Panel Fire Question

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Comments

  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Panel Fire Question

    BB,
    Good point about the likely voltage, but as I recall, he had 8 panels(?) and unless they were hi-V panels, he doesn't have a lot of voltage. On the other hand, to get more than 10 Amps is a stretch. Maybe there were batteries involved? Maybe no fuse and a bucking diode failed shorted?

    None of it makes a lot of sense if fuses are involved and the level of destruction is a real eye-popper! I still believe excessive current lifted the tabbing. I don't think those are mfg defects, I think they cooked-off the cells in the unburnt panels when huge current went thru them.

    You guys are right about the DIY hype. It's crazy. I can just see the look on the face of a guy who buys 144 fragile Evergreen cells then discovers the trials of soldering them! The windmill DIYs aren't quite so bad as you HAVE to know what you're getting into and be a machinist or mechanic there. My personal favorite are the HHO generators, ---run your car for free projects. Last I heard, oxygen and hydrogen is a BOMB and electrolysis yields way less energy than it takes to split water.

    Anyway, I will cruise this forum and look for those who have solved some of the solar DIY problems. I look forward to buying a house with some property in a couple years so I can build whatever I want. Currently my house plus koi pond and veggie/fruit garden leaves about 25 square feet in the shade, and the house is under trees. Not a solar situation at all. But I have been intensely into PV/thermal/wind/ geothermal this since the Carter admin. and intend to use it.

    Cheers
  • dwhdwh Posts: 1,341Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Panel Fire Question
    Madscien wrote: »
    My personal favorite are the HHO generators, ---run your car for free projects. Last I heard, oxygen and hydrogen is a BOMB and electrolysis yields way less energy than it takes to split water.

    I mostly agree with that with the exception of the kit that United Nuclear has been working on for years.

    The main issues are that hydrogen leaks through pretty much any normal sort of container, it can blow up, and that it tends to dry out rubber seals used in auto engines (I seem to recall that propane has a similar issue with rubber seals).

    They've got a patented storage tank, which uses a hydride to store the hydrogen, which is then released by heating the hydride. That solves the storage problem. It also solves the safety issue, since the hydride can't explode so you can crash the car or shoot bullets through the tank and it won't blow up. Not sure what happens in a fire, but no doubt they've thought of that too.

    The main issue with the storage tanks is that the hydride they need can't be bought due to .gov restrictions (because it's used in nuclear bombs), but it is legal to make it. The problem with that, is that it takes a particle accelerator to make the hydride - so they had to build their own.

    I'm not sure where they are with addressing the rubber seals issue - though I know they originally mentioned it a few years back after putting some miles on their prototype vehicles.

    Their hydrogen generator just takes a garden hose hookup and is designed to be powered by solar or wind, but can also be plugged into any standard 120v receptacle.

    http://www.switch2hydrogen.com/h2.htm


    These guys DO what they are doing. After all, these are the same people who brought you The Death Ray :D :

    http://unitednuclear.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=27_82
  • KamalaKamala Posts: 452Solar Expert
    Re: Panel Fire Question
    dwh wrote: »
    ... I love the idea of rolling your own - I just try to make sure that the distinction between "hobbyist" and "commercial" is duly noted. ...

    Can anyone tell me the best way and the materials I might need to build my own high power FET transistor?

    I'm a DIY kinda guy. :p
  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 7,967Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Panel Fire Question
    Kamala wrote: »
    Can anyone tell me the best way and the materials I might need to build my own high power FET transistor?

    I'm a DIY kinda guy. :p

    I think you need a diffusion furnace, and then an ion implanter. Should be able to get some of those from old fab houses. But the power supply is pretty intense, you might have to upgrade the neighborhood power grid.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 4,099Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Panel Fire Question
    mike90045 wrote: »
    I think you need a diffusion furnace, and then an ion implanter. Should be able to get some of those from old fab houses. But the power supply is pretty intense, you might have to upgrade the neighborhood power grid.

    Might need a clean room for this also, not cheap either!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • Ralph DayRalph Day Posts: 869Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Panel Fire Question

    Oh Dave,
    I guess I couldn't use my multipurpose shop then. Sawdust, metal filings, mouse nesting and leavings...

    Ralph
  • techntrektechntrek Posts: 1,372Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Panel Fire Question

    Mouse droppings are good, they provide extra holes for the electrons.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • nsaspooknsaspook Posts: 396Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Panel Fire Question

    The equipment is easy. Getting the chemicals and using them without killing yourself is the real problem. Semi-conductor production is not green or clean.

