(818) 883-6969

Who is on your roof?:

Choice A-
Trained professionals
who arrive with $xxxx
of solar equipment,

or Choice B-
. . . a 'handyman'
with a $20 generic
multi-meter and a
screwdriver . . .

Did you know?
Shading of just 10%
of a module by dirt
or bird-droppings
can reduce its power
output by 50%!

Look at it like this:
If your car sat still
on the driveway,
unwashed, for many months, the roof
and windshield and hood would have a
thick layer of grime
-- fallen from the air.
Your solar panels:
same grimy layer!



You should know: Roof-top solar energy systems are NOT 'maintenance-free'!
Some of the things
that happen over time
can reduce the efficiency (output)
of your system:

--- Dirt, soot, smog,
tree-sap, leaves,
and bird-droppings on
the modules
(makes the panels think it is a VERY cloudy day!)
--- Damage to the many feet of cable and wiring by rodents, UV (sun), and wind-movement abrasion



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At mid-day, 1000 watts of energy are falling on every square meter of earth, free for the taking!




Roof temperatures can
reach 150° mid-day;

even on a cool morning,
the roof is often 100°+.


Most don't know this:

Your system puts out more power on a cool sunny day than it does
on a hot sunny day!




What 'looks good'
from the street is sometimes different once on the roof.





Example of
'galvanic corrosion'

in a solar water
heating system




Do you count on
rain to keep your
car clean?!
Even if you do,
cars run good
when dirty-- solar components do not.

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(sorry to keep saying
this, but in the last 3
years, we had to
legally slap 2 persons
who unwisely
chose to copy or mimic our
intellectual property!)



Some installers forget:

Regardless of the roof's pitch, for optimum average year-round performance with just one setting, the modules all need to be mounted at a tilt-angle identical to your area's latitude; for example, the latitude of Los Angeles is 34 degrees ---to compare: Chicago is at 42° latitude---, so the mounting angle of the modules must be at 34° from horizontal zero in Los Angeles

(this might help to understand it: if a module was standing 'straight up & down', it would be at 90°; if it was laying flat on most sidewalks, that would be 0°).

Most roofs are not the same angle as the area's latitude, this usually meaning that the upper end of each module needs to be a slight different distance off the roof than that
of the bottom of each module.




The modules should
be facing true south for best performance.




Solar components can be damaged by rats,
birds, and squirrels,

including the 8 feet of exposed wiring tucked behind each module!  

>>Note- these many
pieces of wiring and
their plastic
connectors, hidden
between the hot roof
and the scorching
solar panels, are often
baking all day at 160°.




Need to know what your latitude is?
Use the GPS unit in your car; choose the 'Where am I?' option;
given location details will include latitude.




Roof Danger Factor:

Height, power lines,
heat, glass sheets--

NOT a place to send
a maid, a window-washer, a student,
or a handyman!



A roof that has a pitch
of 8-in-12 has an angle
of 34°; 12-in-12 is 45°;
4-in-12 is 18°.



-----scheduled maintenance plans available-----



NEVER unplug a solar module while sun is reaching it.



'Standard Test Conditions' for solar panels/modules is done at 25 degrees celsius, which is 77 degrees farenheit.




Ouch-- water from your hose, coming from underground, might be up to 100 degrees cooler than the glass of the panels; ever see a hot window cracked at a car wash? Glass on solar panels on a hot day can be as hot as 180°!




Many people have
never noticed this:

--At noon in the
the sun is almost directly above you.

--At noon in the
the sun is far south of being above you.

This is why some people make
'seasonal adjustments'
to the mounting-angle
of their solar panels.



Installation/adjustment 'SECRET':
Known as 'declination',
modules adjusted toward true-south instead of toward compass-south can
often get a 5-10% output increase
(compass-south is
more than 10° wrong
from true-south)





It is hot, dirty,
and dangerous
on your roof!

Call us to serve you.



Cable and wiring that
is not inside protective
conduit is vulnerable.




25° C = 77° F
40° C = 104° F.

You need to know this,
because: manuals for
many solar system
products gives temp
settings in celsius
while most of us think
in farenheit numbers.



Also available:

We can help with
the formal scientific
Solar Site Shading Analysis
(Insolation Quantification) detailed reports that are
required to be submitted with rebate & permit requests.


Ask for Sean



Don't put a
part-timer on
your roof
with your
valuable solar investment.

We help
to pass
the state
Solar Contractor
license test!






We can recommend
quick and local
solar classes for you.



Systems that
use batteries

for backup
have hazardous
other dangers
sulfuric acid
hydrogen gas!



