Hawaii Renovation


Helping Homeowners Learn About PV Systems

July 7, 2012
Posted in: EnergyExteriorRoofing

Pacific Islands Construction has a goal to help those considering a photovoltaic system for their home become more knowledgeable. Having knowledge is a great equalizer between the buyer and seller, but generally the buyer is at a great disadvantage. The following information is provided so that buyers may be better informed:

1. A silicon solar cell’s performance dramatically declines when it reaches a temperature higher than 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit). How modules are installed on the roof matters when it comes to ventilation on the under-side of modules.

2. Dirty modules and corroded wires or connections will affect energy production.

3. A reduction in cell thickness and poor quality in construction have been recent problems. The lack of robustness of solder connections in these fragile cells and other stress factors have caused micro fractures and hot spots. Recent observations show what appear to be trails across the cells where the solder has gotten so hot over the fracture that a reaction has occurred, blemishing the cells and lowering energy output.

4. Cells within the modules are wired in series, and the modules are no better than the weakest cell. Energy production is greatly reduced when low-quality cells are used and quality control is lax.

5. PV manufacturers are not profitable because of market conditions.

Companies are either leaving the industry or going bankrupt. Many of those still in the industry have cut back on quality to survive. Customers should be very careful when selecting a manufacturer. Even trusted names have lowered in quality.

6. Efficiency ratings of modules have been engineered by manufacturers to cast their product in the best light. Every manufacturer would like you to believe that its product is the best, and salespeople will point to these tests as proof. The industry does not oversee what is actually coming off the assembly line in comparison to what was tested.

7. The system will generally be installed on your roof, and that requires careful consideration. Are the correct flashing details for your type of roofing being used? Has the racking system been tested to meet high winds or just rated? Are the structural elements of roof assembly engaged in securing the system? Are the conduits and wiring all properly secured? Customers need to check the installations performed by contractors they are considering.

8. Warranties are written as sales tools and have many limitations to protect the manufacturer. Most people trust the warranties without having read them. Warranties are not guarantees.

9. As a general rule, most systems are sold without any maintenance plans, and owners believe that the warranties will protect them from any future problems. Pacific Islands Construction provides free maintenance with every system purchase because the company knows that this is in the best interest of the equipment and installation. To protect the long-term investment, it is critical that these systems are serviced and protected, otherwise repairs not covered by the warranties will be quite expensive.

If you are looking to make an informed decision, call Pacific Islands Construction at 841-7756 to talk to one of its trained consultants. They can provide you with answers to many of your questions without the sales gimmicks.

The company believes that an informed consumer will make a better decision when purchasing a solar energy system. If you believe in quality, let Pacific Island Construction show you why Kyocera is the best choice for solar. Since the company also is a licensed roofer/contractor, it can ensure the best installation on your roof.

Call Pacific Islands Construction or visit the website at pacificislandsconstruction.net.

contact // 841-7756
web // Pacificislandsconstruction.net

Giving Wind Energy Systems a Whirl

Posted: Energy

Solar electric systems provide power during daylight hours or when the sun is shining, but what about providing energy when there is no sunlight? At Pacific Islands Construction, we work tirelessly to bring you products and services at the cutting edge of energy efficiency and sustainability. In that pursuit, we are proud to present the Zefr, a small wind turbine that operates as part of the modular and scalable Wind Array Turbine System (WATS) developed by JLM Energy Inc. of Rocklin, California. Zefr turbines make up WATS to collectively harness the power of the wind, routing the power of 20 turbines into a single smart inverter to reduce your carbon footprint and lower your energy costs.

Small wind turbine array challenges

Because of the variability in wind gusts, it has been very difficult to harness energy from multiple interconnected wind turbines. Turbines that would be spinning faster than others would send power down the line of their adjacent counterparts and further slow, or completely disrupt, those generators. This posed a challenge in the scalability and distribution of small wind turbine systems — until now.

Don’t let its small size fool you

Coming in with a 36-inch rotor diameter, the Zefr packs an arsenal of cutting-edge technology. JLM Energy’s Zefr turbine overcame the technological obstacles by developing a new wind turbine that houses revolutionary power electronics. The power created from every Zefr turbine in the Wind Array Turbine System flows through the same tethered cable harness without disrupting the power generation of neighboring turbines. A 3.6kW smart inverter, which seamlessly and optimally generates the maximum amount of power, converts the power from 20 Zefr turbines into common AC electricity. Additionally, JLM engineers keep a close eye on the quality of their products by keeping manufacturing in the U.S.

