Thursday, October 23, 2014

Getting to Know Your Heater Timer (LGB)

Getting to Know Your Heater Timer (LGB)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Why is my Electric Bill so High?

Why is my electric bill so high?

A common question.

There are a lot of answers.

  1. Cost of electrical generation (Oil in Hawaii) has gone up and thus electricity has gone way up, over 50% in around a year.
  2. As governments print more money, the costs of real commodities will continue to go up.  Bernanke promised to print money for years to come.
  3. People have more electrical devices in their houses.
  4. More people are living in a single household, because of this, even people with solar hot water may not be generating all the solar hot water they need, and the rest is made with electric.  You know, the kids moved back home of the inlaws moved in, that kind of thing.

What can you do about it?

Change almost all your lightbulbs to CFL.   LEDs are still pretty expensive, they are neat but compared to CFL they are really not worth it from a payback point of view, quite yet.   Most people have already done the light bulb cvhange out.

In your frig is 10 years old or more, buy a new one.   If you have 2 refrigerators or even 3, consider getting rid of the oldest one.

Buy a front loading washing machine.  They cut your electric bill, they cut your water usage (and thus your sewer bill), and they cut the amount of soap needed.   The clothes come out dryer, and so your dryer has to work half as hard.

Take out any 10 year old aircon, and change to new super efficient variable speed mini-split systems such as Fujitsu, Mister Slim, and others.

Beyond these conservation measures, there is not too much that can be done that makes economic sense.

Now let's talk about producing energy.

Solar Hot Water, if you have 3 or more people, it is a no-brainer to get solar hot water.   With 65% tax credits available in 2012, the payback is enormous and quick.

Solar Electric PV.   Typical residential Annual Rate of Return on Investment is 25% to 38%.    There are various ways to finance it, although your best payback is if you can pay for the system yourself.

PV Leases--PV leases are only good in one situation---you don't have the money or the ability to finance the system.    In that case, you have nothing to lose.  


Solar Attic Fans -- These should be on every house, they produce their own power, they remove the heat from your attic, keeping your house way cooler.   There will be many more months where you don't even have the need to run the aircon if you have one.  It will protect you whole roof, shingle, and tar paper which are all adversely affected by high heat.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A new interface for owners on Enphase

The following message is from Enphase

KEEP this NUMBER handy, it is hard to find.    Enphase tech support 1-877-797-4743.      It is probably best to call Enphase if you think you have an inverter out, or are getting warning type emails regarding inverters.    They have proprietary methods of looking at your system that is very powerful.   Plus, if you do need replacement parts under warranty, they are the only ones who can issue the RMA (return material authorization) and send out parts.  

Enphase Tech Support 1-877-797-4743


We're excited about the launch of MyEnlighten. MyEnlighten is now the default view for all new system owners. Existing array owners will continue to use Enlighten Manager until they choose to opt into MyEnlighten.

Installers and Integrators will continue to use Enlighten Manager. The following links will be very helpful moving forward.

For a high level summary of Enlighten Manager and MyEnlighten

The MyEnlighten Tutorial:

How to sign up for MyEnlighten now.

After watching the MyEnlighten tutorial, if you have any questions please let me know.

Thanks for using Enphase Microinverters.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

An Email from a reader - HECO Halts Solar Boom

A resident of Oahu sent this email out to all the solar stakeholders on Oahu, OK, well maybe she didn't send it to HECO.

Aloha! My name is Cathryn Takanishi, I am an Oahu resident. I have been following solar articles in Hawaii.
In the year of 2014 finding that there is a problem with solar panel installation, solar in Hawaii can no longer excel.
I wonder, why has it been taking so long to make a transition; while more and more people suffer over these limited resources? If we were all more progressive with solar, we could prevent hundreds of people from their suffering because of the battles to obtain these resources. I still see lights left on all night at empty schools, parks and recreational areas and think about the lives of the people who got that electricity there, I think of my son who in the future may not be able to live in such a beautiful place because of the constant rise in the cost of utilities and living here in Hawaii. Thinking if there were proper solar systems installed into these schools (and residential homes) how many lives it could save and how it could improve our large family here at home.

Thank you!

Scientific American A Solar Boom So Successful, It's Been Halted - 12/20/13 
Bloomberg Utilities Feeling Rooftop Solar Heat Start Fighting Back - 12/25/13
Daily Finance Utilities Set Stage for Long Battle with Solar Power - 1/2/14
Sourceable Industry News Hawaiian Electric Halts Local Boom in Solar PV - 1/10/14

Thursday, January 9, 2014

2014 Solar Tune UP, Limited Time Sale

2014 Solar Tune-Up Sale, Jan 17 until 40 slots have been filled
Very Important to do the Tune-Up at least every 3 years, to protect system and keep warranties in effect!

Please respond by Jan 13 (Monday) If you want a guaranteed slot in this sale.

