Of course, it is important to monitor your PV system in some way. Without monitoring, you just have no way to understand what your system is doing. After a while of monitoring your solar system, you will see patterns of performance depending on the sunlight of the day and the particular season.
High-quality home solar systems are very reliable and will offer hassle-free long-lasting performance. But if you go ahead with buying a quality solar system, then you should definitely invest in an excellent monitoring platform.
You definitely will want to know how many kWh per day your PV system is generating and if there is anything not working properly.
Modern monitoring systems will send you an email or even SMS alerts to let you know if the generation of your system has dipped below expected performance. It will also let you know how much you have saved over certain periods.
The available monitoring apps for the various inverter brands will show you the system generation. The addition of a smart meter will allow you to also monitor the properties consumption and if a battery is installed the battery charge and discharge status. This means a smart meter will allow you to see a higher level of PV system information.
Single & Three Phase
The Sungrow Smart Meter allows you to track your usage in real-time. Using the Sungrow iSolarCloud app or the iSolarClound website you can log in to view and track how much power you produce, use and export back to the grid. All you need is a strong capable Wi-Fi system and space on your switchboard.
The Sunny Home Manager 2.0 monitors all energy flows in the home, automatically identifies potential savings and facilitates efficient use of solar energy. It makes intelligent energy management even easier and more cost-effective by combining the functions of smart home management and the SMA Energy Meter into a single device.
A high-performance measurement solution for intelligent energy management in PV systems with SMA devices. The SMA Energy Meter calculates phase-exact and balanced electrical measured values and communicates these via Ethernet in the local network. In this way, all data on grid feed-in and purchased electricity as well as PV generation by other PV inverters can be communicated to SMA systems frequently and with a high level of precision.
Single & Three Phase
The Fronius Smart Meter is a bidirectional meter that optimises self-consumption, records the load and controls the various energy flows. Together with the Fronius Solar.web, the Smart Meter presents a clear overview of the households or commercial power consumption. In combination with the Fronius storage solutions, the device ensures perfect coordination of various energy flows, which optimises the entire energy management.
Why is it important to have good monitoring with a solar system?
Solar panels performance can also be affected by environmental factors, which are beyond the system’s control. For example shading in the late afternoon or lots of bird poo could affect the performance and you would not know, without appropriate monitoring.
Some samples where monitoring allows you to know what’s going on could be:
a) Your solar panel’s system stopped working
Solar is very easy to maintain. However, in 2018 in an industry survey and via site inspections the Clean Energy regulator found that one in 5 solar systems were performing less than expected or had stopped working altogether. This could be due to poor installation or the use of low-quality panels and inverters
Due to the lack of monitoring, many of these owners were unaware of the issue with their system.
b) Your solar system output may drop
It is possible that your system’s solar output could drop suddenly without you the owner being aware. It could be as simple as dirt building up on your panels, or shade from a tree growing higher than your roof has finally reached the panels. A large bat or bird poo on a few panels could also be the reason. Again in this instance, advance monitoring will alert you and you can then get the issue looked into.
c) Your electric bill has gone up a lot and you wonder why?
Just as sunlight hours vary, so does the output of your system during the year. Naturally one will get more renewable energy during summer, compared to winter and the difference in summer and winter production could be by as much a double or even a little more.
In Noosa Heads and the wider Sunshine Coast region for example a 1kw of panels will generate in the month of June 84 kWh of electricity and in January 170 kWh. That’s a more than 100% increase in the summer months over the winter months, which is good, as we use more electricity in summer for example for air-conditioning.
So if your bill has suddenly increased a lot, solar production monitoring will allow you to analyse what is the reason, and if maybe a change in electricity use or some system related issues are the cause. This analysis will be the 1st step to get your electricity bill back in control.
Will my solar panels work if it’s cloudy on the Sunshine Coast?
The type of information you can get via monitoring
The monitoring system will make sure your solar power system is working properly by tracking the power output, meaning the amount of electricity that is being generated.
The standard monitoring lets you see how many kWh you system is producing right now, the kWh that your system has produced so far today, the kWh produced in the past days, weeks or months. The kWh of electricity that the system is producing can also be converted into dollars and cents, meaning it will allow you to get an appreciation of your saving achieved on a particular day, week or month.
Some more sophisticated smart meters also will be able to tell you how much electricity your home is consuming right now, or how much was consumed yesterday or last month.
By giving you real time visibility, solar monitoring will let you observe your systems performance all day and over various seasons.
What's solar monitoring?
Solar monitoring software can provide real-time production data and historical system data. Statistics allow you to track efficiency over time and ensure your economic ROI is on the right track.
System monitoring offers the most significant advantage: you can monitor your system from anywhere, at any time. There’s no need to worry about potential problems or higher than expected electric bills. The software we recommend allows panel or inverter monitoring.
This allows the installer to quickly diagnose and fix any problems. There are several variables to consider before you purchase a monitoring system. First, you will need an internet connection to monitor your solar system. A poor internet connection can limit the data you can collect.
It is impossible to remotely monitor your system if it isn’t connected to the internet. A second thing to do is make sure you are regularly checking your monitoring system to detect any errors. This is because many monitoring systems will send you an alert on your phone if there is a problem.
Monitoring systems can be a great investment because they let you know if your solar system is in trouble. Nowadays they are often part of the inverter solution. Checking your monitoring regularly will help you avoid shock bills and maximise your solar system’s efficiency.
Monitoring is important?
Although it might seem like the solar system is dormant at first glance, there are many forces and processes that are working that go unnoticed. Monitoring services are able to provide critical information that will help determine the system’s performance. This will enable the owner to make the most of their Solar Energy System and save money. Users with some inverters also can perform a visual immediate check via an inverter screen or online portal to make sure everything is running smoothly.
A monitoring system can be described as a digital “green” or “red” light, which indicates whether the system is working correctly or needs to be repaired. This gives system owners the power to make informed decisions and allows them to use the system when they are needed. It is a crucial component of any solar system. Therefore, it is encouraged to purchase a monitoring system as part of your solar system.
What can solar monitoring do for you?
First, you’ll receive both historical and real-time data. This will help you and your installer identify problems and compare actual and expected energy production.
You can use your monthly and daily snapshots to help you understand your home’s energy consumption and make the most use of your solar power.
The monitoring unit in some more sophisticated set ups can be connected to your electrical switchboard. It can read your inverter and solar panels as well as your total home power consumption.
This allows you to differentiate between your grid consumption and self-consumption. Many are web-based, so you can monitor your solar system anywhere on the planet using your computer, smartphone, tablet, or desktop. So sophisticated solar monitoring is only a glance onto your phone away.
What type of monitoring is available?
You’ll be able to see how much your solar system actually saves you in energy costs. Solar monitoring allows you to see how many kilowatts of electricity your panels produce on a daily basis, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. You can track your consumption, see how much grid electricity you use, and follow when excess energy is exported back to the grid.