands Construction believes that it is our responsibility to provide what is right for our customers. It provides options inclusive of purchase, leasing and a PPA. The company can be reached at 841-7756 if you are interested in discussing your PV needs.

The latest 411 in the industry- Hawai Renovations Feb 2013

“The latest 411 in the industry” Feb 2013

Pacific Islands Construction believes there are many issues about the solar industry that consumers should understand before or after they make an investment in a photovoltaic system. The following information is provided to help educate the consumer:

The consolidation of the PV module manufacturing industry continues with many companies closing their business or making cut backs in order to potentially survive. Every quarter these companies are reporting significant losses of selling products below the cost to produce them.

Bosch reported 1 billion euros in impairments and losses their solar division in 2012 sharp closed its production facilities in the U.S. and is reportedly only selling modules in Japan at this point. and stock prices of solar companies are at an all- time low.

What does this mean to the consumer? You need to know the financials of the product that is being placed on your roof if you except the warranty to mean anything. You also need to be aware that companies are less concerned about quality as this costs more and companies are paying less attention to what are producing.

here are a few things to keep in mind: All photovoltaic systems need to be maintained and inspected yearly to prevent expensive repairs down the road. Modules also should be cleaned of various deposits on surface causing depreciation in energy performance. having your system inspected will reveal issues such as loose electrical cables, modules not secured to racking systems, roof flashings in need of attention to prevent leaks, and inverters problems.

Various ways of installing solar on your are available, including purchase, leasing and power purchase agreements (PPA). Leasing and PPA has someone else installing a PV system on your home at no cost to you, and you agreeing to buy the power it produces at a greatly reduced price or pay a discounted fee for the power that is produced.

Pacific Islands Construction can answer the questions you have fir your home in an honest and sincere manner, Give the company the opportunity to show you why we are right choice.


Solar Industry Anxious Over Defective Panels

Solar Industry Anxious Over Defective Panels

(Posted in: New York Times)

Coatings that protect the panels disintegrated while other defects caused two fires that took the system offline for two years, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenues.

It was not an isolated incident. Worldwide, testing labs, developers, financiers and insurers are reporting similar problems and say the $77 billion solar industry is facing a quality crisis just as solar panels are on the verge of widespread adoption. No one is sure how pervasive the problem is. There are no industrywide figures about defective solar panels. And when defects are discovered, confidentiality agreements often keep the manufacturer’s identity secret, making accountability in the industry all the more difficult. But at stake are billions of dollars that have financed solar installations, from desert power plants to suburban rooftops, on the premise that solar panels will more than pay for themselves over a quarter century. The quality concerns have emerged just after a surge in solar construction. In the United States, the Solar Energy Industries Association said that solar panel generating capacity exploded from 83 megawatts in 2003 to 7,266 megawatts in 2012, enough to power more than 1.2 million homes. Nearly half that capacity was installed in 2012 alone, meaning any significant problems may not become apparent for years. “We need to face up to the fact that corners are being cut,” said Conrad Burke, general manager for DuPont’s billion-dollar photovoltaic division, which supplies materials to solar manufacturers. The solar developer Dissigno has had significant solar panel failures at several of its projects, according to Dave Williams, chief executive of the San Francisco-based company. “I don’t want to be alarmist, but I think quality poses a long-term threat,” he said. “The quality across the board is harder to put your finger on now as materials in modules are changing every day and manufacturers are reluctant to share that information.”

Most of the concerns over quality center on China, home to the majority of the world’s solar panel manufacturing capacity. After incurring billions of dollars in debt to accelerate production that has sent solar panel prices plunging since 2009, Chinese solar companies are under extreme pressure to cut costs. Chinese banks in March, for instance, forced Suntech into bankruptcy. Until 2012, the company had been the world’s biggest solar manufacturer. Executives at companies that inspect Chinese factories on behalf of developers and financiers said that over the last 18 months they have found that even the most reputable companies are substituting cheaper, untested materials. Other brand-name manufacturers, they said, have shut down production lines and subcontracted the assembly of modules to smaller makers. “We have inspectors in a lot of factories, and it’s not rare to see some big brands being produced in those smaller workshops where they have no control over quality,” said Thibaut Lemoine, general manager of STS Certified, a French-owned testing service. When STS evaluated 215,000 photovoltaic modules at its Shanghai laboratory in 2011 and 2012, it found the defect rate had jumped from 7.8 percent to 13 percent. In one case, an entire batch of modules from one brand-name manufacturer listed on the New York Stock Exchange proved defective, Mr. Lemoine said. He declined to identify the manufacturer, citing confidentiality agreements.

