Doing Your Solar Energy Homework (Hawaii Renovation 9/9/12)

There are many aspects about photovoltaic (PV) systems that you need to know prior to purchasing. Basic knowledge will help in assuring that your purchase is an informed decision. Pacific Islands Construction believes that with information, consumers will make the right decision for themselves.

Almost all manufacturers of solar modules are losing money and going bankrupt, or just leaving the industry. It was reported by local media that Sharp, the latest manufacturer to close its solar operation, would be selling its business in order to help satisfy its $16 billion debt. Weekly earning reports reveal that losses are mounting with almost every manufacturer. Choose a module produced by a manufacturer that is financially solid like Kyocera, which is financially strong and has been in the industry for a long time.

Solar equipment needs to be maintained and this includes cleaning the modules and getting the racking system inspected. Also, inspecting/repairing the roof penetrations, all electrical components and cleaning the inverters is recommended. Pacific Islands Construction has a five year maintenance program with every system installed to ensure that it will not develop problems. If you would like to have your system inspected, even if the company did not install it, Pacific Islands Construction maintains systems installed by others on a yearly contract.

Not all PV modules are the same, and quality does make a difference. In the last few years, power losses of installed solar modules have been observed when the modules are exposed to high negative-voltage bias. The industry has found this leakage of current flow between cells and is calling it Potential Induced Degradation, or PID. In another recent report, a phenomena called “snail trails” has been found in more than 25 manufacturers’ modules. Discoloration of the contact grids has been observed in these modules and owners claim that they are under-performing. Speculation for reasons why these problems are occurring center around the thickness of the cells, thickness of glass, cell fractures and frame construction.

PV systems are installed on your roof, so it is important that they are installed with racking systems and flashings that meet the IBC (International Building Code). The modules must be installed so that they do not fly off the roof during high winds, and to ensure they do not, many roof penetrations are made to secure the racking system that holds the modules. Also, each attachment needs to be flashed properly so that the roof does not leak. Unfortunately, consumers are assured that their systems have been installed properly when, in many cases, this is not true. To know what you’re getting, ask for documentation on the flashings and racking system.

Finally, be wary of any sales talk that promotes trying to manipulate the state tax code by giving you credits you do not deserve.

Pacific Islands Construction has many options available regarding financing. It has consumer loans with no interest for 12 months and no money down. The company can also provide leasing. Call 841-7756, email pic05@hawaii.rr.com or visit www.pacificislandsconstruction.net.

Why Your Photovoltaic System Requires an Annual Inspection (Hawaii Renovation)

The photovoltaic (PV) system that you have or are considering purchasing should have an inspection every year as well as maintenance performed on the system. Consumers are led to believe that their PV systems are maintenance-free and that if there is ever a problem, the warranty will cover it. Unfortunately, not all of these costs are covered and the costs can be quite expensive. Pacific Islands Construction has found that when older systems are inspected, deficiencies found in the PV system could have been prevented if there had been an annual maintenance program. After adding up the repair costs and the loss of energy production that is not covered by the manufacturer’s system warranty, consumers promised savings are eliminated.

The following information will help consumers understand why Pacific Islands Construction provides five years of free maintenance with every system purchased:

Cleaning the surface

Solar modules need to be cleaned of surface dirt or debris that will lower their energy production and could cause their structural elements to deteriorate. Dust, salt, bird droppings, chemicals, etc. that find their way onto your modules’ surface will block the amount of sunlight reaching the modules’ cells, thus reducing your energy production. A loss of energy production means less savings. Airborne chemicals that sit on the modules can deteriorate metal components as well, especially where the anodized metal has been cut to fabricate the module.

Checking roof penetrations

Roof penetrations securing the PV system need to be inspected and maintained so that water does not enter the home through the roof and cause damage to the ceiling and contents underneath. Many systems are installed with poor flashing details around the roof penetration that secures a PV system to the roof. As a result, the materials used to waterproof these penetrations weaken over time and openings in the waterproofing develop, causing leakage. The resulting damage in your home was preventable and other issues like mold could have been avoided as well. Unfortunately, many PV installers have not used roofing industry-approved flashings, which could have prevented these leaks, and they also have voided the warranty from the roofing manufacturer.

