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Fred Brooks Panelist on June 9th, 2020.

TOPIC: Identifying Issues on Installed Photovoltaic Systems Using Thermal Imagery.

by Fred Brooks, CEM, CEA, CEO of Pacific Panel Cleaners

https://www.aeecenter.org/2020-june-member-webinar-fred-brooks

Photovoltaic systems are a great renewable energy resource and they need to be inspected and maintained regularly. Inspection of the photovoltaic modules with a thermal imager is critical to identify any problems. Inspection of the balance of system ensures the items are installed properly.

If there are issues in the modules or on the balance of system this can cause a loss of energy which is a direct parallel to a loss in money. If there is a problem that goes undetected and is left in the system, it can lead to a fire which is very dangerous and is also very costly. The use of the thermal imagery with the other data collected on a site is an invaluable tool to determining the health of the installed photovoltaic system. What are we able to see? How can we tell if this is a real issue or not? What are some of the causes for the issues we can find? What can be done with some of the issues that are found? What are the conditions for conducting a proper thermal scan with true results? This tool can identify the location of microinverters or optimizers that are out and help you find them, and that is invaluable when the map is wrong.

BIOGRAPHY

Fred served 8 and half years in the United States Navy in the Engineering Department. Completed a BS degree in Environmental Science at HPU while taking photovoltaic engineering courses. Started working in the photovoltaic industry in 2006 and started the first solar cleaning and maintenance company in Hawaii in 2009. Fred has earned his Certified Energy Manager (CEM), Certified Energy Auditor (CEA) and Level II Thermographer Certification. Has been a leader in the Photovoltaic Maintenance Industry since 2009. He has spoken at several conferences and published papers on identifying issues on installed photovoltaic systems using thermal imagery and on good photovoltaic maintenance practices and the value in a good monitoring system for your photovoltaic system.

Fred is a true consumer advocate and passionate about helping clients protect their solar investments. He has a true passion for the energy field and the environment and wants to see and share the natural beauty of the world continue to shine for his daughters and generations to come.

social distancing grace of progress

PPC: New Guidelines for Service.

We at PPC are working hard to protect your solar investment and keep your energy at peak status.

Being a premier photovoltaic maintenance company, we are aware of the current unique situation now having to deal with a national, and global, pandemic crisis. The Pacific Panel Cleaners team is ready to serve your solar panel needs under these special circumstances.

PPC management will be sending out postcards with this and additional information to help our customers at this time. Please contact us at anytime for details or questions

We are keeping in accordance with the Governor’s Law of social distancing and we are not knocking on doors talking to our clients at this time so we will text or call upon arrival.

We will also let you know when we are leaving. 

We apologize about this as we do enjoy talking story face to face with our clients. This does not mean we cant talk story but have to do it on the phone or from greater than 6 feet away-These times will pass and we know that but for now we have to follow the Laws being passed during these times for all our safety.

Thank you kindly 

Be Kind

Stay Safe

Fred and your team at Pacific Panel Cleaners LLC

Solar Panel Manufacturers – What to Look For

There are a lot of solar panel manufacturers out there. How do you know which one to choose? We’ll break it down so you know what to look for and what pitfalls to avoid.

Warranty: One place to start is your warranty coverage. Given that your PV system is constantly exposed to the elements, there are a number of things that can break down over time. You want to know exactly what’s covered so you don’t get caught off guard with unexpected expenses. Look carefully at how long the warranty lasts and know the difference between parts and labor. They may claim a 25-year warranty on parts, but only a 5-year workmanship warranty on the product, meaning you could end up paying out of pocket for repairs when you thought you were completely covered. You need to talk to your installer on their install warranty as this is a whole other aspect that we are not going to discuss on this blog.

Stability: You want to pick a stable company that will be around over the long haul. Remember, a company that goes out of business can’t honor your warranty, no matter what they promised you. If they go under, you’re out of luck. When comparing manufacturers, how diversified are they? If they’re a large, well-known company that deals in multiple industries, they might have a greater chance of survival even if there’s a downturn in the solar industry, as opposed to one that’s solely dependent on solar.

Fair comparison: Cost is always a consideration, but when shopping around and comparing prices, make sure you compare apples to apples. Some manufacturers claim that they produce more watts of electricity per panel, but it might just be because the panels are bigger. A better way to compare is to look at the price per watt produced. There are several websites that are out there they do comparative analysis of the PV panels.

Flexibility: Finally, the big one that catches so many consumers off guard and should be avoided at all costs…make sure there is no proprietary workmanship clause. In other words, you want to be able to pick ANY licensed contractor who is allowed by the state you are in to install, maintain, and repair your panels. Some manufacturers actually restrict you only to companies that are licensed to sell their product. This greatly limits who you can call. You might have someone in mind who does great work but find yourself stuck with a company that has poor workmanship, bad customer service, or costs a lot more. They may claim it’s because their panels are unique and use proprietary technology but be wary of what they tell you. All PV panels are basically built the same and produce electricity the same way, so a licensed contractor who can do the work in your state should be able to do the work.

In conclusion, we want you as the consumer to be aware so that you can make an informed decision from the start, and don’t get locked into a deal that’s not in your best interest. Your PV system is a long-term investment that can often outlast the life of your installation company. Make sure you get what you pay for and retain your rights so that you’re in control and get the best bang for your buck, even years down the line.