Our solar energy customers have a few things in common. Aside from crossing the savings mark with SolarGaines, they’re seeing the fruits of their investment immediately and their solar panels really do brighten their day. The first electricity bill after a solar installation is a milestone. That said, it’s a new source of income as well as a cleaner, more conscientious way of doing things. Did you know that new solar producers could sneak a peek at what’s to come in their first billing cycle?
Monitor Your Solar System To Check Its Performance
A new solar energy installation is incomplete without a way to monitor your solar system. As soon as your solar energy array is up and running, you can see how much electricity your panels are producing at any given time. There are two main reasons to monitor your solar system: to predict the financial rewards of going solar and to identify any problems with the system.
The earliest solar panel configurations interconnected every panel in one long circuit. Just like old-fashioned Christmas lights, one faulty component affects the whole system. There are two basic components to a solar system; the solar panels themselves, and the inverter (s). An inverter converts the charge created by the photovoltaic panels from Direct Current (DC) into an Alternating Current (AC), which is what the most common form of used electricity in most homes and businesses. Engineers remedied that “Christmas light effect” when they developed string inverters, which separate the panels into smaller “strings” of 10-14 panels Shorter circuits curb drag down, the loss of power that occurs over distance. Designers later expounded on that idea with micro-inverters – individual current inverters for each panel.
Homeowners and business managers alike are ecstatic to see the savings spike on sunny days as they harness an investment in renewable electricity and reduced bills. This kind of production and initiative teaches both kids and adults to think and act differently with regards to power consumption. Schools and companies with eco-conscious cultures can leverage the science of solar and make tracking energy production an educational team-building experience.
Monitor And Manage At Your Fingertips
Today’s improved solar panels are accentuated by monitoring your system’s energy production from your computer or mobile device. Another major breakthrough is receiving data on individual components using string inverter monitoring. With it, guessing whether you have a damaged panel is now a thing of the past. Now you can easily identify any problem areas immediately and address them before you lose valuable income from your solar panel array.
New solar energy installations work with a computer-based monitoring system that includes a meter capable of sending data to a mobile phone or through the local Internet connection. The meter supplies data to local software or transmits it out to the cloud, depending on the application. Once you log in, the dashboard will show you an overview of the system’s production. Creating and sharing reports is simple and quick with solar monitoring applications. Most solar energy monitors are web accessible, which means you can log in from any browser and access important information.
Depending on the sophistication of the monitoring you choose, you can monitor:
- Current electricity production
- Max power
- Historical system production
- Overall system health
- Cell temperature
- Inverter functionality
Your solar energy production will have an environmental impact on:
- Carbon offset
- Trees saved
- Offset barrels of oil
The best applications use real time market data to calculate the following financial benefits:
- Dollars saved
- Solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) earned
Weather can affect your solar production, so good applications import relevant atmospheric data, such as:
- Air temperature
- Wind speed
- Total Solar Irradiance
Granted you will know how well your system is doing when you see net metering reflected on your statement, but you do not have to wait until the next billing cycle to find out how much you will owe or get back. The best solar energy monitoring applications make it easy to customize alerts for significant changes like outages or unwarranted drops in production. Once you see how easy it is to monitor your solar system, you won’t be able to resist checking the meter on sunny days.