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"Three Decades of PV Experience, Reliability and Energy Production Results"

The Need for High Performance PV

If you are seeking accuracy, value, reliability, performance, which is really more energy per dollar spent, system longevity and lower long term costs for O&M, you may wish to consider the following:

If you are concerned about the answers you may wish to consider a Third party Specialist.

There is a greater Return On Investment (ROI) and Internal Rate of Return (IIR) if PV system is appropriate for your site or project. When you understand the technology, can ask and answer those questions, and believe that value is in what you produce per dollar spent, you win. It’s not just what you know that counts; it is how it is applied from project start through system life.

Wespac Construction Phoenix - Monitoring Is Critical to Performance, a PV system without monitoring is like a airliner without gauges and a rudder.
Wespac Construction Phoenix
Courtesy of PerfectPower Inc. and the Energy Doctor LLC
Critical Note:

The “Knowledge is Power!” myth is a cliché for the lazy and arrogant.
Knowledge is power only when it is acted on and applied properly!

This and many other reasons are why High Performance PV was founded.

Until 2010, Dr. Balfour continued to consult and write under The Energy Doctor name including numerous newspaper and magazine articles, white papers, and speaks publically on solar issues on a regular basis. The Energy Doctor Site is now becoming more of an education site. Please see www.TheEnergyDoctor.com for more information.

As of April 2011 as lead author, he completed and has published a college PV curriculum titled “The Art and Science of Photovoltaic Technology”. This educational series of six textbooks provides a foundation for young professionals that are serious about a career in PV. It lays the professional foundation to understand the minimum safety aspects which are addressed under the National Electrical Code, and the performance issues which are often ignored. The Six texts include an introduction to PV Technology, two design texts and two installation texts and a text book to help prepare for NABCEP Testing and Certification.

These texts along with his next book, “High Performance PV, Photovoltaic Design and Installation, The PV System Evaluation, Analysis and Design Parameters and 36 Criteria Groups and Tools Essential to Design and Install High Performance PV Systems”, are laying an international foundation for the development of high performance PV standards.

Performance is all about system output, reliability, longevity (a 40 year design life compared to 10 or 15 years). High performance is the ability to provide designs and deliver systems that provide long term value to the customer with low operations and maintenance costs. It incorporates over 100 years of PV industry learning and application. It includes some of the most recent and valuable information from a number of national and international energy laboratories and Dr. Balfour’s PV construction and contracting experience.

In Arizona and many other states, there is absolutely no legal requirement for solar training or education to be able to legally design or install a PV system. An electrician’s license is required, yet  without training and experience that is like having your family doctor or dentist provide brain or heart surgery services.

The person who cuts your hair in Arizona for example, a cosmetologist, is required to have 1600 hours of supervised classroom and hands on training.

The answer to the educational question of, “What’s missing?” is basic knowledge, skills and experience that are presently elusive in the industry. This is creating a growing challenge for PV system buyers that are only buying marketing claims with little talent to do the job right.

So how will you ever know?

“The Art and Science of Photovoltaic Technology” as a learning program, is a program of approximately 1200 hour classroom including the lab program. For the additional hands on installation and design experience in the real PV world, it requires another 1000 to 2000 hours of on the job training. That does not qualify anyone to be an expert

However, it lays an incredible foundation for information and hands on application of the latest procedures for the application of PV technologies and how to get more energy out of systems.

Speaking at the Inauguration of the Total Transit PV system, Dr. Balfour speaks to the crowd about consistency of design, installation teamwork and congratulating the client on making the High Performance decision. The Total transit system performs with a Solar Performance factor (SPF) of over 1.9. It is constancy one of the higher performing systems in the USA.
Total Transit, Glendale AZ
Courtesy of PerfectPower Inc. and the Energy Doctor LLC

During the process of writing this curriculum with his writing team, Dr. Balfour decided that it was time to develop and provide a complete third party PV services engineering and consulting firm. His decision to launch High Performance PV was based on the Following:

  1. The PV industry is hemorrhaging with brand new, untrained, under skilled, inexperienced and unknowledgeable individuals and companies that have not mastered PV, its design, installation, operation and maintenance.
  2. The PV industry does not have any existing design and installation standards which raise the bar on system performance, reliability, robustness and longevity.
  3. The resources and training in the industry are not keeping up with the technology, how it operates and as a result, many mistakes are made that are unnecessary.
  4. There is a great void of sufficient PV training and education facilities in North America, and on the other hand, a growing glut of under qualified seminars, PV programs and unknowledgeable schools set up to absorb government grant money.
  5. Being an “expert” in any other field does not make you an “expert” in PV. “You wouldn’t go to a dentist for open heart surgery,” notes Dr. Balfour, “why would you go to someone even with transferable skills without the PV knowledge and experience to do the job right”.

    In Dr. Balfour’s world there are no “experts” in the PV industry. There are generally two types of PV professional:
    • The people who feel or believe they are “experts”, and have generally quit educating themselves seriously and professionally, and
    • The PV professionals who specialist in an intensive and continual learning process that never ends. Most of these tend to ne more realistic about their and their industries limitations.
    In the words of Clint Eastwood, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” It is very true for solar professionals too!
  6. The Industry has developed far too many myths and assumptions about the PV technologies and their integration. The results are that the vast majority of the industry is designing and installing to the minimum legal safety standard or below, the NEC which as you will see below is not s PV standard, a design standard or a training standard.

    You may want to ask yourself if your business and personal style, ethics and investment acumen is to choose the minimum legal standard in your planning and decision making, or are you looking for more and better. Success and progress are not the culmination of doing or being the least you can be.

    As a result, the fact is that most PV systems designed and installed today are underperforming. This means they are throwing away the owners good money when we as an industry can do much better.

Dr. Balfour is following the publication of “The Art and Science of Photovoltaic Technology” to the solar education process with his new book titled, “High Performance PV, Photovoltaic Design and Installation, The PV System Evaluation, Analysis and Design Parameters and 36 Criteria Groups and Tools Essential to Design and Install High Performance PV Systems.” This book is targeted for release in December 2011.

PV Beginnings in the 1970’s
Working with the Solar Industry Legends
The Solar Boom Becomes The Solar Bust
In Preparation For Solar Boom II, PerfectPower Inc.
What does this “Award Winning” really mean?
Designing and Installing PV for the National Electric Code, (NEC) usually results in SubPrime PV. We Can ALL Do Much Better!
What Is a Solar Professional? A Definition and Description