Bringing you efficiency and flexibility

Traditionally, a single turbine was a big investment with no opportunity for scalability. The inherent small size of the Zefr and easy-mounting features make it flexible to put multiple units on a roof line, parapet or other structural surfaces that enable a seamless blend into the architectural landscape of your building. It also is easy to scale up your energy production at any point down the road simply by adding more turbines.

Whether you’re a small or large business, owner of a residential complex or simply a homeowner interested in lowering your carbon footprint and monthly utility bill, the Wind Array Turbine System offers the modularity to easily customize the installation.

The Wind Array Turbine System also comes with JLM’s energy monitoring software so that you can track each Zefr’s energy production in real time. That way, you can see your investment saving you money and also determine whether your system is running optimally or not.

Finding out more

Visit booths 234 and 235 at the Summer New Product Show today, June 10 at the Blaisdell, or call us at 841-7756. You also can visit us online at www.pacificislandconstruction.com to learn more about Zefr and what it can offer you. We install solar electric, solar thermal and now wind power systems. Our goal is to provide complete satisfaction now and into the future by providing our customers with the best-constructed solar and wind energy systems. Find out more about what we feel are the finest-made systems that will last and produce for a lifetime.

contact // 841-7756
web // Pacificislandsconstruction.net

 

Putting Energy Into Wind, Solar Power (June 2, 2012)

Pacific Islands Construction (PIC) provides energy solutions with product installation for solar energy (PV), solar thermal (hot water) and wind energy. As a solutions-based contractor, installing high-quality equipment that will provide long-term service is the company’s goal. Its product line includes Kyocera solar modules, one of the oldest solar module manufacturers in the industry, known for making very high-quality and robust PV modules. It also installs hot water modules from Apricus, which need less area to make hot water than traditional flat panels because of evacuated tubes. PIC also has recently introduced micro wind turbines from JLM Energy for making electricity 24/7.

What makes PIC stand above the competition is its experience as a general contractor, roofing contractor and solar contractor. All of these disciplines are needed for energy system installations because they require knowledge in carpentry to attach the solar modules, waterproofing for the roof penetrations and electrical knowledge for the correct system configuration. Pacific Islands Construction has it all covered whereas others may have strength in only one area.

Another area that sets the company apart is its knowledge of the industry and desire to share that expertise. As many manufacturers are exiting the industry because of financial loss or low-volume sales, PIC has carefully selected its business partners to insure its clients with the best products from companies that will be in business in the future and honor warranties. The solutions need to be with companies that have strong financials and are committed to providing high-quality services, not just a low price. PIC also has educated its staff to provide the customer with valuable information to help educate themselves.

Here are a few points that PIC believes every person should follow prior to selecting a system and contractor:

• Does the installation include roofing industry details for roof penetrations?

• Has the racking system that holds the modules on the roof been tested by an independent third party to verify the system will stay in place when there are high winds?

• Does the system installation come with a maintenance program that protects your investment by maintaining equipment, as opposed to providing a warranty that is not proactive in protecting your equipment?

• Have you been provided with copies of the warranties to see what is really provided?

• Have you inspected the contractor installations to see what details they use in their construction and what the quality of the workmanship is?

• Do the manufacturers of the equipment have a good track record in the industry, and are they financially strong?

Pacific Islands Construction will be at the Summer New Product Show at Blaisdell Center Exhibition Hall June 8-10, when you can view the Zefr micro wind turbines, the Kyocera PV modules and the Apricus solar hot water system. Contact the company by calling 841-7756 for an appointment or visiting its website at pacificislandsconstruction.net.

PIC believes that an informed consumer will make a better decision when purchasing a solar energy system. It makes the effort to provide customers with the peace of mind that they have selected a contractor that is providing both outstanding value and the best-quality equipment. Trust in the company because there really is a difference in its quality of installation and equipment selected.

CONTACT: 841-7756
WEBSITE: pacificislandsconstruction.net

Maintaining Solar Energy Systems (Hawaii Renovation Magazine)

April 7, 2012

Pacific Islands Construction has a goal to help photovoltaic (PV) owners and those considering solar energy for their home become more knowledgeable about their purchase. As a general rule, most systems are sold without any maintenance plans, and owners believe that the warranties will protect them from any future problems. Pacific Islands Construction provides free maintenance with every system purchase because we know that this is not in the best interest of the equipment and installation. To protect the long-term investment, it is critical that these systems are serviced and protected, otherwise repairs not covered by the warranties will be quite expensive.

