Panels: LG Solar Panels
Palomar Solar decided to partner with LG with the comfort of knowing they are not just a solar panel manufacturing company. Most of our residential customers are concerned with aesthetics and prefer a black on black solar panel. LG offers a black on black 300 watt solar panel that matches up perfectly with Enphase M250 microinverters. LG also offers a 320 watt module that matches up perfectly with Enphase S280 microinverters however it is a black on white panel. Typically, we recommend black on white panel where roof space is a challenge.
Inverters: Enphase – Microinverter Technology
Arguably the most significant advancement in solar technology in the last 25 years; Enphase microinverters were introduced about five years ago. Gaining significant popularity over the last year with the introduction of their industry leading (by 15 years) 25 year warranty. For the first time ever the two main components of a solar system (solar panels and inverters) are warranted for 25 years with free lifetime monitoring. Palomar Solar includes monitoring with every residential project sold with Enphase and can prove it on Enphase Enlighten web site, where all of our customers installations are monitored on-line. Only 10% of solar companies monitor their installed systems, the other 90% hope you never call after you write the final check. Palomar Solar cares about your long term positive experience and highly recommends you to utilize Enphase microinverters, whether you choose Palomar or not. The per panel monitoring is currently the best on the market, holding all parties accountable, protecting your long term investment.
You no longer need a big box (central or string inverter) mounted on the side of your home. Enphase microinverters are individual inverters that are mounted underneath each solar panel. All you have is a single piece of conduit that is run from the array to your main electrical panel; making the most aesthetically pleasing installation possible. Palomar Solar will even paint the conduit (homeowner must supply the paint, thus ensuring matching colors).
Palomar Solar was one of the first companies in southern California to embrace Enphase. This is significant because we can show you real life production going back further than anyone. Palomar Solar is the leader in Enphase installations in Southern California.
We are seeing gains of 10%-20% in production vs. the old central or string inverters. Shade and defects do not effect Enphase microinverters like it does a central inverter. For example, with a central inverter, if a panel is defective or shaded, and is only putting out 200 watts when it is capable of 240 watts, all the other panels that are utilizing the central inverter have to balance out the weakest producing panel. With Enphase, only the one panel that is defective and/or shaded is effected and you know exactly which panel it is. If one panel goes completely down with a central inverter so does your system. Imagine the power production lost while waiting on a service call and not sure where the problem lies. With Enphase; because both the homeowner and Palomar monitor the system daily, if a problem should arise, both parties would know beforehand which panel or inverter needed servicing and you’ve only lost the production of that one panel, not your entire system.
“Caveat emptor” or buyer beware: Most solar companies are stuck offering whatever products their lease allows. For example: SunPower dealers – They have to sell private labeled central inverters in order to offer SunPower leases. (update: SunPower now offers microinverters, however, they do not stand up to the quality Enphase has proven). Keep this in mind, panels and efficiency are important but only 50% of the equation. Inverters are the other 50% perhaps 60% of the systems production. In our
four many years of meeting with homeowners the only companies that do not like Enphase can not offer it. In some instances though, larger companies won’t switch to newer technologies. Possible reasons: not having to train on new products and the risk of possibly alienating their current customer base who was sold the older, less expensive technology. Palomar asks you to talk to homeowners that have invested in solar, and we are more than happy to provide referrals. Every system we have installed is producing as much if not more than what was quoted. This is mainly because our system production is based on the EPBB (state calculator) numbers which do not account for the added production you will see by utilizing Enphase.
Racking: Roof Mounts or Ground Mounts
Most companies will not educate the homeowner on the different options available when it comes to racking.
Like solar panels and inverters, there are options in racking as well.
Palomar Solar does not choose a product based on its popularity. We look at each job and decide what racking option is the best solution for that particular project. For instance, if you are in the market for a ground mount, we currently recommend Haticon Solar ground mount solutions, as we believe it represents the best ground mount racking in the market today. For roof mounts, when working with tile, we recommend a solution from Everest that encompasses their tile hook along with their racking.
Palomar Solar is constantly researching new innovations and companies. PV solar is a fast moving industry, similar to computers and cell phones; therefore, with racking, much like panels and inverters, we will constantly be looking at new solutions that better serve our customers.
Palomar Solar does not recommend building a house on top of sand or a solar system on top of just any racking system.
Remember, just like anything else, you get what you pay for.