There are many benefits to installing solar panels on your home, like saving you money on electricity and reducing your carbon footprint. But, solar panels vary widely. So, what should you look for when choosing a solar panel? David Gorman with RevoluSun Smart Home has the answer.
Living808, KHON2 | May 11, 2016
0:00 Trini: Welcome back, now there are many benefits to installing solar panels on your home. So what should you look for when choosing one? Well that’s what we’re discussing in today’s energy innovation segment with the RevoluSun. I’m here with a David Gorman with RevoluSun and we’re learning all about solar panels today because from what I hear they’re not all the same.
0:20 David: That’s very true. Good morning, Trini.
0:23 Trini: Good morning, David. When you’re shopping for solar panels what should you look for?
0:28 David: Well I think two of the most important things to consider are how powerful the solar panel is, how much energy you’re gonna get out of it, and how reliable it is. Right. You know, panels have long extended warranties, they’re supposed be on your roof for decades into the future making electricity. So, you know, what kind of warranty is backing up that solar panel? How much roof space is it taking up, how much power is it generating, and how much power is it going to continue to generate over the lifetime it’ll be up on your roof?
0:58 Trini: Okay, tell me about this solar panel because I hear it is very efficient.
1:00 David: So we love SunPower here at RevoluSun. SunPower, actually has been the Guinness Book World record-holder for a panel or cell efficiency. They broke their own record, and so, they recently launched their X22 series, which means it’s a 22 percent efficient panel producing 360 watts and to give you some context your standard solar panel out there in the market usually is between 265 in 280 watts. So, same size produces significantly more electricity up on the roof.
1:33 Trini: Okay and SunPower is the name of the brand.
1:35 David: Yes. So SunPower is an American company. They’re based out of San Jose. They’ve been doing this since 1987. The have about two hundred and twenty patents protecting the cell design, which is why they have a unique way of doing it and why they can extract a lot more electricity out of that sunlight hitting the solar panel.
1:51 Trini: Okay, so since this is more efficient, like you said, you can use the less panels.
1:56 David: Yes.
1:57 Trini: That’s great that’s less space on your roof.
2:00 David: Yes, yes. Less roof space we’re taking up. We actually get a lot of calls from folks who maybe installed PV systems in the past, and they want to expand their PV systems because they’re getting air conditioning or they’re going to get an electric car. And so, getting a more efficient solar panel taking up less of that really valuable roof space allows you the flexibility to easily expand the system later.
2:18 Trini: But, David, don’t all solar panels kind of lessen their efficiency over time?
2:23 David: They do. So anything left out in the sun is gonna degrade slowly over time. If you let, you know, a plastic lawn chair on the back yard, at some point you’re gonna sit on it and it’s gonna break. SunPower panels actually degrade much slower than a conventional solar panels up on the roof. There is a test facility in Colorado by the National Renewable Energy Lab. So, they test all the major solar panel manufacturers and they have a field of all of these solar panels and measure their production year-over- year. SunPower panels have been seen to degrade 0.1% per year, this is since 2006. The average of all the other manufacturers around 1%. So you can see you’re going to maintain much more production out of your solar panels in a well into the future with SunPower.
3:09 Trini: Okay, now, David, I already have solar panels. So is there anything we can do to make our solar panels, our existing solar panels, more efficient?
3:20 David: For sure. So we do offer a service maintenance package here at RevoluSun. And so, we can come out and at least help you take as good care of your existing solar system as possible. So, we’ll clean the solar panels, and get any residue that’s built up on the surface of the solar panel, you know, out of there, so that it is able to absorb as much sunlight as it can. We’ll check the wiring underneath, and make sure your roof attachments are well done, especially if we didn’t install the system. We make sure you’re not gonna have any leaks into the future. But really, just giving that 12-point- inspection to make sure it’s going to do its job as well as it can out into the future.
3:52 Trini: Okay, great. Anything else we need to know when shopping for solar panels?
3:56 David: Yes. So, I always do mention the SunPower warranty, which is actually one of the best parts about a SunPower panel. They’re only solar panel manufacturer that offers not just a twenty-five year production warranty but a twenty-five year product manufacturers warranty as well. Most other panels out their offer 25 year production warranty, but only a ten year product warranty. People get a little bit confused by that. So what their production warranty means is that over 25 years you have the opportunity, if production doesn’t look like it is what it should be, that you can take that panel off the roof ship it back to testing facility and let that lab prove that it’s not making what it should, you know, five ten years from now. The issue is…
4:37 Trini: That sounds like a nightmare, to send your solar panels to the mainland.
4:39: David: It is, yes. And you have to pay for it. Right, so you’ve gotta pay us to take it off ship it to the mainland. With SunPower you don’t have to. And so, SunPower offers a twenty-five year product warranty, which means if anything happens with that solar panel, they pay us to get up there and just replace the panel. Worry-free. Instantly. And the reason they do that, is that they’ve been doing this since 1987 they know their solar panels don’t fail and so the very few that do they’re just gonna take care of their clients.
5:08 Trini: I like that, thank you very much.
5:10 David: Thank you.