That's a lot of free
electricity going to waste every day:

Half of one day's
sunlight falling on
the US would
provide enough
energy to run
our country for
a full year.



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Don't use tap water
in solar batteries:

it contains minerals
that can cause corrosion
and shorten
battery life.

Use distilled or
deionized water.




Serving the counties
of Los Angeles,
Orange, and Ventura,
and surrounding areas



Using 'specific gravity'
(electrolyte density;
the ratio of thick
sulphuric acid
to water)

of battery fluid
to check its strength:

1.265= 100% charged
1.225= 75% charged
1.155= 25% charged
1.120= 0% charged

(at 77°)







Thanks to the
US Solar Initiative
of the past few years,
many many schools
have (and are still
currently) pumped
thousands of 'solar
installer class
graduates' into
the workplace.

'Obama-bucks' have made many schools
busy, teaching students how to install panels
on roofs while being supervised by licensed contractors.

Some students, later finding no work,
now claim to be
'Trained Solar Technicians' and start
'solar businesses'.

Good guys and gals.
But the truth is,
their inexperienced
work, no proper
safety equipment,
no repair training,
their lacking any
real hands-on solar
experience or
advanced knowledge
or equipment, is an
accident ready to happen today if
they are hired by a
homeowner for
maintenance or


Amateurs often
break or stain
roofing material


If you have batteries
in your system, then
you have a charge

Is it is the older-technology 2-stage
'Off-On' type, or
is it a much-better
3 or 4-stage model?

2-stage is like a
car that only has
two speeds:
0 and 60 mph!
(Rough on brakes &
passenger's necks,
or in this case:
battery life).

It will work, but it is harder on batteries.

3 or 4-stage
controllers are
more like a car
that has more speeds:
60, 10, 1, and 0 mph.

Those 4 battery-
charging stages
are known as
(first strong charge), 'absorption'
(next, medium charge),
(final light charge),
and 'night' (off).

That 1-mph constant
'trickle-charge' is
one thing that the
older Off-On types
are sorely lacking.

3 or 4 stage charging can double the life
of a battery
compared with On-Off charging, and typically sends
30% more solar energy
into the battery
       per day.

Average battery state-
of-charge is 90-95%
compared to 55-60%
for On-Off regulators.

MPPT, or maximum power point tracker,
is an electronic DC
to DC converter that
optimizes the match
between the solar
array (PV panels),
and the battery.
The controller looks
at the output of the
panels, and compares
it to the battery voltage.
It then figures out
what is the best
power that the panel can put out to
charge the battery.
It takes this and
converts it to best
voltage to get
maximum amps into

the battery. (It is
amps into the
battery that counts).
Most modern MPPTs
are around 92-97%
efficient in the

You typically get a
20 to 45% power
gain in winter and
10-15% in summer
using a 3 or 4 stage
charge controller
over a 2-stage.

we have a list of
good men and women available to assist you
as laborers and in other
positions at your
solar projects.



(818) 883-6969




American Solar
Energy Society



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Pride and

Shown as one long page to allow you to 1-click-print the whole thing for reference!

Shading of just 10% of
a module by dirt or bird
droppings can reduce its
power output by 50%!

Solar Photovoltaic System Cleaning and Maintenance

(and for solar water-heating and for tracking units too!)

'Protecting rooftop sun-energy systems
for homeowners, HOAs and Property
Management companies in the counties
of Los Angeles, Ventura, and Orange'

Our 16 types of system maintenance, consulting,
'tune-ups', and system output improvement:

(read to also learn 'secrets' about your own system!)

-----scheduled maintenance plans also available-----

>Type 1: Cleaning needed for output improvement

--the most requested service--

> we can clean all module glass sun-surfaces
   (with ambient-temperature de-mineralized
   cleaning solution, to prevent any glass-shock
   or hard-water spots.)

(Note: Level 1 service is also available for
rooftop solar thermal water-heating equipment;
see #7 below.)

Did you know?

>>Type 2: Important rooftop maintenance

--a close second-most requested service--

> > we can inspect modules for signs of degradation
       (color changes, fogged glazing, de-lamination,
       warping, or water leaks), cracked glazing, and/or
       bent frames

> > we can check all roof-top connections

> > we can tighten all roof-top mounting hardware
      (it can loosen up, thanks to the wind always
      tugging back & forth, trying to lift those many
      long flat panels; wind force on the roof is far
      different than that at ground level)

> > we can inspect exposed wiring for rodent & other
      damage (see left photo below)


> > we can check for rust, galvanic corrosion, and
      electrolysis (see right photo above)

> > we can secure any wiring loose under the modules

> > we can clip any new interfering vegetation growth

> > we can inspect that the cable-ties are UV-resistant
      and are weather-resistant.