Inspect the racking system

Racking system components need to be inspected to ensure that everything is secure, so that the system will hold the modules in place during high winds. During the inspection, any defects in the components holding the modules in place that have become loose or are missing can be rectified. The PV system and structure of the building are constantly moving because the heat of the day causes expansion. Metal expands at a greater rate than other building components and the stress that occurs between the various components can loosen or cause changes to the construction.

Securing cabling

The cabling that resides on the underside of the modules and connects to the micro-inverters, or runs from the roof to the string-inverters, needs to be secured so that it is not on the roof or prone to brushing against the roof with the wind. Damage to these cables can be prevented during the inspection by re-securing them. Any arcing in the connectors or electrical problems may be detected during that time as well, before they become a major problem.

Cleaning inverters

Inverters work better when they are clear of dirt and dust that tend to make them operate at higher temperatures. Once cleaned, inverters will be more efficient and they will last longer because they are operating at a cooler temperature.

Peace of mind

Knowing that your system is being maintained and that potential problems are being avoided will give you peace of mind. A PV system that gets a healthy checkup and is performing optimally will provide greater savings and last longer.

For more information, call Pacific Islands Construction at 841-7756.

Helping Homeowners Learn About PV Systems (Hawaii Renovation 7/8/12)

Pacific Islands Construction

July 7, 2012
Posted in: EnergyExteriorRoofing

Helping Homeowners Learn About PV SystemsPacific 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 (Hawaii Renovation)

June 9, 2012
Posted in: Energy

Giving Wind Energy Systems a Whirl

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

30 Kyocera 245 watt modules in Kaneohe, HI

Putting Energy Into Wind, Solar Power (Hawaii Renovation Article)

Pacific Islands Construction
June 2, 2012
POSTED IN: ENERGY • EXTERIOR • ROOFING

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

pic_060312_1

 

(First stage) Installation of 36 Kyocera 245 watt modules in Salt Lake

Things to Consider When Buying a PV System

May 5, 2012

POSTED IN: ENERGYEXTERIORROOFING

Things to Consider When Buying a PV System

Pacific Islands Construction has found that there are many things one should know prior to choosing a photovoltaic system. Knowledge about the products and the company that will be installing the system are just part of the story.

The following is information you should request from venders:

• Know the financial strength of the product manufacturer. Solar module manufacturers are losing millions of dollars because of Chinese manufacturers flooding the market with low-cost products. These companies’ stock prices have lost most of their value. One U.S. company lost more than $750 million last year and started closing manufacturing plants this year. Know the company you are buying from and do your homework. Only about 10 companies worldwide will survive in this market over the next five years, with more than half of them being Chinese.

• Warranties are sales tools used by companies to convey the false idea that something is guaranteed when it is not. Ask for a copy of the warranty prior to purchasing, so you can read the limitations. If the company goes out of business, you’ll have no protection for product failure.

• Does the installation include roofing industry details for roof penetrations? Many installers are voiding roof warranties by using substandard roof penetration detailing that will eventually cause the roof to leak.

• 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? Systems relying on a single bolt every so many feet are attached to a “unistrut channel.” These have not been tested as complete systems and should not be considered safe, in-place solar systems. Make sure you are provided with third-party testing that confirms the system is 120-mph tested, not 120-mph rated, otherwise your system may not handle high-wind conditions.

• Does the system installation come with a maintenance program? Your investment needs to be maintained and your PV system needs attention to prevent module failures. Pay close attention to the wiring, inverters and roof penetrations.

• Know the financials of your investment. Tax credits are just a small part of the picture you will be looking at. For example, high-quality modules will outperform low-quality equipment over a lifetime, making the investment return on them better. Module energy production degrades over time, so by spending a few more dollars, you will save more on equipment with a proven track record.