    Some common dopants.
    http://www.c-f-c.com/specgas_products/arsine.htm
    http://www.c-f-c.com/specgas_products/phosphine.htm
    http://www.c-f-c.com/specgas_products/boron-trifluoride.htm

    Chamber cleaner:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlorine_trifluoride
  • nielniel Posts: 10,311Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Panel Fire Question

    boy has this thread morphed! if you guys want to continue the off topic stuff it might be worthwhile to make it a new thread. if so and you want portions of this thread into it you can have myself or bb transfer some of the posts or just link to here and specify what posts you are referring to. now realizing conversations can evolve so we don't mind going off once in awhile, but this is going a bit far don't you think?
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Posts: 869Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Panel Fire Question

    What was the question??
  • KamalaKamala Posts: 452Solar Expert
    Re: Panel Fire Question

    Uh, sorry. My fault I guess. I was just offering some DIY perspective.

    But then, the OP is almost two years old.
  • sundiegosundiego Posts: 8Registered Users
    Re: Panel Fire Question

    Yes Kamala, you are right. The OP appeared shortly after our panel fire in 2009 and, almost two years to the day, the DWP rebate check for our new Enphase system cleared the bank and we consider our Panel Fire Nightmare to be over.

    However, many other things do not seem to be clear to those who have posted here, and we wished to rectify that as well. We apologize for the delay but, as the moderators have pointed out, there were numerous legal issues that needed to be kept private, and the threats of less-than-legal retaliation on this thread were frightening to us (and still are, so we are going to be discreet about naming names.)

    First off, those of you who have blamed, accused, and abused the contractor so brutally are wrong. Yes, our contractor made mistakes--he was a little guy, very honest, who was getting into solar. We were pleased to hire him as we knew and trusted his work from other projects (and contrary to some of the very mean comments here, we did NOT go with the lowest bid, and YES WE DID obtain bids from bigger, "professional" outlets with whom we were unimpressed. Why? Because our system was small and they acted like they really couldn't be bothered to work with us.)

    Unfortunately, our contractor trusted the wrong subcontractor to guide him through the install--a man who misrepresented his qualifications, assured us we were receiving UL-listed panels, and then obtained and installed the lousy panels you see in the photos.

    The aforementioned lousy panels were "manufactured" (far too elegant a word for the junk we received) by a solar panel/renewable energy product seller in Virginia who sold some UL listed panels and as well as our homebrew foil-and-chewing-gum ones via their website. We have not looked at their website for some time, but the particular model of panel you see in our photos were removed shortly after The Incident. However, I have been told this outfit still sells DIY components to others who'd have their own foil and chewing gum to play with, and I understand this company has now moved closer to us in California *shudder.* I hope they have learned their lesson and are taking safety seriously, but we have no assurance of that.

    Did we consumers know we should have checked the panels for a UL label before they were installed? No, we didn't. After "The Incident," did we search our new Enphase panels for such labels our own selves when they arrived? Oh, yes we did. Call us what you like, fellas: foolish, stupid, uneducated, criminal--but we're not complete morons, and we and our contractor got taken in by a shyster, who assured us the panels were fine. People who are new to a field or product are vulnerable and precisely the kind of victim these hustlers look for, and we say it could happen to anyone. We are looking to help prevent further incidents but it appears we're going to take a lot of abuse doing it. So be it. It's more important to us to get the word out and keep people safe, rather than hurl accusations for very human mistakes.

    The subcontractor who obtained the panels got rather ugly with us after the fire, and he blew out of the situation without a look back. He did however appear soon thereafter on a reality-TV show hooking up homemade solar arrays from salvaged parts; sadly, reality-TV roles seem to grant street cred in some people's eyes. His television appearance did not redeem him to us, however; he had claimed to me to be an "engineer" and qualified to install solar arrays, but revealed to the TV audience that he didn't finish school and we subsequently discovered he had no contractors license either (duh, I suppose.) We haven't tracked him either and don't know if he's still out there with his gimcrack systems, but we wouldn't put it past him.

    After the fire our home became the focus of a federal investigation by the Consumer Product Safety Commission; there is a report available and it costs about $80 to obtain. It contains the story as reported to the CPSC investigator from the angle of each of the parties involved--and those who read the report may note some inconsistencies between the narratives. We will not comment on this too specifically, but I can attest that we were truthful about our failings, as was our contractor. You can decide for yourselves about the others in the report.