> > we can verify that cables are not exceeding
       acceptable bend-radius and that they have any
       needed drip-loop prior to entry points.

> > we can inspect module-to-module ground connections

> > we can apply restorations or sealants

> > we can verify proper required air-flow clearance
       between the modules and the roof

> > we can verify that there are sufficient support legs    
      ('standoffs') under the panels and their racking
      --the correct number for some areas is not enough
      for windier areas; panels may exceed their
      flex-limit without sufficient stiffening (support legs)

> > we can inspect the sealants applied around all     
      rooftop penetrations

> > we can clean away cooling-inhibiting dust and dirt
       from the electrical combiner box and from the
       DC-to-AC inverter(s)

(Note: Level 2-type service is also available
for rooftop solar thermal water-heating equipment;
see #7 below.)

Roof Danger Factor:

Height, power lines, heat, glass sheets--

not a place to send a maid,
a window-washer,
a student, or a handyman!

>>>Type 3: Making use of your warranty

> > > we can check the power output of each rooftop
         solar photovoltaic module
         (most have exacting 25-year output warranties
         each, so you replace any that are not performing
         to warranty specifications).  

>>>>Type 4: One year-round tilt vs seasonal tilts

> > > > We can adjust the altitude tilt-angle of
             the modules for maximum intake of sun,
             with these options (note- if a module was
             standing 'straight up & down', that would
             be 90 degrees, and if were laying flat on
             most sidewalks, that would be 0°

> > > > . . . for one best
year-round average setting,
             we can
adjust all modules to a 34-degree tilt
   (the latitude in L.A. area) from horizontal

> > > > . . . for maximum output in summer months,
             we can
adjust tilt-angle back 10 to 15 degrees
             from 34° to 19-24°, because the sun is higher
             in the sky for that part of the year. This summer
             adjustment is known as 'summer bias'.

> > > > . . . for maximum output in winter months,
             we can adjust tilt-angle forward 10-15 degrees
    from 34° to 44-49°, because the sun is lower
             in the sky for that part of the year. This winter
             adjustment is known as 'winter bias'.

     (see example of tilt-angles 24°, 34°, and 44° below)

The goal of these changes: keeping the sun-to-
solar-panel's 'incidence angle' (a measure of
deviation of something from being "straight on"),
as close to 90° as possible as the sun changes
its place in the sky as the seasons change.

Many people have never noticed this:
At noon in the summer,
the sun is almost directly above you.
At noon in the spring and winter,
the sun is more south from being above you.
At noon in the winter,
the sun is even further south from being above you.

This should explain it:
Summer noon sun is high in the mid-sky,
Spring & fall noon sun is a bit lower,
Winter noon sun is low in the southern sky.

For those that want to make 4 adjustments per
year as to get the highest output: in spring the
tilt angle should be adjusted to equal your latitude;
in summer the tilt angle to equal your latitude,
minus 10 degrees; in fall the tilt angle to equal
your latitude; and in winter the tilt angle equal
to your latitude, plus 10 degrees.

With such adjustments, the maximal efficiency
could be continually obtained throughout the year.

This involves work, time, and expense;
so, most homeowners choose to instead
use just the one average setting of
their location's latitude, right in the middle.

Here are the 'Solar Seasons':

Solar Winter is October 13 to February 27

Solar Spring is February 27 to April 20

Solar Summer is April 20 to August 22

Solar Fall is August 22 to October 13

>>>>>Type 5:
Adjusting for foggy-morning areas

(if you have foggy late mornings but sunny afternoons)

> > > > > Optimum system performance depends on
                panels receiving 'clean' sun from 9am to                 3pm. If you live in an area that usually
                has morning fog past 10am but usually has
                sunny afternoons past 3pm, then the panels
                should be adjusted to face south-southwest
                instead true-south. We can usually adjust
                this for you.

>>>>>>Type 6: Solar pre-purchase inspections

> > > > > >we can inspect all systems for
                  pre-purchase, sale, and/or transfer
                  situations, typically to document
                  obvious system deficiencies or
                  code violations. Can assist buyers,                               sellers, banks, home inspectors and
                  property inspectors.

>>>>>>>Type 7:
Solar water heating systems


There are 2 main thermal types:
'Evacuated Tube' (above left)
and 'Flat Plate' (above right)

and occasionally a third type,

> > > > > > >we can inspect systems for pre-purchase,
                      sale, and/or transfer situations,
                      typically to document obvious system
                      deficiencies or code violations.
                      Can assist buyers, sellers, banks,
                      and home/property inspectors.