Pacific Islands Construction believes that the consumer needs to be better informed so that your purchase of a photovoltaic system is an informed one. Ask the right questions, research the product manufacturers, ask for documentation and seek out quality solutions for your energy needs. The solar industry has been rapidly changing, and you can find out more about companies like Kyocera, who make industry-leading, high-quality solar products, by calling 841-7756 or visitingpacificislandsconstruction.net.

CONTACT: 841-7756
WEBSITE: pacificislandsconstruction.net

 

Efficiency, Flexibility, and Savings with Zefr and the Wind Array Turbine System

Groundbreaking wind technology enables flexible building integration

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 you energy costs.

Small Wind turbine array challenges
Due to 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 counter parts 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 (Technology)
Coming in at a 36” rotor diameter, the Zefr packs an arsenal of cutting-edge technology. JLM Energy’s Zefr turbine overcomes 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. The power of 20 Zefr turbines is then converted into common AC electricity by the 3.6kW smart inverter that seamlessly and optimally generates the maximum amount of power.

Designed with savings and scalability in mind (Development Process)
During the development process, the engineers at JLM Energy worked tirelessly to find the most effective and intuitive solution to bring you affordability, modularity, and efficiency. The engineers executed dozens of computer models, prototyped countless rotor blade designs, built various turbine configurations, and performed many professional-grade field tests to ensure that the Zefr would offer flexibility and efficiency with no compromise. In addition, JLM engineers keep a close eye on the quality of their products by keeping manufacturing in the USA.

Bringing you efficiency and flexibility (Benefits)
Traditionally, a single turbine was a big investment with no opportunity for scalability. These small turbines were also commonly mounted on tall poles or structures which would require guy-wires and therefore a large areal footprint.

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. In addition, it is easy to scale up your energy production at any point later down the life of the array system 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 your monthly utility bill, the Wind Array Turbine System offers the modularity to easily customize the installation.

The Wind Array Turbine System also comes with JLMs energy monitoring software so that you can track each Zefrs energy production in real-time. That way, you can see your investment saving you money and also determine that your system is running optimally.

Making Zefr your newest addition (Installation)
When you order Zefr turbines, we’ll perform the quick and simple installation necessary to help you start saving. The small size of the Zefr enables it to be easily installed and tethered to more units in order to quickly deploy your energy saving solution.

Order Zefr today (How to Order)
Call us today at (808) 841-7756 or visit us at www.pacificislandsconstruction.net to learn more about Zefr and what it can offer you. With Zefr, it’s easy to multiply your energy!

 

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

 

The Facts About Photovolataics (Hawaii Renovation)

February 11, 2012

Posted in: EnergyExteriorRoofing

The Facts About Photovoltaics

Choosing a photovoltaic system (PV system) for your home or business is a first-time experience for most. The evaluation process for choosing a system and/or contractor can be difficult. Pacific Islands Construction’s goal is to educate the consumer and hopefully help in this education process.

Pacific Islands Construction feels it is important that only well-made system components inclusive of inverters, solar modules, roof flashings and racking systems be used. Through our research, we know that there are differences that are not always presented or explained to the consumer. Over the long haul, consumers will see the differences or experience the problems in their purchases. Pacific Islands Construction’s goal is to see that only high-quality components are used in our systems, providing the long-term benefits of solar energy.

Here are some essentials to consider:

1. We have received countless reports regarding roofs leaking after solar has been installed. The roof penetrations for the racking systems that hold the solar modules require proper roof flashings to ensure the roof will not leak. Also there is the issue of wind uplift. A single screw every six feet will not stop modules from flying off a roof under high winds. Consumers should rely and expect that the flashing details are roofing-industry accepted to keep warranties in place. As a cautionary note, most roof warranties are voided if improper flashing details are installed. Older roofs should be evaluated prior to installing a PV system. Do not accept a bolt through the roof with some caulking as acceptable.

2. All solar modules are not made the same, and the long-term survival of the module is dependent on the quality of the construction. Companies like Kyocera build extras into their modules to strengthen the construction, and in our corrosive environment, this is important.

