May 5, 2012
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.