What is not covered in the warranties? Most warranties cover the module construction for only five to 10 years. Energy performance warranties are usually for 25 years. Inverters have warranties for anywhere from 10 to 25 years. In the fine print are many exclusions, and this is where the term “limited” comes into play. Consumers become far too comfortable thinking the warranties will cover everything, and this is where future costly repairs can eliminate all of the savings one is expecting from owning a system.

The following system maintenance should be performed yearly:

• Modules should be cleaned periodically. Cleaning them will increase energy production. It also will remove contaminants that may corrode the metal components.

• Roof penetrations need to be inspected to insure they are watertight. If the roof penetration’s waterproofing is failing, allowing water to enter the building, it causes damage to interior items that come into contact with it. Inspections helps to prevent this from happening.

• All cables and wires on the roof need to be inspected to insure that they are not setting on the roof and show no signs of deterioration. Electric cable attached to modules can get loose from securement and will blow back and forth on the roof as a result of the wind. This damages the cable and leads to a costly repair.

• Electrical connections need to be inspected to insure no arcing occurs between connections, which can lead to bigger problems.

• Inverters need to be cleaned and inspected. Inverters become hotter when they have dust or dirt on or in them. Cleaning will keep them operating at cooler temperatures, making them more efficient.

• Modules need to be inspected to make sure they are securely attached to the racking system and there are no loose connections from any hardware to the roof. Modules that blow off roofs are costly in many ways other than just the module replacement.

The long-term system performance is dependent on the quality of the product and the periodic servicing of the equipment. Pacific Islands Construction will service most manufactured equipment, and this will help protect your investment.

Pacific Islands Construction provides a comprehensive education on solar energy with every presentation we give. The more you know, the better your decision will be. Contact Pacific Islands Construction by calling 841-7756 for a consultation or emailing pic05@ hawaii.rr.com. The company’s goal is complete satisfaction, now and into the future, by providing the best constructed/installed solar energy system. Find out what we believe are the finest-made systems that will last and produce over the expected lifetime.

CONTACT: 841-7756
WEBSITE: pacificislandsconstruction.net

 

It’s a Great Time to Buy a Photovoltaic System (Sept 25,2011)

POSTED IN: ENERGY • EXTERIOR • ROOFING

There has never been a better time to purchase a photovoltaic system (PV) than the present moment and those reasons include the lowest module price in the history of such systems, high electricity rates, and tax credits that are still available to help pay for the system. The average payback period after tax credits and savings on your utility bill, is between four to five years when purchasing one of these systems.

Perhaps you have recently seen the articles regarding the default of a large loan made to an American solar company that is being investigated by the FBI? The company has fallen victim to the collapse in prices for solar modules due to discontinued financial support or subsidies in Europe, the largest market for PV up to this point. There is an over-supply that has caused the market to lower prices on modules causing manufacturers to have no profits and go into the red. The stock market prices for solar companies have plummeted and many companies probably will not survive. Consumers who have had reservations regarding the purchase of a photovoltaic system may not have a better time to do so than now, but there is some caution to be taken.

The reasons for caution are:

1. Companies have started to cut back on quality by using cheaper components such as glass, plastic backer material, thinner metal frames, and lower-quality construction practices.

2. Using lower-quality cells to place in module. Due to the high cost to manufacture cells, lower-quality cells are being used rather than rejected. Thus, bottom line cost has replaced quality as the main objective.

3. Companies going out of business or consolidating due to poor market conditions and weak financial conditions.

Pacific Islands Construction believes that now is a great time to purchase your system, but the product manufacturer you choose also is very important. The company believes that other companies such as Kyocera, which has been producing solar modules for more than 35 years, has strong financials, and produces what is the finest solar module in the industry. Independent testing performed at the Dessert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre shows Kyocera as the leading producer of energy among many of the leading solar module manufacturers. You can check out the website,www.dkasolarcentre.com.au for more information. Kyocera has one of the finest reputations for quality, durability and higher energy.

Reasons to purchase a new PV system today are as follows:

1. The existing tax credits that are available will not be here forever, which means now is the time to take advantage of them. The state of Hawaii tax credit of 35 percent of the system cost with a limit of $5,000 per system and the federal tax credit of 30 percent of the total cost are still available but may not be around much longer.

2. The cost of energy that we pay per kilo watt hour has increased from under 26 cents per kilowatt hour at the beginning of the year to more than 32 cents per kilowatt hour. If you have seen an increase in your energy bill from last year to this year, you are well aware of the sizeable increase to your electric bill. It was recently announced that HECO has filed for an additional rate increase and if approved, will increase the prices you pay for electricity even further.