3.Solar manufacturers are going out of business at an alarming rate, so research their financial strength. Many influencial solar companies have recently announced that they are getting out of the business. One of the major manufacturers of modules sold in Hawaii lost millions of dollars in 2011. It has been predicted that fewer than 10 solar module manufacturers will survive.

4. Warranties do not indicate quality and are written by the manufacturer to protect itself from problems in the future. The 25 year warranty that salespeople tell you the module comes with does not guarantee replacement if a problem occurs.

5. The hotter modules become, the less energy they produce. Fractures in the cells, the black color that makes them hotter, proximity to roof surface and no ventilation on the underside of the modules cause heat.

6. Modules and equipment need to be maintained. A maintenance contract should come with your purchase.

7. PV modules depreciate in their ability to produce energy about .5 to .7 percent a year based on recent studies. Some modules become less efficient than others over time. This will make a difference in how much energy is produced. The higher the percentage of depreciation, the less savings you will realize over a lifetime.

Pacific Islands Construction provides a comprehensive education of solar 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 sending an email to pic05@hawaii.rr.com.

Our goal is to provide complete satisfaction now and into the future by providing our customers with the best constructed/installed solar energy system. Find out what we feel are the finest made systems that will last and produce over the expected lifetime.

CONTACT: 841-7756
WEBSITE: pacificislandsconstruction.net

Bathroom Remodels TOPA Towers “countertops,mirrors,drywall,lighting fixtures”(Honolulu,HI)

The ‘Best Choice’ for Solar (Hawaii Renovation Jan. 28, 2011)

Posted in: EnergyExteriorRoofing

The ‘Best Choice’ for Solar

Kyocera has been manufacturing solar modules for more than 35 years, far longer than most manufacturers in the industry today. The Kyocera modules will probably never be the cheapest in the industry, but there are none constructed better. In the end, since these modules will last longer and continue to produce at a higher level of energy production, they will be the lowest cost investment you can make.

Knowledge of module construction should be an important part of your decision-making process since poorly manufactured modules, which reside on the roof and are exposed to the effects of our corrosive environment, will fail. The quality of the packaging that surrounds the cells consists of the metal frame, the glass cover and backing material. Packaging degradation during normal surface life will affect the function and integrity of the module. It can lead to performance issues such as poor energy production, array performance failure, and even lead to safety hazards inclusive of electric shock hazard.

Kyocera incorporates into its modules features that protect the electronics of the modules and also ensures the long life of your investment. The following features make Kyocera the best choice when purchasing a solar system:

1. Silicon potting of Junction Box.

Kyocera completely embeds the junction box components that reside on the underside of the modules in a total cover of silicon. The process is very similar to underground cables that have the wires surrounded by a gel to prevent moisture from ever reaching the wires. Most manufacturers just place a bead of silicon around the junction box to seal. The junction box is where all of the electricity produced in the module is concentrated to connectors that take power to the inverter.

2. Support bars on backside of modules.

Because of the thin nature of wafers that make solar cells today, cells are highly susceptible to small fractures in manufacturing, shipping, installation and service-life movement. Fractures in cells become hot spots, get larger over time, affect other cells in the series they are wired to and produce less power. Kyocera has optimally placed the bars to support the cells in the solar module, protecting the cells in the solar module. By using Electrical Illumines Photography, studies are showing that solar modules purchased from leading solar manufacturers have numerous fractures in the cells of their modules, and this is going to have a long-term effect on system performance.

3. Heavy-Duty Frame Construction.

Kyocera uses tubular construction for frames rather than single-wall construction. Tubular construction is stronger, stiffer and will protect the module construction far better than single-wall construction.

4. TUV RHEINLAND Long-Term Sequential Testing.

Kyocera is the only module to pass this long-term test. The same module is tested for exposure to damp heat, thermal cycling, humidity freeze and bypass diode thermal for 12 months. The short-term test that all modules must meet is the IEC61215 and it uses four separate modules for each test for 1,000 hours. Long-term testing is obviously a better indicator of quality than a minimum test. Interestingly it was found that many modules start to fail after meeting the minimum requirements, showing how manufacturers are building only to meet the lowest requirements.