    We do not know what action the CPSC has taken in the matter or re: solar panel safety in general, and would appreciate info on that if any of you are following that data.

    We submitted additional reports to many government and private agencies, and also spoke at length with professionals in the field trying to gain some perspective on what really happened here, where we went wrong and what we could do to help educate others. There were those who told us our inspector also shared in the blame--he should have noted the lack of UL listing and the buckled panels, but I guess he didn't really know what he was looking at and here in L.A. we had/have few city regulations about what sorts of panels are allowed. He made sure the wiring was okay and that was pretty much it. When he returned to inspect our new Enphase system over a year later, he was accompanied by his supervisor and was very thorough.

    I had a long talk with the supervisor about our Incident and the importance of educating our city's inspectors about solar, especially since our neighborhood is very active in pilot programs for shared civic solar energy. Sadly, there doesn't seem to be much movement in this direction in our local Building and Safety Department or the DWP. We also wish the Feds would step in and establish minimal manufacturing safety standards like they do for cars....but no movement we know of yet.

    When things settled down a little we took the firefighters who responded some pizza and a thank-you card, and the captain on duty apologized for breaking down our front door--when the fire engine rounded the corner, the flames were so high they thought the house was fully engulfed so they wanted to get into the attic immediately. Once they realized it was just the panels and the roof on fire, "it was easy-peasy." They did a great job, cleaned up after themselves and secured the front door and vented most of the smoke before they left, and I was astonished that they didn't leave one puddle or break one knick-knack tromping through with hoses and fans etc. We LOVE our local firefighters!

    I also spoke with a couple of the other responding fireguys who said they really would like more education about solar energy systems and how to deal with them; they don't get a lot of info and they see the scare stories on the internet like everyone else. Seems like city and county governments need to take note and help their Building and Fire departments get up to speed here, especially since both legit and not-legit systems are rapidly going up all over the West Coast.

    So to conclude (for the moment): two years after our panel fire, we now have a system we feel confident about, I've stopped feeling insecure about the house burning down, and our incentive payment has been deposited. We're now feeling like IT'S OVER. I told myself that once I could finally report a happy ending I would pitch a magazine article about The Incident in an effort to get the word out about some of the perils we encountered; I'm hoping that some of you professionals who contacted me during the investigation might be willing to be interviewed, since I'm NOT planning to go on reality TV to build my solar cred (unlike some people I could mention) anytime soon.

    Please feel free to message us or respond to this post if you have questions. Thanks for your input, harsh though some of it may have been--it was helpful to have our suspicions about these panels confirmed, and to see that there are so many people in the field who care about safety and doing the job right. :)

    Best, The SoCal Solar Safety Poster Children (SunDiego and Spouse)
  • dreesdrees Posts: 481Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Panel Fire Question

    Thanks for following up!
    sundiego wrote: »
    We also wish the Feds would step in and establish minimal manufacturing safety standards like they do for cars....but no movement we know of yet.
    There is - through the NEC and UL - which most would agree err on the side of safety. It's up to the person installing the equipment to know these requirements and the local inspector to double check. The California CSI program goes a bit further which only lets you claim rebates for equipment which they have had tested by third parties. Even more - many utilities require that you submit to them details of the installed equipment before they will let you connect to the grid.

    But enough of your old system.

    Tell us about your new one! (in a new thread perhaps?) :D
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,083Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: Panel Fire Question

    Happy to here you are back whole again and that your contractor was one of the good guys.

    That even your contractor and building inspectors were fooled by the sub contractor does not speak well for the average consumer to figure out if they have a good install or not no matter how much research they do.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • sub3marathonmansub3marathonman Posts: 300Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Panel Fire Question
    sundiego wrote: »
    First off, those of you who have blamed, accused, and abused the contractor so brutally are wrong. Yes, our contractor made mistakes--he was a little guy, very honest, who was getting into solar. We were pleased to hire him as we knew and trusted his work from other projects (and contrary to some of the very mean comments here, we did NOT go with the lowest bid, and YES WE DID obtain bids from bigger, "professional" outlets with whom we were unimpressed. Why? Because our system was small and they acted like they really couldn't be bothered to work with us.)

    Unfortunately, our contractor trusted the wrong subcontractor to guide him through the install--a man who misrepresented his qualifications, assured us we were receiving UL-listed panels, and then obtained and installed the lousy panels you see in the photos.

