All posts by Fred

Hawaii and Oahu have proved to be an exciting place to build John B. Design, a Honolulu based Graphic Design Company, into a rewarding and successful Graphic Design and Web Marketing business for clients large and small. In the past several years I have developed extensive design experience, as well as an expert knowledge of the most contemporary tools-of-the-trade, and a network of true professionals that I have met along the way. I enjoy the challenges that come in working with clients from a variety businesses and marketplaces, both on the islands and the mainland. I am very passionate about my work. I love the opportunity to be creative everyday for such a diverse array of people and businesses. I look forward to future partnerships and the new and exciting challenges they bring with them. I would be happy to discuss how John B. Design can Explore Creativity to Communicate Your Vision.

Foliage Shading Effects PV Systems.

PV systems, as we all know, rely on the sun and panels that are shaded produce substantially less than their unshaded counterparts, which costs you money in the end. If you notice your panels being shaded, it is definitely something you want to address quickly. A simple trimming can save money on your electric bill, so we always recommend having any trees near the panels trimmed back.

pacific panel cleaners

US Solar Plants Now Expected to Run for More Than 30 Years: Berkeley Lab.

While solar technology has been rapidly advancing, prices have also been dropping. According to Green Tech Media in their recent article, the average lifespan of a solar project has increased from 21.5 years in 2007 to 32.5 years as of now. What’s even better is that operating costs have been halved since then as well! This is great news for anyone looking to invest in solar projects because when the lifetime of your system is increased and operating costs are reduced, more money is saved in the long run. With this news, we hope to see more solar projects in Hawai’i and the rest of the U.S., because saving money and moving towards green technology is beneficial for everyone. For more information, check out the article linked below.

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

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.


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

There’s an unlikely beneficiary of coronavirus: The planet.

Rebecca Wright, CNN

Factories were shuttered and streets were cleared across China’s Hubei province as authorities ordered residents to stay home to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

It seems the lockdown had an unintended benefit — blue skies.

The average number of “good quality air days” increased 21.5% in February, compared to the same period last year, according to China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment. 

And Hubei wasn’t alone.

Satellite images released by NASAand the European Space Agency show a dramatic reduction in nitrogen dioxide emissions — those released by vehicles, power plants and industrial facilities — in major Chinese cities between January and February. The visible cloud of toxic gas hanging over industrial powerhouses almost disappeared.

“This is the first time I have seen such a dramatic drop-off over such a wide area for a specific event,” says Fei Liu, an air quality researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “I am not surprised because many cities nationwide have taken measures to minimize the spread of the virus.” 

A similar pattern has emerged with carbon dioxide (CO2) — released by burning fossil fuels such as coal. 

From February 3 to March 1, CO2 emissions were down by at least 25% because of the measures to contain the coronavirus, according to the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), an air pollution research organization. 

As the world’s biggest polluter, China contributes 30% of the world’s CO2 emissions annually, so the impact of this kind of drop is huge, even over a short period. CREA estimates it is equivalent to 200 million tons of carbon dioxide– more than half the entire annual emissions output of the UK.

“As a measure that took place effectively overnight, this is more dramatic than anything else that I’ve seen in terms of the impact on emissions,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, lead analyst at CREA. 

But while lockdown measures designed to stem the spread of the virus have caused a momentary uptick in China’s pollution levels, experts warn that when the county starts to reboot its economy thetoxic chemicals couldup to higher levels than before the epidemic hit. 

Coal consumption falls

A fall in oil and steel production, and a 70% reduction in domestic flights, contributed to the fall in emissions, according to the CREA. But the biggest driver was the sharp decline in China’s coal usage. 

China is the world’s biggest producer and consumer of coal, using this resource for 59% of its energy in 2018. As well as running power plants and other heavy industries, coal is also the sole heat source for millions of homes in the vast rural areas of the country.

The country’s major coal-fired power stations saw a 36% drop in consumption from February 3 to March 1 compared to the same period last year, according to CREA analysis of WIND data service statistics. 

“The largest consumers of coal — coal-fired power plants — have been affected a lot because electricity demand is down,” said Myllyvirta. “I think it’s clear that this effect will continue for the next weeks and months, because there has also been a major impact on the demand side of the economy.” 

In 2017, President Xi Jinping promised to make combating pollution one of China’s “three battles,” and the following year the Ministry of Ecology and Environment was created. 

The policies have resulted in a significant impact, with overall pollution levels 10% lower across Chinese cities between 2017 and 2018, according to a report released last year by Greenpeace and AirVisual.

