Maintaining Solar Energy Systems (Hawaii Renovation Magazine)


Pacific Islands Construction
April 7, 2012

Maintaining Solar Energy Systems

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