It’s important to keep an eye on your energy use and photovoltaic production if you have solar panels because it will show you when and where you use energy. You can make the changes that will help you use less electricity and save money on your electricity bill.
What is a Solar Power Monitoring System?
A monitoring system is an application that allows remotely verify the correct operation of a photovoltaic installation in real-time, intending to act quickly in the case of damage and/or breakdowns (example: failures in the inverters, broken cables, failures in the cells, etc.) and to be able to carry out a repair and/or maintenance of the solar panel system. In addition, the monitoring system will allow you to optimize the use you make of solar energy, maximizing the production of your photovoltaic project.
The monitoring of photovoltaic self-consumption systems is really important since if it did not exist, it would be impossible to know if our installation is working properly.
How do solar monitoring systems work?
To carry out proper monitoring of the photovoltaic panel system, we will need to have data on the energy produced by our modules and the instantaneous consumption of the house. This data is compared and allows us to know in real-time the amount of energy we are consuming from our panels, the energy we consume from the grid, and the amount of surplus we have.
- The production data is always collected through the solar inverter, which is responsible for transforming the direct current of our panels into alternating current that we can use in our home.
- The consumption data is collected through a smart meter or bi-directional meter, which we install next to the inverter and instantly collects each watt consumed. Many inverters carry this integrated device.
The function of the solar inverter is to convert direct current into alternating current to meet the energy needs in homes and/or businesses. Therefore, they collect all the existing information on production levels. This information is sent to the monitoring system so that we can access it at all times through its applications.
The vast majority of monitoring systems can be configured to access our production and consumption data in the cloud. In addition, they usually generate notifications through email and/or text messages to notify the user about the detection of problems and advise a repair if necessary.
On the other hand, they also allow consulting the system’s historical data so that the user can know how the weather conditions influence the performance of the installation and periodic reports that estimate the future production that allows continuous monitoring.
So, how do these apps display information to the user?
- Graphs with relevant information from energy monitoring for analysis (consumption, costs, variables, or other important parameters).
- Periodic reports allow comparing current consumption with previous ones.
- Information on any other variables relevant to your installation’s performance (e.g., rain, sunny days, etc.)
When is it advisable to monitor solar installation?
Monitoring installation of solar panels is always recommended since it is essential for decision-making in photovoltaic installations.
If you want to know what is happening at all times, how to improve the performance of your system or know if any element is not working properly, it will not be possible if you do not carry out the monitoring and consult in detail all the information provided by these applications.
In short, monitoring your consumption will allow you to make effective and necessary changes to optimize your consumption and reduce your electricity bill.
Recommended brands to monitor energy consumption
There are multiple photovoltaic monitoring systems, and most inverters have their portal to carry out the monitoring. However, some companies develop these systems according to the client’s specific needs.
Therefore, we can divide the monitoring marks into:
- Exclusive for the inverter’s brand: only compatible with inverters of the same brand.
- Universal: compatible with any investor in the market.
Some inverters with exclusive monitoring systems
My Solaredge is a free application of the monitoring system for owners of photovoltaic installations of the Solaredge system. Its portals are very comfortable and simple to use, allowing users to monitor and independently of their installation continuously and automatically receive notifications if any photovoltaic element does not work properly.
Fronius has a free online portal (Fronius Solar. web) that shows the data in three areas: registration, visualization of relevant information, and important notification of breakdowns and incidents. In addition, it also has a premium version that shows a global analysis of self-consumption, a continuous vision of consumption to control costs, and the visualization and analysis of storage systems, whose data can be exported to CSV documents.
Enphase is a well-known manufacturer that offers high-quality control solutions together with its inverters. Their main feature is that they use microinverters in each of their photovoltaic panels, which communicate wirelessly with a device that provides data to the application.
Some universal monitoring systems
This equipment was launched in 2005 and can be connected to investors of the vast majority of brands, even to two inverters from different manufacturers. It also performs power comparisons of the different series of plates and inverters. Solar-Log will allow you to calculate the profitability of your installation and show analysis even in different currencies.
The SCADA Solar monitoring platform developed by Monsol allows you to control and supervise all types of photovoltaic installations. Scada Solar stands out for offering customized solutions to the solutions of each client and the possibility of connecting through multiple devices (computer, mobile, tablet, etc.)
Abora Monitor is a monitoring system offered by Abora Solar that collects all the information about your solar installation. The user can consult it in real-time and report the energy produced by the installation during the day, the month, or month, or the commissioning. Once you provide the user with information about the devices, the user is provided with a username and password so that they can consult all the data of their installation.