The Facts About Photovoltaics

By Hawaii Renovation Posted in: EnergyExteriorRoofing

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

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