How is your New Years Resolution Going?    Either way, Resolve to take better care of your Hot Water Solar. Scroll down to see what the tuneup is and why you should do it often.   in the long run it gets you higher savings and saves money on more costly maintenance.

Doing the Solar Tune-Up is EASY!   It just takes an EMAIL or a phone call, and we will make it happen.

If you neglect your solar system, it will cost up to $1600 to replace your solar tank.    If your pressure relief valve doesn't work when it needs to (solar=high temp=high pressure), you can rupture up your house piping and if the piping is under the concrete slab, it can cost $8000 or more to fix.

We like to get as much Tune Up done as we can in Jan and Feb.

Email (best) or call to be assured of a slot in the sale price.    We try to do 3 Tune ups a day, in the same neighborhood, so after you Email (or call) we will contact you with a proposed  date for the neighborhood.

The tuneup takes 3 hours, it is a serious service, It is 3 important parts, not JUST an anode change which some people pretend is a "tune up".
Example of what can go wrong and how to fix it.

Tune-up Extends System Life and Prevents over pressure pipe blowouts

If you haven't done the solar hot water tuneup in the last 3 years......It is time for a Solar Tune-up.
You wouldn’t drive a brand new car for three years without performing the suggested maintenance, right? The same is true for your solar hot water system.
Hawaii’s water can be hard on hot water systems. A small investment now can prevent huge repair bills later.

Email to "" to get a sale price slot for your 3-Year Tune-Up at this low price!
(or call 265-5971)

We Highly Recommend The “3 Year Tune-Up”

There are THREE important parts that require periodic replacement, and we do a complete check on the system, controller, pump, valves.
1)      Sacrificial Anode Rod (keeps the whole system from rusting, just like a Zinc on a boat)
2)      Pressure and Temperature Relief Valve (P&T) – Keeps pipes from bursting in the house or under the slab
3)      Pressure Relief Valve – Same, keeps pipes and the solar panels from bursting, except up at the roof level.

Also--do you know?   That the customer is supposed to be doing an annual flush of the tank and panels?    It only takes ten minutes?    Do you know how?    If not this is the perfect time for training or retraining, you just have to be there.

See picture below...a clogged up P&T relief valve.    This may not open, causing a house pipe to over pressure and rupture.

Tune Up example

Recently, we have heard about companies offering a “Tune Up” service, and offer to “inspect” the parts and replace if necessary.   We find this to be misleading, since you cannot inspect a P&T Relief Valve unless you shut down the tank, remove the valve, put it on a test bench, and test it. If it passes, they reinstall the old part back into the tank.
Does this make sense to you? Will they really do the test?   It is not possible for a service technician.

We always replace the P&T. If the P&T fails to operate when your tank gets hot and the pressure builds, that pressure might blow a hole in any of your pipes.Those pipes may be on your roof, or underground... Or under your house. If something were to happen, where would it happen?


Protect your solar investment and protect your home..

Our service includes 25 other service checks, check the temperature sensors, controller, pump, wiring, timeclock, valves insulation cleanups, and inspections to make sure everything is working the right way. 

And if you add Solar Electric (PV) through our companies within the next 12 months, we will refund the whole cost of the Tune-Up.


3 Year TUNE-UP Preventative Maintenance— 28 Point  Solar Service including:
Replacement of (3) Three very important safety and Corrosion protection items:
1. Sacrificial Corrosion Preventing Anode (to reduce corrosion on tank and whole system)
2. Pressure/Temperature Relief Valve (to relieve pressure from within tank and panels, prevents your plumbing systems from getting over pressurized and possible rupture)
3. Pressure Relief Valve on the Panels for safety and equipment protection.
 Replacement of up to 8 feet of insulation at rooftop, if needed. Coat all insulation on rooftop with protective UV coating.
 25 additional little tune-ups, set point verifications, and system checks.
 Pricing based on good access to the tank. If the tank is in a tight closet or under-house, we may need additional time to complete the task, we may need to even drain and move the tank to allow the replacement of the anode, in these cases we charge $55 /hour for the extra work.
*This price is based upon an easily accessible water heater, if the heater is in a tight closet, or tight area, there will be extra costs.


Regular Price - 3 Year Tune Up....................................................        $390 + tax
Winter Sale Jan 17 to Around Feb 15, about ......................................-$50 and we pay the tax
Your Cost...............................................................................................$340
all tax included

All taxes included, does not include any other system problems that we may troubleshoot for you if you are indicating that the system is not performing properly.
See Standard Pricing Sheet for replacement of other components like pumps, controllers, temp sensors, etc.

If you don’t already have a Solar Attic Fan or would like an Additional Solar Attic Fan let us know ahead of time, we do a $150 discount on the Solar Attic Fan, which comes with a 25 year warranty and is the best on the market.   In asphalt shingle, the NET cost after tax credits is around $380!   Do this before you suffer through another summer or have to pay high air-conditioning bills.

Email to today to schedule your 3-Year Maintenance at this low price!