How to Monitor the Performance of Your Home Solar System?

How to Monitor the Performance of Your Home Solar System?
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Why do you need a Solar Monitoring System?

Now that you have decided to go solar, and finally opted for solar powered systems to run your home, you might be wondering whether the solar panels in your home are performing as advertised.

High quality home solar systems are very dependable and need to offer hassle-free long lasting performance. 

Sophisticated monitoring is important to ensure proper functioning of the solar panels in your Adelaide home, and help you to save the maximum amount of money.

A solar monitoring system can assist you in evaluating the performance of your residential solar system. 

A good monitor solution can provide data on home energy consumption and solar system generation.

The monitoring system can also alert you to any damage to your solar system.

It is critical to monitor your solar setup in some way; because without monitoring, it can be difficult to determine whether your solar panels are operating at the optimal level.

Solar monitoring systems are powered by your solar system’s inverter, optimisers or microinverters. We will later in this article go into details about the different monitoring options.

Solar Monitoring
A modern solar system must have a sophisticated monitoring solution

Solar installation companies frequently sell solar inverters that include a proprietary monitoring software setup.

As your solar inverter converts DC current into alternating current for use in your home, data about power levels and production is collected and sent to cloud-based monitoring systems and their companion apps.

This data can be accessed in a variety of ways, including mobile apps and paired smart home devices. Some monitoring systems also provide on-site monitoring and wire data from inverters directly to a monitoring device on your property.

Most monitoring systems can be configured to have cellular capabilities, allowing you to access system data stored in the cloud from mobile devices without connecting to your WiFi network.

As a result, even if you lose your personal internet connection, you may still be able to access your solar monitoring system.

Because systems with power optimizers do not rely on a wireless connection to transmit data, monitoring can continue even when the internet is down.

This is not the case with some microinverter monitoring systems, which rely on a WiFi connection to monitor each panel individually in real time.

This means that when the internet goes down, your monitoring capabilities go down with it.

Monitoring systems, in addition to displaying energy consumption and generation data, provide a variety of tools to assist you in understanding your solar energy setup.

Monitoring software can frequently assist in detecting problems and defects in panels and some sophisticated set ups will even alert you via email if there are potential issues with your solar system and recommending repairs to your setup.

Many monitoring platforms also let you look back at historical data from your PV system, and some sophisticated systems can even predict future generation parameters based on historical and future weather data.

Should you get a monitor system?

Before you consider which monitoring system is the best to go with your renewable energy system, consider the following:

  • Do you want to receive an alert when your system trips off
  • Do you want to get alerts if your solar panel performance decreases
  • Do you want to get alerts if your inverters performance decreases
  • Do you require alerts in regards to panel water ingress, earth faults or other safety related alerts

Explaining the alert when your system fails or goes on stand-by

Even if you never look at your inverter screen or app, a good monitoring system will notify you whenever something goes wrong with your solar system.

With an average 6.6kw solar system, the average Australian home will save roughly $400 to $500 per quarter, and sometimes more.

The average household receives its electricity bill every three months. If your solar inverter malfunctions and shuts down, and you do not monitor the system, you may not notice it for up to three months, until you open your bill.

The lack of residential solar system monitoring can lead to bill shock
 The lack of residential solar system monitoring can lead to bill shock

A renewable solar panel; system, just sits there and works. If it fails, the grid simply takes over and generates electricity instead of your panels.

This could lead to your low electricity bills which you were fond of turning into larger $500 – $1000 electricity bills which may be very annoying.

However, a good solar monitoring system will notify you via email or text immediately when something goes wrong.

When you get this type of alert, it is time to contact DQ Electrical and Solar for a site inspection to get the system back up in as little time as possible.

Alerts if your solar panel performance decreases

Solar panels will usually have a 25-year performance guarantee. It means the panels degrade every year by a small percentage which can be for example 0.5% per year.

But how would you recognise if the panel performance ever falls below the warranted minimum percentage. An excellent monitoring system will be able to confirm that for you.

It will understand the right performance associated with the direction and angle of your roof, as well as the local weather, and it will notify you if there is a problem.

This is far more advanced than simply telling you if the system has tripped. Furthermore, advanced monitoring systems can advise whether your system is performing properly, telling you the exact percentages it may be underperforming.

Ask your DQ solar designer for advice which monitoring system will be the most appropriate for you.

Alerts if your inverters performance decreases

It should be known that the efficiency of your solar string inverter is proportional to its energy output. If its performance deteriorates, so will your savings.

An excellent solar power monitoring system will inform you as soon as your inverter has an issue so you can have it serviced by DQ Electrical and Solar.

Many quality inverters, such as Fronius and SMA include solar monitoring built in. However, if you want to have the perfect solution it is recommended that a third-party monitor such as Solar Analytics is used as well to get the complete monitor package.

Good monitoring increases safety

A good monitor system will also alert you if there are any safety issues, such as an earth fault with your system.

Using AI algorithms, a modern monitoring system can detect a wide range of electrical fault conditions. These conditions may be indicators that some parts of the solar power system are on the verge of failing.

A detected fault in a solar panel, for example, could be a precursor to panel breakdown, which, if ignored, could result in high DC voltage sparking which is dangerous.

A modern monitoring system will be able to warn you early to keep your solar system safe.

How do I know it all works properly – check your bill as well

When you opt for solar powered systems, these can reduce your electric bill by a great measure and in the case of a 6.6kw system will shave at least 50% to 60% of your average electricity bill.

This means that you have to pay much less to your electric retailer and can use these savings to pay of an additional asset for your home.

If that financial result as predicted is not achieved, it is likely that the solar panels in your home are not working in a proper way, so that’s when it is time to call in the experts.

If you want to check the monthly performance of you system is in line with predicted results, try some of the available solar output calculators on the internet.