5. Desert Knowledge Australia Independent Testing.

Kyocera is the No. 1 producer of kWH per watt when compared to the other major manufacturers. DKA purchased the modules from distributors rather than obtaining them from the manufacturers. This independent test has ranked Kyocera as the No. 1 performer since October 2008 over manufacturers who supposedly are more efficient.

6. Testing for Quality.

Kyocera always tests its products to ensure zero defects. Over the last 10 years, there has never been a module returned to the local distributor for replacement.

Pacific Islands Construction believes that an informed consumer will make a better decision when purchasing a solar energy system. If you believe in quality, then Kyocera is the best choice for solar, and since Pacific Islands Construction is a licensed roofer/contractor, we can ensure the best installation on your roof.

Call Pacific Islands Construction at 841-7756 or visit our website at pacificislandsconstruction.net.

CONTACT: 841-7756
WEBSITE: pacificislandsconstruction.net

The Things You Need to Know About Solar Energy (Hawaii Renovation Dec. 25,2011)

Posted in: EnergyExteriorRoofing

The Things You Need to Know About Solar Energy

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

The State of Solar Manufacturing Today (Hawaii Renovation Magazine Nov. 27 2011)

November 27, 2011
Posted in: EnergyExteriorRoofing

The State of Solar Manufacturing Today

Recent events in the photovoltaic industry regarding the financial conditions of most manufacturers should cause concern among consumers. The cost per watt has been falling over the last six months and now its effect has started to be realized. What has been good for the customer has not been good for manufacturers as sales have decreased and profitability has evaporated for almost everyone. Anyone who has been an investor in the stock of solar companies can attest to the collapse of the value of his or her investment.

Pacific Islands Construction believes that consumers should be made aware of how these developments may affect them and what they should consider prior to purchasing their PV system. Just this past week, the CEO of Trina, one of the world’s largest solar module manufacturers, predicted that only about five companies in the photovoltaic module manufacturing business may still be around in 2020.

Manufacturers have slashed sales forecasts and U.S. companies like Sunpower and First Solar have said they will reorganize. Mergers have started to increase and banks have become leery of making loans to many of the solar companies because of their highly leveraged positions or future profitability.

Why has this happened and what does it mean? As China has ramped up its production capacity in recent years, the latest world events caused many subsidies to disappear. Spot price for solar modules dropped by more than 40 percent and all profitability went with it. As consumers have reaped the benefits, solar manufacturers have reacted in the following ways:

At first they dropped prices, then they looked to cut costs, and finally many have started to make cuts on the quality of the product they are producing.

The cutting of quality by using inferior components may be the only way many companies feel they can stay in business. Smart large-scale buyers are now seeking out suppliers who they feel will not sacrifice quality and will stay in business. The largest six suppliers now are receiving more than 50 percent of the business and this means the other couple hundred manufacturers are getting the rest.

The recipe for bankruptcy, mergers and consolidation have rapidly come into being. Name-brand manufacturers will decide to get out of this business and focus on their traditional business. The sad thing about this is that many consumers have bought their PV system based on their familiarity with these name-brands.

The future of solar is bright, but the industry has a bumpy road going forward and the value of warranties comes into question. Predicting how things will go forward is a guess, but purchasing quality equipment with the proper installation will help alleviate problems down the road. Trust in the company one chooses to do business with cannot be based solely on price if a careful analysis of the products is not performed as current conditions dictate.

Pacific Islands Construction has carefully selected its PV partners from only the best quality manufacturers, whose financial strength has not been impacted by current market conditions. We continue to believe that what is best for our customers is what is best for us. We will continue to be vigilant in order to provide the best quality from manufacturers whom we believe will be in business tomorrow.

To learn more about photovoltaic or hot water systems, call 841-7756 or visit the website pacificislandsconstruction.net.

CONTACT: 841-7756
WEBSITE: pacificislandsconstruction.net