    There were those who told us our inspector also shared in the blame--he should have noted the lack of UL listing and the buckled panels (bold added), but I guess he didn't really know what he was looking at and here in L.A. we had/have few city regulations about what sorts of panels are allowed. He made sure the wiring was okay and that was pretty much it. When he returned to inspect our new Enphase system over a year later, he was accompanied by his supervisor and was very thorough.

    First, I will add that I'm thankful that in the end everything turned out OK for sundiego. Also, people owe him a large thanks for sharing this informative story.

    However, I would still be less than defensive for the contractor who did the work. Without rehashing, the job was so far below standards that it is hard to believe he was duped too. The contractor is getting paid to be doing the job correctly, which includes inspecting the work of any subcontractors. The inspector is getting paid to do the inspection correctly. The results of their lack of professionalism almost led to a tragedy. When people make mistakes they need to be held accountable.

    Otherwise, I completely concur with sundiego's opinions. When the contractors have work, they can't be bothered with your "little project," so now they are out of work. They are supposed to be licensed, but then, when you look them up on the Internet as I did, you find out their license isn't valid. When you hire a licensed roofer to drill a few holes, and he can't figure out to snap a chalk line to keep things straight because he is an expert who has done this countless times, I don't see how anybody but the roofer is at fault. When you're sitting around all afternoon for the inspector to come out, then find out he's already been there, that's a problem. In my case, he said he looked up at the panels on the roof, and it looked like they were done perfectly. I just said, "Yep," since I'm the one who ended up having to do it alone. And they were done perfectly, probably better than if a contractor had installed them, but it would have been nice to know an "expert" checked too, as they were supposed to. (That inspector left not long after, and I have found the local officials to be very helpful and conscientious.) Just like in our other house, where an inspector never checked the GFCI circuits, so somebody could have been electrocuted using a hair dryer in the bathroom. BUT, it was a home inspector who caught it when we were selling the house, and I am thankful for his professionalism. It is what people are depending on. As can be seen, people's lives can be at stake.
  • arcturusk1arcturusk1 Posts: 26Solar Expert
    Re: Panel Fire Question

    This has been a pretty fascinating story to follow. I read all 8 pages so far and my jaw was on the floor for the first few. Then I realized it was a story from 2009!

    Well, I'm glad to hear things are settled now with Sundiego, although I'm pretty pissed at the subcontractor and even general contractor.

    Firstly, the subcontractor deserves jailtime for this and significant financial punishment. I know this nation is all about being PC and you can't say mean things lest you hurt someone's poor feelings, but this guy is a scumbag. He's a sociopath, or at least borderline. He "got out of there fast and didn't look back"? Then he shows up on a reality-TV show? I am enraged at the lack of punishment. He deserves to rot. Disgusting. I can only hope karma bites him in the butt.

    Secondly, the contractor needed (or still needs to?) to get his head out of his behind. I don't care how new you are, if you're getting into an industry you should try to get at least a little bit of training in that field! Just taking a good certification course and passing the NABCEP Entry-Level test would easily allow someone to stop crap like this in its tracks. Contacts lifting? Good grief. You don't even need to the Entry-Level certificate to notice ghetto attachment methods and sub-sub-sub-par panels. Crimeny! I hope the contractor has wised up and has gotten some experience and training to help avoid this next time.

    I'm glad Sundiego has a new solar get-up; I think he'll enjoy an Enphase system as they're very slick. I would just hope those blatantly negligent jerks that were involved would get theirs. Thanks for the story Sundiego!
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,083Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: Panel Fire Question

    I was one of the people that was pretty hard on the contractor(s) involved--But I want make sure that we don't go down a dark road here...

    We only know bits and pieces, and made some guesses (educated and otherwise:roll:).

    I just want to thank sundiego again for posting both the opening posts, and coming back a couple years later to close the loop.

    It is easy for those of us with no skin in the game to make comments--This was Sundiego's family, home, and money (and apparently some ugly moments too).

    I don't believe that Sundiego did anything wrong... He followed the process, as a consumer, and trusted the people involved--Including Building Inspectors. But--thanks to his terrible experience, we are all better educated now.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • newguynewguy Posts: 5Registered Users ✭✭
    Re: Panel Fire Question
    sundiego wrote: »

    When things settled down a little we took the firefighters who responded some pizza and a thank-you card, and the captain on duty apologized for breaking down our front door--when the fire engine rounded the corner, the flames were so high they thought the house was fully engulfed so they wanted to get into the attic immediately. Once they realized it was just the panels and the roof on fire, "it was easy-peasy." They did a great job, cleaned up after themselves and secured the front door and vented most of the smoke before they left, and I was astonished that they didn't leave one puddle or break one knick-knack tromping through with hoses and fans etc. We LOVE our local firefighters!

