Tuesday, August 4, 2020

List of Abbreviations of Tuneup Customers That Are In Que For Sale Priced Tuneups in January 2021

As mentioned in our bulk email, we are focusing on Tax Credit type solar work until the end of 2020, since tax credits will be phasing out.    They reduce in 2021 and then go away completely in 2022. 

1) Solar Hot Water
2) Solar Electric
3) Solar Microinverter Upgrades
4) Solar Attic Fans
5) Solar Powered Airconditioning (Yes this is a real thing!)

These are the tune up customers in 'Que" if you think you should be on this list and don't see your name, rattle our cage, be the squeaky wheel!  And contact us via email HERE


Thursday, July 23, 2020

Solar Tax Credits Expiring -- Booking Now For 2020 Work To Be Completed

Steve Olsen Here.

It's been a crazy year, although we are considered essential, it has not been any easy environment to operate in.   

Logistics became harder, some suppliers were not able to supply, and local distributors were often out of stock, so we had to buy in bulk when we could get materials.  

That said, we greatly appreciate that 98% of our customers have worked with us on scheduling changes, extended times for bid estimates.   Thank you very much!!!!

If you need something, or are just curious about modern technologies, be the Squeaky Wheel, and call or email.   We don't answer the land line anymore, as 70% of calls are spam/unwanted, so the message just directs to my cell phone (808) 265-5971

We have a dozen or more tuneups that we have not been able to get too.    We have been forced to focus on existing acute problems and projects.   At this point, to get people's tax credits in, we will likely wait until January to get back into the Tuneup Mode.    We will be hiring another admin assistant to coordinate, schedule, do paperwork, and try to get everyone up to speed.  

For people with tuneups past 5 years old, it is really important to get it done.   You may not lose your system this year, but in 2022 the TAX CREDITS GO TO ZERO, and you will end up paying full list price for a replacement system.     


It seems like Summer is vanishing at a rapid pace.

With the Tax Credits Going Away ---We Expect A Very Robust End of the Year.   

Back to the "Crazy Year" we also lost a portion of our recent emails, looks like they are gone for good.     We expect that we have dropped the ball on some Solar Proposal Requests.

This is the time to be the squeaky wheel, and get back on our radar.   We apologize for any dropped balls!

1) Solar Air-conditioning is now "a thing", we have quite a portfolio under our belt and our customers just love these projects.     Those light wind and Kona days are now 3 times more frequent, and it is likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future, as the "Grand Solar Minimum" in sunspots and magnetism is definitely affected the weather patterns, and even ocean circulation patterns.   

2) Solar Attic Fans are better than ever.   They now have a 25 year warranty, and instead of 25W we are up to 60W and we shop build a proprietary mounting system to let the large PV panel be mounted right on the fan, avoiding 4 extra fasteners through your roof.    If you are replacing an existing fan, we can almost always get your net costs under $300, and sometimes even under $200.   Ask for a quote today.   

3) Microinverter Upgrades!    We do both the ones that are compatible with your existing NEM, and we can also add additional panels, using what is called the NEM plus, which normally uses batteries for the biggest financial rewards.    Enphase Microinverter company is shipping batteries to me this week, I just got the call this morning!      

It's an exciting brave new world in the battery industry.    If you upgrade your old microinverters (warranty dies at 15 years) you will also be battery ready, and you will have full house battery backup and be able to use your whole PV for production during Grid Down due to:
1) Hurricane
2) Tsunami
3) Civil Unrest like the mainland has seen
4) Localized power outages

4) And of course, we are one of the top experts in Solar Hot Water, now with over 2 thousand systems installed.   Many of you got systems in 2006 to 2009.    It may be a smart move to replace them this year, before tax credits expire.    Get a totally fresh system with the latest technology and fresh warranties (up to 12 years on tank and panels).   If your system fail in 2 years, you will pay full list price of $7000 to $8000, and maybe higher as the out of control government spending eventually feeds into the economy as inflation.    Your net cost this year will be more like $2000 to $3000.




(808) 265-5971

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Tax Resources for 2019 -- Fed 5695 Hawaii 342

As always, we are not your tax accountant nor your lawyer.    Please independently verify all information and interpretations.   Keep in mind that in 2020 the Fed tax credit has been reduced from 30% to 26%.    And in 2021 it goes down to 22%.    And 2022 ---- ZERO!

So if you are looking any type of solar upgrade or modernization, you should do it this year.

This is the Federal Tax form 5695 most people will use.   And the Instructions.


This is the State Tax form N342.   And the Instructions.


Many home owners are looking to upgrade from "legacy" inverters and micro-inverters that will never be capable of integrating with a battery system, to the newer types and the one we like the best is the Enphase IQ7 series that were designed from the get-go to be an integrated part of a battery system.     We call this the IQ7 Upgrade.