“Based on our testing, some manufacturers are absolutely swapping in cheap Chinese materials to save money,” Jenya Meydbray, chief executive of PV Evolution Labs, a Berkeley, Calif., testing service. SolarBuyer, a company based in Marlborough, Mass., discovered defect rates of 5.5 percent to 22 percent during audits of 50 Chinese factories over the last 18 months, said Ian Gregory, the company’s senior marketing director. Some Chinese manufacturers acknowledge that quality has become a problem “There are a lot of shortcuts being taken, and unfortunately it’s by some of the more reputable companies and there’s also been lot of new companies starting up in recent years without the same standards we’ve had at Suntech,” said Stuart Wenham, the chief technology officer of Suntech, which is based in Jiangsu Province in eastern China. When asked about quality standards, Trina Solar, one of the largest Chinese manufacturers, said in an e-mailed response, “For Trina, quality will not be compromised in our cost-reduction efforts.” The heart of a solar panel is a photovoltaic cell that generates electricity when struck by sunlight. Among the most critical components are a thin film that protects the cell from moisture, and the encapsulant that seals the cell between layers of glass. Mr. Gregory said repeat inspections of factories found some manufacturers had been constantly switching to cheaper materials, including some whose use-by date had expired. “If the materials aren’t good or haven’t been thoroughly tested, they won’t stick together and the solar module will eventually fall apart in the field,” he said. That’s what happened in 2011 at a year-old Australian solar plant, Mr. Meydbray of PV Evolution said. Testing confirmed that substandard materials were causing the Chinese-made modules’ protective coating to degrade, he said. The power plant operator declined to be identified. “I think quality is increasingly a concern, but it’s not a major issue yet,” said Rhone Resch, chief executive of the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group. “As companies race to cut their costs, some who are on the edge may take short cuts.” The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has studied the performance of solar panels up to 2010, according to Sarah Kurtz, a scientist who manages the laboratory’s photovoltaic reliability group. “The question is whether things are deteriorating rapidly or whether it’s a few isolated companies not doing so well on their quality control,” she said. “I hear a lot of angst, but I haven’t seen a lot of solid information.” All solar panels degrade and gradually generate less electricity over time. But a review of 30,000 installations in Europe by the German solar monitoring firm Meteocontrol found 80 percent were underperforming. Testing of six manufacturers’ solar panels at two Spanish power plants by Enertis Solar in 2010 found defect rates as high as 34.5 percent. Enfinity operates solar installations in Europe and the United States. Bob Hopper, Enfinity’s chief development officer, said his company had stopped buying Chinese modules because of quality concerns. “Even a small amount of unforecasted degradation in electricity production can have significant economic impact on us,” he said. In the Netherlands, René Moerman, chief strategy officer of Solar Insurance and Finance, said claims had risen 15 percent recently. He said an inspection of a solar plant in Britain in March revealed that 12 percent of the newly installed Chinese-made modules had failed. He said confidentiality agreements prevented him from naming the manufacturer. Other solar developers and installers said they had not experienced quality problems.

“The systems we installed in 2012 had the best performing year yet,” said Lyndon Rive, chief executive of SolarCity, the largest residential solar installer in the United States and a buyer of panels from China’s Yingli Solar and Trina. Non-Chinese manufacturers have had quality problems as well. The defective panels installed on the Los Angeles area warehouse, for instance, were made by an American manufacturer. A reporter was granted access to the project on the condition that the parties’ identities not be disclosed because of a confidential legal settlement. First Solar, one of the United States’ biggest manufacturers, has set aside $271.2 million to cover the costs of replacing defective modules it made in 2008 and 2009. Nor are all solar developers shunning Chinese manufacturers. The United States subsidiary of Yingli, the world’s largest solar panel maker since 2012, won a contract last year to supply solar panels for a California power plant. “The one thing I can tell you is that Yingli does not cut corners,” said Brian Grenko, vice president for operations at Yingli Americas, adding that only 15 defective modules had been returned to the company out of 2.8 million shipped to the United States since 2009. Still, Yingli executives acknowledge that quality has become a competitive issue. The company now offers a comprehensive insurance policy to customers and has established its own testing laboratory in the San Francisco area. Mr. Wenham, the Suntech executive, said manufacturers needed to be held accountable and advocated creating testing labs not beholden to the industry that would assess quality. “We need to start naming names,” he said.



Don’t Let the Solar Industry “Burn” You (Hawaii Renovation 11/11/12)

Pacific Islands Construction believes there are many issues regarding the solar industry that the consumer should understand before and after they make an investment in a photovoltaic system. The following information is provided to help educate the consumer.

The PV manufacturing sector is in the midst of a protracted downturn because of aggressive capacity build-up in the last few years, as well as severely curtailed subsidies in major feed-in tariff markets, which result in massive supply-demand imbalances. As a result, GTM Research reported last week that it expects up to 180 PV manufacturers will either be bankrupt, consolidated or just exit the market over the next two years. It also has been concluded that even larger diversified firms — such as LG, Samsung, Sharp, Panasonic and Bosch — will exit the market to cut their losses after concluding that they have no competitive edge.

What does this mean for module warranties and defective equipment servicing?

Defective modules have turned up in greater numbers over the last few years with power losses that have exceeded 30 percent. One defect is called Potential Induced Degradation, which is a leakage of current flows between cells and module frames. The resulting power loss and cell degradation is just the beginning of what many fear is a common problem rather than an exception. Photon magazine recently wrote about “snail trails,” which have been found in more than 25 manufacturer’s modules. The discolored appearance in the module signifies hot spots, which result in less energy produced. For the most part, the industry has kept these problems out of public view, especially in light of the industry’s economic conditions. It might be argued that these problems are the economic result of poor profitability within the industry.

Poor installation practices within the local industry are also a concern when considering temperature response and wind uplift. PV modules should be elevated about 10 inches off the roof to help ventilate and cool the modules. PV modules operating at higher temperatures have significantly reduced voltage. Long-term, higher operating temperatures in the modules lead to premature degradation of the module encapsulation. For the above reasons, it is desirable to install modules to allow them to remain as cool as possible. Most systems in Hawaii are installed too close to roof surfaces, resulting in less power and shorter life spans.

There is a lot to consider when purchasing a PV system. Price is often a reflection of poor installation practices and using lower-quality manufacturers that will not be in business in the future. Pacific Islands Construction feels that it is its responsibility to provide what is right for its customers, not what is the cheapest option. Pacific Islands Construction can be reached by calling 841-7756 if you are interested in discussing your PV needs. Or visit