3. HECO has set limits to the percentage of customers installing PV in a particular area to 15 percent of the area usage. If environmental factors were to decrease the amount of alternative energy produced within a particular zone, then HECO will need to respond by producing more energy at their plants and this might strain their capacity to respond within a short time.

The purchase of a photovoltaic system is not only a price issue. The modules also need to be installed so that during high winds, the modules stay on the roof as well as keep the home waterproofed. Many systems have over 30 penetrations into the roof and each one should be detailed in the proper way to prevent future leaks.

Contact Pacific Islands Construction by calling 841-7756 for a consultation or visiting the web-site at pacificislandsconstruction.net. The company’s goal is to provide complete satisfaction now and into the future by providing customers with the best constructed and installed solar energy system.

CONTACT: 841-7756
WEBSITE: pacificislandsconstruction.net

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The Things You Need to Know About Solar Energy

December 25, 2011

Posted in: EnergyExteriorRoofing

As consumers have purchased solar energy (photovoltaic systems) in greater numbers this past year, those buying systems in the new year need to acquaint themselves with the nuances of the industry. Pacific Islands Construction believes that what has become apparent is consumers need to be more vigilant in what they buy and who they buy from because of the many changes that have occurred or will occur.

The following will give you information you can use to qualify your purchase:

China’s production capacity doubled in recent years and since subsidies in many markets worldwide disappeared, spot price for solar modules dropped by more than 40 percent and all profitability went with it. Attention to the claim that these government subsidized factories were unfairly dumping their products on the world market has galvanized the U.S. industry to ask the government to investigate the practice and place sanctions on the Chinese-made products. It appears that the practice has been confirmed since only 10 percent of the product cost is in labor which gives a cost advantage. Consumers have reaped the benefits, but many solar manufacturers have cut on the quality of the components they are using. The glass cover is more reflective, the metal frames use lower quality metal or are thinner, and the individual cells are lower in quality as bought on the market from suppliers. It is predicted that only a few manufacturers will be in the business in the coming years, and it is important to know if the product you are considering is manufactured by someone who will have a sustainable business in the future.

Since most solar modules are installed on the roof, issues have surfaced regarding their placement and construction or attachment. The Building Department warns not to cover the plumbing vents with solar modules. Building inspectors have noted suspect practices in how the racking systems that hold the modules in place are attached. The roof penetrations for the racking systems should be connected to a structural element not just the roof deck. The waterproofing issue requires that proper roof flashings be used.

Solar module warranties are provided in two forms, one for the power efficiency and the other for panel construction. Generally, consumers are told that the solar modules come with a 25-year warranty. This period of time is the power efficiency warranty and not the module construction warranty. The warranty that deals with the construction of the module is usually not mentioned and is only from five to 10 years. Furthermore, warranties are written to protect the manufacturers, not the consumer. Consumers should read the document closely to see which rights have been taken away from them and what is actually being protected. And improperly installed flashing details void most warranties.

Solar modules do not perform as efficiently when panel temperatures increase. They are constructed to attract light to the modules, but in doing so heat in the panels is also produced. For every degree in Celsius that modules get hotter than 77 degrees Fahrenheit, the efficiency decreases by .5 percent. They should be up and off the roof to get the most ventilation and increase the power produced. Other factors are dirt, compromised wiring, inverters improperly matched to modules and additional heat from the roof surface.

Most systems are sold as if they will work forever, but they need to be inspected every year, the module cleaned, the roof penetration examined, the wiring/ connectors checked and the inverters inspected/cleaned.

CONTACT: 841-7756
WEBSITE: pacificislandsconstruction.net

 

Photovoltaic Systems Installation and Maintenance Service (Oct. 23 2011)

POSTED IN: ENERGY • EXTERIOR • ROOFING

The installation of a photovoltaic system requires attention to many details. Building inspectors have noted that many systems are being installed with poor installation practices. Concern in the industry over what changes need to be made in the building code are now being considered because of the absence of design criteria in the code that addresses the shortcoming in the existing code.

Pacific Islands Construction believes that these shortcomings once addressed will provide the consumer a better installation. The following issues are in need of attention and should be examined prior to your purchase of a photovoltaic system:

• Solar panels or modules are generally installed on roofs. The roof penetrations for the racking systems have waterproofing issues requiring proper roof flashings to insure the roof will not leak. Caulking or special mastic materials do not work over the long haul. Only industry standard roof flashings that isolate the roof penetration by design and will not void your roof warranty should be installed.

