Panels are very durable and need very little maintenance.

It is true that layers of dust, dirt, or pollen can reduce performance, but we get enough rain in our region that cleaning your array is very rarely necessary. When it snows, the snow melts quickly enough that there is no urgent need to remove it unless you’re an avid ice climbing enthusiast. (An Avalanche snow rake is on the market for those who don’t get their kicks from sitting and watching snow melt.)

On residential systems, routinely scheduled maintenance is unnecessary, but an annual system checkup would be a good idea.

Regardless, systems come with a monitoring platform that tracks daily production. This is very helpful in troubleshooting, and maintenance is only necessary when significant and consistent downward production trends are noted.

First, it’s important to note that panels function on light and not heat. So even in the cold of winter, panels can produce quite well. In fact, most panels perform better in cold temperatures than in extreme heat.

So that also means that as long as some source of light is present, panels will produce some energy no matter what the weather. Yes, of course production is decreased when it is cloudy, raining, or snowing because the direct sunlight is not as great. But if there’s some light, there will still be some energy. In addition, panels such as SunPower’s are designed to perform well even in low light conditions.

If a panel is covered with a blanket of snow, it will produce next to no energy, but the good news is they generate just enough heat and are tilted in such a way that the snow does not stick like it does to other surfaces and it will melt more quickly to get back to energy production.

Yes, the long sunny summer days are ideal for solar installations. Your system will produce the most in June, July, and August, and the least in November, December and January. But the good news is, whenever there is light, it will still produce.

Remember the concept of net-metering: the majority of systems are still connected to the utility grid. So whenever your system isn’t producing as well, you are drawing electricity from the utility company for all of your energy needs at any moment of the day or week. That’s OK, because you’ll receive credit for the electricity you produce on sunny days, and if your production matches your use (no matter which day you’re producing or using), you’ll still break even. So, likewise, if your system is producing and you’re not there to use it, you’ll be sending power to the grid and receiving a credit that will benefit you later on.

The short answer is that there is no actual difference between the panels themselves. Both types of panels create DC power that needs to be inverted to AC power. But the difference lies in where that inversion takes place. The power from DC panels travels to a string inverter or a microinverter installed on the job site. AC panels, however, use microinverters that come preintegrated by the manufacturer and ready for installation. Because these microinverters produce the AC power directly at the individual panel rather than traveling to a string inverter, we refer to them as AC panels.

When install conditions are less than ideal, such as some shading or east-west exposure, panels using microinverters will perform better than DC panels using string inverters.

We are one of Pennsylvania’s few licensed SunPower dealers and we take great pride in their product for good reason.

They’ve been on the leading edge of solar research and manufacturing for 30 years, so they’ve got far more experience than other brands, and it shows. Their leading technology has released panels that are the most efficient on the market with efficiency rates around 21-22%, meaning you can produce more power with less space and in less ideal conditions. Their full 25-year warranty matches no other on the market: performance, equipment, parts, and labor are all covered for 25 years. After 30 years, they know their product is durable enough to last with consistently high performance.

SunPower is not the only product we install, but it’s the product we enjoy installing the most, because we fully believe they are worth the investment. If you ask for a free consultation with us, we’ll show you the panels and systems SunPower makes. When we suggest SunPower, it’s only because we truly believe it’s a top-notch product. Deciding from there what you prefer and what’s in your budget is all part of the process.

For more information visit SunPower’s site. Do the research for yourself and we think you’ll agree that SunPower panels really are better.

Although we take the most pride in installing SunPower systems, it is not the only product we are able to offer. Evoke works with several distributors to deliver a wide variety of options.

Standard Efficiency panels are among the least expensive with efficiency ratings around 15-16%, equipment warranties ranging from 10 to 15 years, and performance guarantees for 25 years at 80%.

LG and Panasonic make High Efficiency panels that are a step above these options with effiency ratings that generally run between 18-19% and similar warranties. Their higher performance often provide a nice balance between quality vs. cost.

Regarding other equipment, when not installing SunPower, we offer SolarEdge inverters and optimizers that greatly increase the performance of your system.

There are many options available depending on current prices and your preferences. We work with SunPower, our distributors, and each customer to find the right fit according to your priorities.

Compare common panel brand efficiencies:

(copyright Sunpower)

If you’re shopping around for solar, be sure to ask these important questions: What warranty terms are being offered? What is covered? Is the coverage for the product and the performance different?

Panel manufacturers generally issue two guarantees.

The first is a product warranty that covers the material from defect, paying for repair or replacement if the panel stops working as it should. Most panel manufacturers offer a product warranty ranging from 10 to 15 years.

The second is a performance or power warranty. Solar panels slowly degrade over time, producing gradually less over the lifetime of the panel. Most panel manufacturers promise their product will still be producing at least 80% of its tested efficiency after 25 years.

One of SunPower’s differences is their superior warranty that is unmatched on the market: 25 years for both their product and performance.

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(copyright Sunpower)

A Sunpower Elite Dealer