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.

AEE World Energy Conference 2019

The #founder & #CEO of our company, Pacific Panel Cleaners, Fred Brooks, CEM, CEA will be speaking at the #aee #worldenergy #conference in #WashingtonDC this year! If you’re there, don’t miss his #presentation on #thermalimagery on Thursday, September 26th from 2:30-3:00pm. Such an #honor to be invited & be a part of this #energy #expo!
#pv #pvindustry #solar #greenenergy #thermalimaging #photovoltaic

How to access Your Panels’ Warranty Service

Enphase’s New Online Warranty Transfer Service Is Now Live

A warranty provides peace of mind to the customer against any failures of the product. Enphase provides comprehensive warranties for its products. However, When a home with an Enphase solar system changes hands, due to sale or any other legal reason, the solar system is not transferred to the new owner unless the change is made in the Enphase systems within 30 days of completing the change of ownership. READ MORE


PPC Storm Advisory. How to Shut down your PV system.

We are sending out a precautionary note to all of our clients that you may want to shut down your PV system with the storm coming in hard. With the amount of rain, flooding, heavy winds & debris we’re expecting, if a power line drops we may get a surge that can adversely affect the systems. There are surge protectors & safety features built into the units, but we recommend doing it anyway, in the event of a heavy surge that could damage your equipment & create further problems. PLEASE REMEMBER to turn your system back ON after the storm has cleared. Also to note, if we’ve taken care of your systems, we have photos on file of your roofs & panels, which could be helpful in the event you have to file any insurance claims related to damage post-storm.

If Pacific Panel Cleaners, LLC has cleaned and inspected your PV systems and you are worrying about what to do if there is an insurance claim now or after Hurricane Lane passes for your damaged or destroyed panels, don’t worry! We have photos, records, and the report of the condition of those panels when we were last at your location, performing our PV cleaning and inspection services. 

Pacific Panel Cleaners, LLC is always here to help our customers. Contact us with any questions or concerns regarding your PV systems anytime! 

Please stay safe. 


Cleaning Your Own Solar Panels? Pro Tips: Section 1.

We want to make sure you do it safely.

You have owned your solar investment for several years now and you may have realized, they do not clean themselves. You decide to do it yourself, as there is no better time than the present – but wait, there are some safety precautions you should take. 

Should you get your panels cleaned, YES!
So here are some things to keep in mind.

Figure 1: panels with dirt build up

What to Check Prior to Starting Your Solar Panel Cleaning

You have taken the first step to help protect your solar investment – wanting to clean your solar panels.

We must remember that safety is paramount! The solar panels are not going to be a concern for us if we get hurt, instead they will more likely be a nuisance.

We need to remember that these are pieces of electrical equipment, so the first thing you want to do is check your monitoring and make sure they are working. Is it a central or a micro inverter? Make sure you know the difference. 

If there is a problem within the system, find out what it is and get it corrected prior to any cleaning, as this can be an accident waiting to happen. Electricity is a sneaky beast. 

With any successful task, we need to have a plan. How are we going to get on and off the roof safely? Where am I going to be standing? How am I going to approach the cleaning? Think about all aspects beforehand. You want to make sure this is thought out prior to climbing up there. Look around for power lines. Know your roof edges and figure out where you are going to be standing. 

Cleaning Your Own Solar Panels? Pro Tips: Section 2.

 You Have Made It on The Roof! 

Congratulations on getting on the roof and having your plan routed out. 

Next Step: Assess the roof and the roof conditions.

Make sure you have a good walking path and know where the power lines are and are not. Remember the roof layout – we now need to look at areas around and underneath the panels.

Figure 2: Some not so happy kind friends under a solar panel.

There are sometimes (more often than you’d think) not so friendly pests under your solar panels. Prior to spraying, you want to make sure there are no creepy, crawly, flying things that may have you running as fast as you can in another direction. Not a very fun feeling to have while on the roof. 

Keep in mind that wasps, hornets, bees and other creatures like the warmth and protection of the PV panels just as much as we enjoy the energy they produce. 

A pre-inspection is crucial.

You need to look at the panels and make sure there’s no damage. You want to make sure you do not have a solar panel with a hole in it, and yes, if it has a hole in it, there is a good chance it is still producing energy. We want to avoid spraying water on the electricity making machine with a hole in it. Look at the conduit and make sure that your junction boxes do not have holes in them or cracks in them. 

Figure 3: junction box with a crack.Figure 4: box without a proper seal on it.

When you have made sure spraying water and washing your panels is not going to cause you any harm, go ahead and start to clean your panels and let that energy machine make more energy on a clean surface!

Pacific Panel Cleaners LLC is dedicated to helping protect solar investments. If you have any questions or comments, email us at:


Fred Brooks, CEM, CEA 
Certified Thermographer Pacific Panel Cleaners, LLC 
License C-34167