    I also spoke with a couple of the other responding fireguys who said they really would like more education about solar energy systems and how to deal with them; they don't get a lot of info and they see the scare stories on the internet like everyone else. Seems like city and county governments need to take note and help their Building and Fire departments get up to speed here, especially since both legit and not-legit systems are rapidly going up all over the West Coast.

    As a firefighter that's spent 30+ years hearing only gripes and complaints usually, I applaud you for thinking of the firefighters involved and thanking them. It's often a crappy job that goes unrecognized. THANKS!!!
  • ggunnggunn Posts: 1,973Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Panel Fire Question
    BB. wrote: »
    I was one of the people that was pretty hard on the contractor(s) involved--But I want make sure that we don't go down a dark road here...

    We only know bits and pieces, and made some guesses (educated and otherwise:roll:).
    While I agree with you in spirit, even a cursory glance at the pix taken before the fire show that whoever mounted the modules on that roof is (or was) clueless about racking, whether or not it contributed to the cause of the fire. That system would never have even come close to passing inspection here in Austin.
  • JamesJames Posts: 246Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Panel Fire Question

    Wow!
    Just ran into this thread.
    I'm glad the situation has been resolved.

    From the "after" photo provided, I would say almost certainly the subject panels have (had) plastic front covers. A close look at the remaining panel clearly shows warped and lifted panel front. That is exactly what plastic (Acrylic in particular) would look like after subjecting to heat of the temperature involved. Normally Polycarbonate (Lexan, etc) is self extingushing to a certain point. Acrylic will burn easier than polycarbonate.
    I have worked with both plastics for many years and have thermoformed both. I have also tried to ignite both. Acrylic will sustain a flame when lit with a cigarette lighter.
    My guess from here is that the fronts were acrylic.
    You should be able to find/see blackened, bubble-like solid goo at the fringe areas of the surviving panel.

    Another fine example of why to avoid the idea of homemade panels on your home. I think the idea of building a panel (1 panel) for fun and leaning is fine, but never to actually set it up in a system.

    Either way, no good.
  • dataman19dataman19 Posts: 6Registered Users
    Re: Panel Fire Question

