The last piece of hardware I urge you to think about is a monitoring system to monitor solar panels.
A monitoring system will measure your:
- energy consumption
- solar electricity production
- exported electricity to the grid
- battery charge and discharge power
How to monitor solar system?
In general, to monitor solar panels, your system will send this data to the Internet every few seconds. You’ll receive login credentials where you can see various statistics and graphs that will tell you what is happening.
For engineering companies like ours, delving into statistics and graphs is fun. But I understand that, for most people, it sounds about as much fun as doing taxes. So, if you’re wondering how to monitor my solar system, I recommend you invest in a monitoring system. Below, we’ve listed all the reasons why you should monitor solar panels.
Reason 1: Timely Alerts When Your Solar System Goes Off
Even if you never look at your dashboard, a good monitoring system will alert you as soon as something goes wrong with your solar system.
A typical home in Dubai will save at least $500 per quarter with solar, often much more if they monitor solar panels. Most households receive their energy bills every three months. If your solar inverter has a bug and shuts down, you probably won’t notice it for up to three months, when you open your bill and fall off your chair.
Your solar system functions without showing any signs of problems. If it goes down, the grid simply steps in and provides the power instead of your solar panel system. You will never know something is wrong until you get the bill.
We can tell you from the emails we receive that this happens all the time. Imagine getting used to $50 bills and then receiving a $550 or even $1,050 bill. It will stun you when that happens.
With a good solar monitoring system, you will receive an email or SMS within a couple of days after the system goes offline. Then you can contact your installer and get your system back online as soon as possible.
Reason 2: Instant alerts in case of performance issues
Solar panels come with a minimum 25-year performance guarantee, but how do you know if your performance ever falls below that guaranteed minimum? If you monitor solar panels, you can verify that for yourself. You’ll know the correct performance associated with your roof’s direction and angle and even local weather, alerting you to poor performance.
You are paying a large sum of money to have the panels installed, so it is reasonable to be notified if you stop getting the results you paid for.
Reason 3: Alerts in case your performance drops
We understood that the efficiency of your solar inverters is directly related to their power generation. If your performance falls, your savings will also fall. A good solar power monitoring system will alert you as soon as there is a problem with your inverter, so you can repair or replace it.
Some tier 1 solar inverters come with built-in solar systems to monitor solar panels. I recommend a third-party monitor to keep inverter manufacturers honest. Using the manufacturer’s monitoring services to advise you whether you should claim warranty is putting the fox in charge of the roost.
Reason 4: Security
As our homes become distributed power plants, the consequences of power failures can be more severe. As a former electrical engineer, I can tell you that large power plants have all sorts of monitoring systems in place to alert operators to failures that can be early indicators of dangerous or costly equipment failure. I believe that your house should have similar protection.
A good system to monitor solar panels can detect all kinds of fault conditions using algorithms. These conditions can warn you that something is wrong. For example, a detected fault in a solar panel can be a sign that the system is going to break down which, if left behind, could cause a high-voltage DC arc and start a roof fire.
Reason 5: Understand exactly why your bill has gone up or down
I get emails all the time from solar homeowners whose latest bill is unexpectedly high and who do not monitor solar panels. The first thing we check is that the solar energy system is working. Often it is. The only logical reason for the high utility bill can be:
- solar reduction performance
- consuming more energy
- modified rates, or
- a billing error
Solving the case requires math, accounting skills, engineering skills, and a lot of time. People usually get frustrated and give up.
A good solar monitoring system can prove you right in two minutes, so you can take the right action to lower your bills.
Reason 6: Choose the best retail offer
Your area probably has at least a couple dozen retail electricity rates to choose from. With the various discounts and additional charges, the rates are confusing and difficult to compare. A good solar monitoring system to monitor solar panel output can continuously track your usage, compare it to current offers, and alert you when a retailer offers a new rate that will save you money. This alone should pay for monitoring solar system many times over.
Reason 7: Energy efficiency
If you are interested in improving the energy efficiency of your home, the information that a solar system power monitor can provide will help you. Here is a scenario: Your average power is the minimum power your household receives from the national grid, probably at night. It is the level of energy consumption that never falls below.
This number reveals how big your “standby loads” are, so you can identify power-draining appliances even when you’re not using them.
Which system can I use to monitor solar panels?
As already mentioned, many inverters come with a solar PV monitoring system. Almost all will let you monitor your solar production remotely these days, and some include consumption monitoring. I will share a little secret with you: most of them are weak in comparison with an efficient third-party monitoring system. Why? Because they are made by inverter manufacturers and the software is a side job.
The goal of this article was to let you know how to monitor your solar system. If you’re left with any questions about solar monitoring systems, you can contact our company where you can buy solar material in Dubai.