> > > > > > >we can clean all module glass sun-surfaces
                     (with ambient-temperature
                     de-mineralized cleaning solution, to
                     prevent any glass-shock or

                     hard-water spots.)

> > > > > > >we can check all roof-top connections

> > > > > > >we can trace any leaks
> > > > > > >we can advise of methods to determine
                     internal galvanic corrosion (crud inside
                     due to use of dissimilar metals in

> > > > > > >we can inspect systems to verify if they
                     have a cleaning provision

> > > > > > >we can flush most tank types to remove

> > > > > > >we can change the heat-transfer fluid
                     (like anti-freeze) on close-looped systems

> > > > > > >we can trim any vegetation grown causing
                     interference or shading

> > > > > > >we can replace any fouled liquid

> > > > > > >we can replace the anode rod

(new anode rod on left,
worn one on right)

An anode rod is like a 'corrosion magnet'.

Like a 'bodyguard' for the water heater,

it keeps the tank from rusting out.

It attracts corrosion to keep it way from other parts

the water heater. It can last about 5 years, but

using salt/sodium for water-softening can greatly

speed its death. It is a rod made of either magnesium

or aluminum, formed around a steel core wire.

Located in the top of the tank, it is actually

very low-priced.
Some tanks even have two.

When there is no 'sacrificial' metal left on the rod,

the corrosion attacks the other parts of the water

Replace it before it breaks, drops, moves

around, and cracks the glass lining of the water tank.

> > > > > > >we can perform annual water heater flush

> > > > > > >we can inspect for any water-loss points

NOTE: we have the factory-issued Installation and
Operation manuals for virtually all solar
water-heating systems in use.

>>>>>>>>Type 8: Batteries

Most 'grid-tie' (connected to the power company)
systems do not use batteries
at all; only a small percentage
of these homes use batteries as
emergency back-up power storage.

(Example of a solar battery)

Homes hooked to the power company that do use
batteries as back-up typically use four batteries.
Off-grid' homes (homes not hooked up to the
power company) use MANY more
giving the home all of its power day and

About batteries in 'off-grid' homes:

Solar panels do not 'power'
anything in the home.

Everything in the home is
powered by a battery bank.

Solar panels are there just to
charge up the battery bank.

The battery bank is like a 'bank account':

you can only 'take out' (use for lighting, etc)
what you 'put in' (charging from the sun).

>>> > > > > >we can inspect batteries for any visible
                         sign of imperfection, especially
                         corrosion or leakage

> > > > > > > >we can measure the condition of each
                         individual cell of each battery
                         (not available for all battery types)

Did you know:
A '12-volt' battery that tests to having
12.0 volts is only about half-charged;
fully charged is closer to 13 volts!

> > > > > > > >we can check all battery connections

> > > > > > > >we can verify that your battery rack
                       has proper spill containment, rack
                       seismic security, and nearby
                       neutralization (for spill clean-up).

> > > > > > > >we can verify, per code, that all live        battery parts are guarded

> > > > > > > >we can verify, per code, that no top
                           of a lead-acid battery case is within
   six inches of metal

The 3 main types of solar deep-cycle batteries:
flooded lead acid, gel, and AGM.

> > > > > > > >we can check all individual cells of
                        each battery via hydrometer
                        (not available for all battery types)

Boring, but important:
A metered voltage test of a battery is
not a reliable indicator of its condition;

sulphate can cause a 'resistance to charging'
and also give a 'false high-voltage reading'.

Only a specific gravity test (hydrometer)
of each cell will give accurate results.

Don't work on these batteries
without eye protection and while
wearing clothes you don't want destroyed!

> > > > > > > >we can fill to proper level each
                         individual cell of each battery with
                         distilled water (NOT tap water)

The fluid in new 'wet' (lead acid) batteries
is 1/3 sulphuric acid, 2/3 distilled water;
in 'gel' batteries, it is more like a paste.
Later, and fully charged, wet batteries
become about 1/4 sulphuric acid.

> > > > > > > >we can charge any weak battery,
                         in hopes of 'reviving it' and
                         eliminating the need to replace it

Battery Facts:
1- Batteries discharge more in winter.
2- The outer cells lose the most electrolite.

> > > > > > > >we can inspect battery enclosures
                         for proper upper and lower venting
                         to the outside and for proper spillage
                         retention capability

> > > > > > > >we can clean & adjust all interconnects

> > > > > > > >we can re-torque battery connections

> > > > > > > >we can verify that your battery bank
                has the low-price option that
       increases battery life:
            a temperature-sensor that
      adjusts charging rate.
                         Without this option, batteries often
                        overcharge during the summer and
                   undercharge during the winter.