Climate activists say the crisis could provide a window to ramp up these promised reforms. 

“We would very much advocate for China to foster this opportunity to transform its economy, to break apart from the old,” said Li Shuo, a senior climate policy adviser for Greenpeace East Asia. 


Panasonic is leaving Tesla’s solar panel “gigafactory” in Buffalo

By Kelly Pickerel | February 26, 2020

When SolarCity purchased module manufacturer Silevo in 2014, the company immediately took over plans for a 1-GW manufacturing plant in Buffalo, New York, with the goal to begin production of SolarCity-branded panels by 2017. Then Tesla bought SolarCity in 2016, and Tesla inked a deal with Panasonic to jointly use the Buffalo plant to produce PV cells and modules. The two companies have a long collaborative relationship, especially in EV and battery cells.

But now it’s been announced that Panasonic is leaving the Buffalo plant, putting many supposed solar products in jeopardy. Panasonic was the only company on record producing solar cells in the United States, and many assumed Panasonic solar cells were being used in Tesla’s Solarglass solar roof product. (PV Magazine has done some excellent work trying to determine where Tesla’s products are being manufactured.)

Panasonic will cease U.S. solar manufacturing operations in May and should completely exit the Buffalo facility by the end of September 2020.

Howard Zemsky, Empire State Development Chair, confirmed Panasonic’s departure in a statement yesterday. Zemsky said that Tesla has informed the organization that it has “not only met, but exceeded their hiring commitment in Buffalo.” Tesla said it has more than 1,500 jobs in Buffalo, not counting Panasonic employees at the plant. If confirmed to be true, Tesla will avoid paying a $41.2 million penalty to the State of New York, which required Tesla to hire 1,460 people to receive certain incentives.

“This count does not include the Panasonic positions and — while their operations were co-located at RiverBend — there was no incentive package between the state and Panasonic. We understand that Panasonic has made a corporate decision to move away from global solar products, but this action has no bearing on Tesla’s current operations nor its commitment to Buffalo and New York State, according to Tesla,” Zemsky said.

Zemsky also said that Tesla has indicated it intends to hire as many Panasonic employees impacted by Panasonic’s departure as it can.

As part of the Tesla-Panasonic Buffalo collaboration agreement signed in 2016, Panasonic agreed to cover required capital costs at the plant. Panasonic had been manufacturing its high-efficiency solar cells and selling them to other module assembly companies. Now the company is streamlining its global solar operations by integrating solar into its “energy solutions business,” which also includes energy management systems, batteries and EV chargers. Panasonic will continue to sell Panasonic-branded panels to U.S. customers through its own distribution network.

“We are proud of what Panasonic has accomplished as a pioneer in the solar space and the significant role Panasonic employees in Buffalo have played in that success,” said Shinichiro Nakajima, director of Panasonic’s Energy System Strategic Business. “The decision to transition away from U.S. solar manufacturing in Buffalo aligns with our global solar strategy, our efforts to optimize development and production, and supports Tesla’s long-term plans to continue and expand its operations.”

With no domestic solar cell production, U.S. module makers are still dependent on foreign, tariffed solar cells for its end-products. Shuttered Suniva has indicated plans it wants to restart cell manufacturing in Georgia, but nothing has been confirmed. Solar cell equipment manufacturer Meyer Burger announced last year that an unnamed solar cell manufacturing startup had signed a contract to install new equipment somewhere in North America. Nothing yet has been confirmed with that contract.

2019 AEE World Energy Conference

2019 AEE World Energy Conference

Identifying Issues on Installed Photovoltaic Systems. By Fred Brooks.

Evolution of PV System Maintenance 

• With all things there is an evolutionary processIn 2009 I started operating the first company in Hawaii solely dedicated to Photovoltaic System maintenance. After a few years I knew there was more to the inspections than meets the eye, and that is when I first became a certified thermographer. That was in 2012. This was the natural next evolutionary step

General Conditions for an Inspection

  • The Photovoltaic system needs to be up and operating
  • We need a basic understanding of the PV system. Is it a central inverter, micro inverter or an optimizer system?
  • We want to ideally have clear skies
  • We are looking to have an irradiance greater than 500 w/m2
  • You can see anomalies at any level but 500 w/m2 and greater is where you can really see the anomalies pop
  • The main concept is to realize you are looking for anomalies on the system in relationship to the rest of the system, as the equipment should have a uniform heat signature in relationship to each other.