Solar monitoring systems give you a clear idea of the power generation and power consumption of your solar system. They do this by having hardware connected to the panels, that gathers and sends the information to a program that you can view through an app or independent monitor. Tracking the energy consumption of your solar system can help you figure out which appliances take up the majority of the power so that you can make adjustments that lead to reducing your monthly bills.
However, a solar panel monitoring system can also perform a variety of other useful functions, such as measuring the grid imports and exports, as well as the battery charge and discharge rate. Here’s what else these pieces of equipment can do for you and why it’s recommended that every solar system owner invests in one.
Notifies You When Something Goes Wrong
Australian homes using solar power save at least $500 per few months. Most people get their bills every three months, and if your inverter comes across an issue and shuts down, you probably won’t notice until you open your bill and get a heart attack. This is due to the fact that solar systems just sit there and operate. If the system stops operating, the grid kicks in and provides power for you instead of your panels, and you’ll have no way to know this until you get your bill.
This happens more often than you think. You get used to $100 bills and then you randomly get a hit with a $1000 bill, for example. A high-tech solar panel monitoring system will provide you with an email or SMS just a few days after the system goes online, giving you time to call your provider and get the solar system working as soon as possible.
Get Solar Panel Performance Alerts
Most quality solar panels come with a performance guarantee of over two decades. But you still can’t be sure that the performance won’t ever drop below the guaranteed minimum. A monitoring system can give you that information by figuring out the optimum performance given the direction and angle of your roof and the weather. This is an incredibly sophisticated feature, and quality monitoring systems can tell you if your system is underperforming even by a few percentages. After all, you’re paying thousands of dollars for your solar panels and systems, so you should make sure you get the performance you paid for.
Get Inverter Performance Alerts
The efficiency of solar power inverters is proportional to your system’s power output. If the performance decreases, so do your savings. A quality solar monitoring system will let you know as soon as there’s a problem with your inverter, so you can fix it or replace it. Some inverters feature built-in solar monitoring. Something many experts recommend is getting a monitoring system from a third-party, as that can keep the inverter’s claims honest. Using a monitor from the inverter manufacturer to advise you whether the inverter’s performance is optimal is like putting a fox in charge of a henhouse.
Solar-powered homes have become a sort of distributed power station. As a result, the consequences of electrical failures can be more dangerous than ever before. If you have a chance to visit a local power station, you’ll quickly notice that they have all types of monitoring systems that alert the operators to problems that may be indicators of costly or dangerous failures. A solar monitoring system can detect all kinds of problems with the help of advanced algorithms. These problems can be warnings that something is about to fail. For instance, a detected problem in a panel may be a symptom of panel breakdown, which can lead to the high voltage produced by the panels to arc and cause a fire.
It goes without saying that a solar power monitoring system can help improve your home’s energy efficiency by providing you with all the information you need to set up your solar system optimally. For instance, your always-on power is the least amount of power your home draws from the national grid, which probably happens throughout the night. It’s the level of power consumption you should never go below. This number represents how big your standby loads are, allowing you to identify the appliances that require the most power even when they aren’t operating. Furthermore, monitoring systems can also help you figure out which appliances you can start using in the daytime so they get power from your solar system instead of the grid.
As aforementioned, many inverters include monitoring, and most of them let you monitor the solar production of the system remotely. However, in my personal experience, most of the built-in monitoring systems aren’t up to the task, simply because they’re made by inverter manufacturers who don’t pay as much attention to the software.