< a battery temperature sensor)

A 'secret' about using battery 'temperature sensors':

If you don't have a temperature sensor on
a battery in the battery bank, the charge
controller will default to the temperature
sensor built in to the controller itself.

So, if the controller is located indoors
it is warm in the winter, but the battery bank
is located outdoors or anywhere where it is at
least 10 degrees colder
than where the charge
controller is, and if there is no temp sensor on
the battery bank, then the controller will 'think'
that the batteries are 'warmer' than they really
are in the winter-temperature months.

This will cause the batteries to be undercharged
in the winter. The same dynamics in reverse, in
the summer (where a house interior-mounted
controller might be in air-conditioned comfort
while the battery bank is outside in the heat),
will cause the batteries to 'overcharge', causing
gassing and electrolyte loss, shortening their life.

Did you know:
Batteries kept on average near
90% charge
should last about twice
as long as those kept at 50% charge

> > > > > > > >we can perform a 'corrective equalization
                         charge' on the entire battery collection.
                         This 'controlled overcharge' of all cells
                         refreshes the entire collection and
                         brings all cells to equal strength.
                         (Not available for sealed batteries)
                         This process does cause heat and
                         'gassing', and should be monitored.

> > > > > > > >we can help you extend the life of your
                         battery collection by rotating the                            positions of the batteries within the                           pack. This more evenly distributes
                         the charge between the cells.

A 'secret' why some solar batteries die sooner:
1: Fully-charged batteries don't freeze until -100°.
2: Fully-discharged batteries freeze at only +32°.

Note: not all services available for all battery types.
'Gel' or 'sealed' batteries can not be equalized
or have their electrolyte level corrected.

 Nor can their individual cells be tested.

> > > > > > > >we can perform a monthly or an every-
                        other-month 'battery servicing'
                        (important if you have a battery-
                        bank that costs $10,000 to replace
                        when it eventually dies).

NOTE: we have the factory-issued User Manuals
for virtually all major solar batteries in use.

(818) 883-6969

Click here to e-mail

:: Consulting on any solar project or situation ::

Preventative and Corrective Maintenance

:: Advise of upgrades/re-calls :: Suggestions ::

Increase life-span and efficiency of system

:: Photos of roof-top items can be obtained ::

Stop under-performance & loss of efficiency


Emergency Service Available 24/7

Affiliates in most major cities

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Roof temperatures are often 150°:
it is not a place for amateurs to be.

We can recommend
quick and local
solar classes for you.

FREE telephone consultation

Or need a solar system installed?
Referrals to solar installation
contractors in all major cities

We are the original;
often imitated, never duplicated!


We are 'vendor neutral';
that is, no particular brand of
any solar manufacturer sponsors
us in any way. This means that
we can direct you to the best
components for your needs,
not influenced by a brand contract.

And if any major repair is ever needed,
we can either refer you to multiple contractors
or we can tell you secrets about how to screen them
for true solar-system knowledge and experience.


Best year-round L.A. average setting: 34°

For most summer output, adjust to 19-24°

For most winter output, adjust to 44-49°

Up to 10% more output using seasonal tilts!

Latitude List: Anchorage 62°, Chicago 42°,
Los Angeles 34°, Phoenix 33°, Redding 40°,
San Diego 32°, San Francisco 37°, Tucson 32°

Amateurs often accidentally
break or stain roofing material!

Also available:

We can help with the formal Solar Site Shading Analysis
(Insolation Quantification) scientific reports that are
required to be submitted with rebate & permit requests.

We can assist you with obtaining the required equipment,
related training if needed, or with referrals to persons who
can do the formal analysis for you

Below, moving from left to right,
gives a general idea of the 6 primary
steps --in order-- of a site analysis
(half of the work is on the roof,
the other half is on computer):

If you would like information on
obtaining your own site analysis
equipment & software as above,
the reliable & trusted type
that we solely recommend
--and we train others to use--
is (click here:) SolarPathFinder

If you would like information on obtaining
training in energy auditing,
the one that we solely recommend
--and that we use knowledge from ourselves--
is (click here:)
Energy Audit Training


Check your warning labels!
As of National Electric Code 2008,
specific permanent labels are
required by code to be installed
at the power panel and at several other places, on the roof and on ground equipment.
We can assist.

Do you have the locking cable
latches required by Code since
2008?  Ask for information.

for your rooftop photovoltaic arrays.

(this website shown as one very long page to allow you to 1-click-print the whole thing for reference!)