• There is the issue of the wind uplift or modules being torn off the roof during high winds. If the racking system consists of field fabricated channel metal and/or is just bolted to hold it in place, it has a high probability of failing during high winds. These installations do not have tested assemblies to meet wind uplift ratings. Building inspectors have noticed that many installations are relying on skinny lag bolts setting up off the roof to keep the modules in place. Common sense tells you that they will snap during high winds, and this type of installation has to change.

As the industry evolves, standards for PV installations are essential to ensure the public that the right thing is being done to protect the consumer from poor installation details. Anyone can quickly install a poor installation and charge a lower price, but in the end, the customer deals with the consequences.

The purchase of a photo-voltaic system is not only a price issue. The quality of the module, the installation/flashings used on the roof, manufacturers’ track records, and contractors’ attention to details should all be considered. The servicing of the equipment is also an important element, and we have programs in place to provide our customers peace of mind.

Pacific Islands Construction believes that an informed consumer will make the best decisions, and the company strives to provide customers with the best information available. The company also provides third-party reports, shows the differences in the module construction, and provides details on all phases of installation or construction.

Contact Pacific Islands Construction by calling 841-7756 for a consultation or visit the website atpacificislandsconstruction.net. The company’s goal is to provide complete satisfaction now and into the future by providing customer service.

CONTACT: 841-7756
WEBSITE: Pacificislandsconstruction.net

 

 

It’s a Great Time to Buy a Photovoltaic System (Sept. 25,2011)

POSTED IN: ENERGYEXTERIORROOFING

 

There has never been a better time to purchase a photovoltaic system (PV) than the present moment and those reasons include the lowest module price in the history of such systems, high electricity rates, and tax credits that are still available to help pay for the system. The average payback period after tax credits and savings on your utility bill, is between four to five years when purchasing one of these systems.

Perhaps you have recently seen the articles regarding the default of a large loan made to an American solar company that is being investigated by the FBI? The company has fallen victim to the collapse in prices for solar modules due to discontinued financial support or subsidies in Europe, the largest market for PV up to this point. There is an over-supply that has caused the market to lower prices on modules causing manufacturers to have no profits and go into the red. The stock market prices for solar companies have plummeted and many companies probably will not survive. Consumers who have had reservations regarding the purchase of a photovoltaic system may not have a better time to do so than now, but there is some caution to be taken.

The reasons for caution are:

1. Companies have started to cut back on quality by using cheaper components such as glass, plastic backer material, thinner metal frames, and lower-quality construction practices.

2. Using lower-quality cells to place in module. Due to the high cost to manufacture cells, lower-quality cells are being used rather than rejected. Thus, bottom line cost has replaced quality as the main objective.

3. Companies going out of business or consolidating due to poor market conditions and weak financial conditions.

Pacific Islands Construction believes that now is a great time to purchase your system, but the product manufacturer you choose also is very important. The company believes that other companies such as Kyocera, which has been producing solar modules for more than 35 years, has strong financials, and produces what is the finest solar module in the industry. Independent testing performed at the Dessert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre shows Kyocera as the leading producer of energy among many of the leading solar module manufacturers. You can check out the website,www.dkasolarcentre.com.au for more information. Kyocera has one of the finest reputations for quality, durability and higher energy.

Reasons to purchase a new PV system today are as follows:

1. The existing tax credits that are available will not be here forever, which means now is the time to take advantage of them. The state of Hawaii tax credit of 35 percent of the system cost with a limit of $5,000 per system and the federal tax credit of 30 percent of the total cost are still available but may not be around much longer.

2. The cost of energy that we pay per kilo watt hour has increased from under 26 cents per kilowatt hour at the beginning of the year to more than 32 cents per kilowatt hour. If you have seen an increase in your energy bill from last year to this year, you are well aware of the sizeable increase to your electric bill. It was recently announced that HECO has filed for an additional rate increase and if approved, will increase the prices you pay for electricity even further.

3. HECO has set limits to the percentage of customers installing PV in a particular area to 15 percent of the area usage. If environmental factors were to decrease the amount of alternative energy produced within a particular zone, then HECO will need to respond by producing more energy at their plants and this might strain their capacity to respond within a short time.

The purchase of a photovoltaic system is not only a price issue. The modules also need to be installed so that during high winds, the modules stay on the roof as well as keep the home waterproofed. Many systems have over 30 penetrations into the roof and each one should be detailed in the proper way to prevent future leaks.

Contact Pacific Islands Construction by calling 841-7756 for a consultation or visiting the web-site at pacificislandsconstruction.net. The company’s goal is to provide complete satisfaction now and into the future by providing customers with the best constructed and installed solar energy system.

CONTACT: 841-7756
WEBSITE: pacificislandsconstruction.net