    Wow - I read this thread and I am amazed....
    I am so amazed I am spending the money to get all the technical/investigative report copies...
    ...
    Properly done, DIY panels are not this dangerous. I know this for a fact.
    ...
    I have built over thirty DIY Panels - they have been performing for over ten years - No problems.
    ..
    Would I build panels like those - - HELL NO - no way.
    ..
    Would I use bubble gum to hold my bumper on my car? Get real....
    ...
    Incidentally I am familiar with the aka: Virginia Company mentioned. The results do not surprise me.
    ..
    He showed up at a University Sponsored event where I presented a paper on DIY panels and was less that professional.
    ..
    Incidentally, the point that Vacuum Sealing (W It is actually vacuum bonding) of the panels modules to the Glass face with a layer of EVA encapulant as the bonding agent is correct. It is not only desirable, it is necessary. The backing is almost always Tedlar ans is usually bonded to a ridged back plate (fiberglass is the material of choice for Chinese panels), The EVA PVCell Structures are sandwitched between the EVA sheets and then they are placed onto the glass faceplate (the panel is constructed face down) and a vacuum laminator is used to bond the whole thing together. The actual rigidity of the panel is the faceplate and the framework.
    ..
    Please excuse my typing (I hunt and peck at 45 WPM - with maximum errors this late at night. I was so amazed by this thread I just had to stay up all night and read through the whole thing._
    ...
    The roof mounting also does not surprise me - but I do not think the roof mounting had very much to do with the fire. I would suspect the lack of bypass diodes or blocking diodes, and the lack of proper isolation of the solar arrays with the battery system (a signature trait of the Virginia DIY Self Proclaimed Genius's work). I also suspect that the system would not have survived a lightening strike either - but that is pure speculation (based upon similar projects spearheaded by the same self proclaimed genius).
    ..
    When we researched building a Solar Panel plant we built twenty four prototype panels, then we worked with a company out of Italy to provide the plant equipment. The cost to build a solar panel fabrication line is a meer $3.8M, and it will produce 740 panels per week on an 8-hour shift schedule (one shift - 3 shifts will yield over 2,100 panels per line). Out stumbling block was (and still is) the PV Cells. I have an associate that can get us the Ingot Saws (also expensive) but we cannot get the Ingots. Everything is basically in China now - and they aren't sharing. Even my associates in Germany (ie: Siemens) are having yo deal with this issue.
    ...
    Anyone can build a quality Solar Panel (and a safe one at that) - but it is ever so much easier and cheaper to build a POS (use your own interpretation of POS). I would venture to say there are thousands and thousands of DIY solar panels out there - there are several hundred (maybe a thousand or so) that are actually poorly constructed.
    This is exactly why DIY panels do not and will not qualify for any Federal or State Rebate program. There s no Standardization and no certification of traceability or accountability. Sure I can build a DIY panel that rivals any commercial panel, but I haven't submitted panels for destructive inspection and destructive testing and evaluations.... No one who is interested in building two or two dozen panels would. But most people if educated properly would want to build a "safe" panel - they are after all going to use them themselves.
    ..
    Incidentally our Solar Panel plant was rejected by the Investors because they thought $7.9M to build a solar panel plant was too risky - Solar power was a non-profit or niche industry. But my associate went ahead and built his plant in Tuscon Arizona (last time I checked, they don;'t have a wafer foundry there either) - it was such a low profit enterprise that he went into the black his fourth year (he spent over $11M and set up three production lines). He now has seven lines in operation, and paid cask for the last two. The solar Industry is exploding, so much that cheap knock offs and fly by night con men are flooding in to cash in. Then there is the You Tube hucksters who will tell you you can build a quality panel out of cheap plexiglass and plywood (seriously, where do you buy cheap plexiglass, and plywood - have you priced plywood lately?). I have watched a lot of you tube videos, and I just shake my head when I think of all the poor uneducated people who believe it.
    ..
    Have you seen that TV Commercial where the young girl is explaining how she read it on the internet? "They couldn't say it if it weren't true", when challenged she says "Heard it on the Internet". Then she says my new boyfriend is coming ' he's a french model that I met on the internet".
    ..
    If that don't sum it up for you - nothing will.
    ...
    Vigilance is the strength that protects us - Knowledge is what gives us the opportunity to grow. Take either one out of the equation and you give the con man his opportunity to act.
    ..
    Dave
    Phoenix, AZ
  • raulfvfraulfvf Posts: 4Registered Users
    Hello Guys,

    What matterial's do you're using on the back side of the panel, and the frame module?

    Thank you all those who can help,
    Raul.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 4,099Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    I keep getting adds from Du Pont who make a backing for solar panel companies.  I know panasonic uses it among other panel manufactures.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • kc8adukc8adu Posts: 42Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    glad it all worked out.
    but any installer that has worked with panels at all would know they were installing garbage.
    so they are not blameless.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 4,099Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    This is an old thread BTW :)
    Any Installer?  I doubt you can use a word as big as any? I have seen some pretty good makes of panels that are seconds from Sun Electric that caught fire. How was the installer going to know that?
    Most of the installers I see are Electricians getting into solar and are pretty clueless about most of it.
    Especially getting it to work right offgrid!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Posts: 4,746Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2016 #87
    This is an old thread BTW :) 
    ``````````
    I have seen some pretty good makes of panels that are seconds from Sun Electric that caught fire. How was the installer going to know that?
    Were they seconds that carried UL cert? If so then the manufacturer is taking responsibility that they are selling a product that meets the specifications.

    I know Sun does sell some unlisted products, and would hope no one ever used them on a roof.

    ....as to "caught fire" what caught fire? I guess they were plastic/acrylic faced installed in a high voltage string? also something I wouldn't recommend.

    I've purchased Listed 2nds from Sun Electronics twice, and all have been fine performers. Both time they were Evergreen panels and last purchase was 4-5 years ago.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, ForkLift battery. Off grid for @13 of last 14 years. 1000 watts being added to current CC, @2700 watts to be added with an additional CC.
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,083Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    I would suggest starting a new thread to discuss other panel failures (and worse)--If anyone is interested. This thread is now >7 years old and does a fine job of documenting the original poster's issues.

    Let's not take this one off topic.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 4,099Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2016 #89
    Yes Sir! I am sure anyone could PM or e-mail me if it was that important :)
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

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