Note -- They can function on their own as a "qualified solar electric property expenditure"

Of particular interest for homeowners interested in at some point installing a battery, the IRS has
clarified that Batteries Charged by Solar Electric, including all the devices necessary to connect them into the house's electrical system, will be considered a "Qualified solar electric property expenditure".




This clarification letter from the IRS is from 2013, so it doesn't necessarily set precedent (or deny precedent) since so much has changed, but does at least give a little impression of the way the IRS thinks and may view things even though there has been a sea change in solar technology since then.


Section 48 deals with Business Energy Investment Tax Credits

If you do business from your house, it may be possible to get additional benefits by allocating a portion of your solar electric (or even the solar hot water) to the business.     The portion allocated to business can then be depreciated, providing even more tax benefits.

Of course, this complicates the taxes and for many people it may not be worth the complication.

This IRS Notice clarifies the Business Tax Credits.


And for those with too much time on their hands, here is the Hawaii actual laws that describe the solar tax credits.


Tuesday, February 4, 2020

2020 Certificate of Good Standing

Monday, October 28, 2019

Tips for the "Network Bridge" Re-Pair, Re-Set, Lights

Steve here.

Over the years, various "Network Bridges" have been used.    The original ones from Enphase are
still working for some people, they are pretty big and a grayish color.    But the newer aftermarket bridges are much better!  

The purpose in our work is to bring internet connectivity to the EMU (aka Envoy).   This is done by sending internet over the house powerlines.    Technically this is an Ethernet over powerline bridge.


We have used various types in the last few years, often a "Trendnet" device.   The Powerline 1300
AV2 is one of the best, fast and over long distances.    It used to be real expensive, but prices have come down to reasonable.

These devices are "paired" together.   Often this process is pretty automatic.  

The biggest problem you will find is that they somehow become un-paired.    Then you simply re-pair them using the button on the bottom.

If you are having trouble re-pairing the devices, you can move them to a close electrical receptacle, it makes it easier for them to find each other.

To re-pair, hold the button on the bottom for 3 seconds.  
Do the router side Bridge first, recommended, then go to the other bridge and hold that button for 3 seconds.

 They say this needs to be done within 2 minutes of each other. 

How do you know if it worked?    The Powerline LED will turn solid green on, If it is blinking Green that is also OK, it means that data is being transmitted. 

Easy Peasy, right?

Sometimes bridges can just get into a real funk, and nothing seems to work.  

In this case, a completely system reset (think of it as a re-boot), is needed.   Because the device need to be plugged in to electric while doing the reset, it may be hard to get to the bottom of the Bridge while it is plugged in.   Make it happen! 
Use a mirror and paperclip if need be!    It's a little recessed button on the bottom

Note: if you have super old wiring in your house, without a ground wire, these probably won't work, they require 3 wires, Hot, Nuetral, Ground in 120V.

We are not experts in internet security, we are just happy when it works!   Of course, there are risks with any internet use.   Just be aware that many of these newer devices can be customized to increase security.     The owner of the internet service is responsible for any security measures and risks, not us. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

BBB Accredited Business

Friday, April 12, 2019

Solar Electric And the Brave New World of Battery Systems

2019 is a great year to do a Solar Electric system, also known as Photovoltaics, or "whole house".

  • A lot of companies do just PV, and not hot water.    
  • It may seem surprising, but hot water systems are actually more complicated to do and take more skills and tools.    
  • I say this to clarify that "whole house" solar does NOT mean that you should have just the PV Electric.   
  • In many cases, it makes more financial sense to ALSO have the Solar Hot Water, which can account for about 40% of your bill (mostly depending on if you are a heavy aircon user or not.)
In this brave new world of solar, at least in the Hawaii grids, you can no longer get your bill to near zero unless you are using batteries to supply your nighttime loads.    It is just the way that HECO and the PUC have set up the systems.  

You charge your batteries in the daytime (as well as covering your own electrical demand).   HECO has basically 4 programs available, but the basic data collection will be the same for all.

If you have  the old style dial meter, click HERE, to see how to read the kWH reading on the meter.

If you have the newer NEM style meter, click HERE.

Finally, in order to size your system and batteries, the following information is important IF you want to make the best decisions.

It would be good to collect this data on three normal days (normal daytime and nighttime use), not if you have house guests, etc.


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Solar Tax Credit 2018

Here is the links for 2018 Solar tax credit.

Hawaii State Solar Tax Credit  Form N-342

Fed  Solar Tax Credit    Form 5695

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Microinverters: Monitoring / Communications Are Essential - 3R Box/Bridge

Let's talk about monitoring your Microinverter Based System.   Monitoring is very important

I'll make this is simple as I can.   

The Envoy/EMU (the oval box) needs to talk to:

1) The internet
2) The microinverters on the roof

A direct connection plug into the internet is common, so it is usually placed in the house in the computer area.   But this has a downside, there are large amounts of electrical noise within the house, esp. by the computer area, and that makes it hard or impossible to "talk" to the microinverters on the roofs and get their report on how they are doing. 