Different monitor options available

Fronius Smart Meter

Fronius Inverter Smart Meter

Fronius provides the Smart Meter to transmit technical information about the grid connection and the Fronius inverter. In layman’s terms, the smart metre tracks how much energy your solar system generates and sends to the grid via the inverter.

It also shows how much energy the household is using and whether there are any errors or notifications that need to be addressed.

This is a bidirectional metre that measures self-consumption (including the household load curve) as well as PV system output with a 2 percent accuracy.

This means you can see which areas of the house are consuming energy and make smart changes to limit consumption or use it when the solar panels are producing energy at peak times of the day.

The smart metre device is linked to the solar inverter’s built-in data logger, and it sends consumption data to the Fronius Solar app and monitoring system.

The useful mobile app displays this information in simple graphs and easy-to-understand formats, allowing you to stay informed.

The Solar Web portal, among other things, allows you to check daily energy balances with load curves and instantaneous power balances within the PV system.

You can also look at your feed-in tariff and energy retailer earnings in AUD, as well as the CO2 emissions avoided based on your production.

Furthermore, if you have chosen an energy storage solution for your installation with the Fronius Symo Hybrid inverter, you can visualise the energy stored in the battery as well as how this stored energy was later used.

SMA Energy Meter

SMA String Inverter Energy Meter

A high-performance measurement solution for intelligent energy management in SMA-equipped PV systems.

The SMA String Inverter Energy Meter computes phase-exact and balanced electrical measured values and communicates them in the local network via Ethernet.

As a result, all data on grid feed-in and purchased electricity, as well as PV generation by other PV inverters, can be communicated to SMA systems on a regular and precise basis.

Integrating the SMA Energy Meter creates an optimally coordinated system configuration in all systems, ensuring maximum performance and stability while minimising costs and increasing self-consumption.

Enphase Micro Inverter

Enphase Enlighten Monitoring

The Enphase monitoring system is able to be controlled solely through your phone. The Enphase Enlighten monitoring app displays your power production and consumption at the panel level in real time.

As a result, you can make informed decisions about how to best use the energy generated by your home.

More control equals more savings for you

You can match your peak consumption activities, such as dishwashing and cooling via air conditioning, by better understanding how you generate and consume energy.

Avoid bill shock by optimising your usage

When the weather warms up and the air conditioner is turned on, or when you need to escape the winter chill, energy consumption can skyrocket.

You can protect yourself from rising energy bills by developing the habit of tracking and optimising your energy usage.

For example put your washing machine on in the morning before you leave for work, instead on putting on a load on at night, when your solar power system has turned itself off.

The Enphase monitor system can help you to modify your energy usage behaviour.

Solar Analytics

Solar analytics is a monitor system that communicates with all inverters via the Solar Smart Monitor, which a licenced electrician can easily install in your metre board.

Solar Analytics monitoring provides 5 Second Live data, 4G multi band communications and the ability to measure up to six sub-circuits in your premises.

So you can monitor consumption from the hot water, the granny flat, power, lights, the air conditioning and the upstairs floor all separately, for example.

Solar Analytics can also collect data from the inverter and inverter consumption metre, which are typically installed in your switchboard during solar installation.

Solar Analytics is currently available free in Australia in conjunction with all current models of Sungrow string inverters.

It is also available for all other inverter solutions with the payment of a small annual fee or a larger once only for live of the system install fee.

The Solar Smart Monitor easily connects to your solar power system via your metre board.

Furthermore, installation of the device is a simple process for any licenced electrician, whether you have an existing solar power system or are installing brand new solar panels.

Finally, it is known that it is estimated up 50% of cheaper solar panels are not performing at perfect at any point in time.

Solar Analytics

The Solar Smart Monitor from solar analytics provides live data for your solar energy system. Faults, failures, and underperformance are detected and diagnosed almost instantly.

This means you can catch problems as they arise instead of waiting for the electricity bill to realise there is a problem with your system.


Solar Edge Monitoring

SolarEdge Monitoring

This monitoring platform improves PV performance monitoring and yield assurance by detecting and alerting on faults at the module, string, and system levels.

The monitoring sensors and transmitters are built into the SolarEdge power optimizer and solar inverter, and measurement data is transmitted over regular power lines, so no hardware or wiring is required to transmit data from the power optimisers to the inverter.

Furthermore, other benefits of this system include;

  • Complete visibility into the technical and financial performance of your system, including interactive charts and site layout.
  • Alerts sent automatically when there is a problem with the system gto email or phone.
  • High resolution data, including historical and aggregated views, with diagnostics for comparative analysis.

Tigo Solar Monitoring

Tigo Monitoring

Tigo Energy offers module-level monitoring of PV systems for high level of accuracy.

The software displays module-level performance and assists in quickly identifying issues such as diode failure, soiling, or wiring faults. Furthermore, other main features of the monitoring system are;

Power, voltage, and current are all displayed on a minute-by-minute basis. This enables analysis of failures and performance in a way that not many other solution in the PV market today can.

A proactive approach to site maintenance can reduce maintenance time and increase site revenue.

Monitoring inverters, modules, metres, sensors, and other devices from a single platform
View up to a month’s worth of system history to analyse system performance in the past.

Get in touch with your DQ solar expert for advice and solutions.

It is a good idea to have a discussion with DQ Electrical and Solar one of Adelaide’s best solar installation companies.

We are always ready to talk with you, Our local Adelaide solar electricians focus on having conversations and solving the problems of smart, cost-conscious clients, Get in touch with us and our smart solar electricians in Adelaide will help you save money.

You can talk to us about monitoring options for your home solar system, including the monitoring of battery storage. You may call us if you are planning to get one of the best solar systems in Adelaide.

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