My solution/invention is to get the Envoy/EMU out of the house completely, and then to create a network/internet connection using a special device.

Email to schedule, or call with questions or to discuss 671-5566


What is the issueif the communications to the roof are bad? With poor communications to the rooftop equipment, you cannot tell what is functioning and what is broke or "breaking".  Microinverters often fail little by little, so you may be losing 50% of production, LOSING MONEY and don't even know it.

The company, Enphase, will no longer issue the Return Material Authorization RMA so you can't get parts replaced for free under the 15 year warranty for materials UNLESS you have 3 or more Bars of Communications out of 5.

 The 3R Box / Bridge is the solution.

For 95% of people it will cost just $350 plus tax.

Only 10% of our customers now have "3 of 5 bars" of communication or better, needed to get warranty parts approved.

Almost for sure, you have this problem and we have the solution.

We were cautious to roll out this invention because we weren't sure whether it would work in a wide varierty of situations.

It worked at my house, and now it has worked at 17 people houses. So we are pretty confident. But we can't guarantee it will work at your house, but if it doesn't we don't take no for an answer, there are also some noise reducing ferrite torroids that can be applied. We have not had to resort to this yet, but there would be extra cost (like $100 for the torroids)

Olsen's Invention the "3R Box /Bridge" SOLVES the communication problems that prevent people from getting the maximum output from their PV Electric Solar.

1) If you want to order this Inventive Fix, email us here solsen@pacific-energy.com

Friday, March 1, 2019

Electric On Your Solar Water Not Working? Easy Steps to Confirm

There are 2 separate heating systems on a solar hot water system, and they have nothing in common except the water.   They don’t even “know” that the other system exists.

1)      Solar Heating
2)      Electric Backup Heating

You can easily tell if the solar portion is working, using this

For now we focus on the electric backup heating, because having no solar hot water costs you a few dollars a day, but having NO HOT WATER can be a major annoyance.

The disconnect is only occasionally a problem, unless of course, someone pulled out the disconnect to work on the system, and then failed to put the spade connector back in, or put it in upside down. 

If the timer spins (keeps the correct time), then you know that the timer is getting power (and you also know that the disconnect is fine)

If the timer does not spin, then the first thing to check is the breaker.    Breakers can be tricky, they can look not tripped but really be tripped.   So you push them firmly off, and then firmly back on.   Set the timer for the correct time.

Read this to get to know your timer

If the timer spins, and the outside little handle is in the on position, then it should be sending power to the “High Limit Reset” Switch which is on top of the Thermostat (actually part of it, it’s an assembly).     If the High Limit Reset safety switch was activated (by really hot temperature like 160F or 170F) then the power stops right there, and never gets to the thermostat.        It’s a simple “reset” just push the little round Burgundy colored button, and if you feel a very slight click, pay attention!, then it was activated, and now it is reset….your problem is likely solved.

The second red link on this page explains more the on High Limit Reset

How can you tell if the element is actually heating the water?      We call this the “ear test”.    

1)      The thermostat setting must be above the temperature in the tank.
2)      If the tank is fairly warm (say from the Sun), but you want to test the T-stat, you can turn it up to a high temperature by turning clockwise with a small flat bladed screwdriver.   As the setting exceeds the water temperature, you should hear a little click, indicating that it is now sending power to the heating element.
3)      Put your ear right on the tank, if you hear a faint humming, that is the element heating the water.   One caveat though….in rare occasions, you will hear some humming, but the Element will actually be mostly broke, and it really won’t make hot water.     If you hear the humming, but never get hot water, you have a bad Element, OR the below, a bad Mixing Valve.

It can be a real bear to change an element.    It needs special tools, and if you strip it, the whole tank is shot.   Any leakage or rust in this whole area can be a real electrocution or fire hazard.     Just because you have a breaker (sitting in your breaker panel for 30 years, never moving) does not mean that it will work when needed!    

But let’s finish on the Thermostat.    If you turn the T-stat all the way up, and it never clicks indicating sending power to the element (and everything upstream is OK, breaker, disconnect, time, high limit reset), then the T-stat is likely bad.    If you have an electrical tester, and the knowledge to use it safety, you can read the voltage into the T-stat, and the voltage to the Element, both should be 240V AC. 

One thing that will confound even the best troubleshooting in the world, is the Mixing Valve.     If the Mixing Valve (MX) has gone bad and gets occasionally stuck, nothing else that you do or change will make the system work well and consistently.     MX is usually reliable, and a bit pricey to change, it’s $315 labor and material to change, unless repiping is needed then it is more.    So when nothing else makes sense, and especially if system is over 7 years old, then it’s time to bite the bullet and replace the MX.    The MX is usually a red colored cap in the top center of tank (sometimes blue or green).