How can you know whether the solar system that delivers power to your home is functioning properly? A solar system is a significant investment and it’s in your best interest to be aware of how well it is doing its job. The more efficient your solar system works, the lower the total cost of ownership.
Homeowners in Australia who have a solar power system already and those who are preparing to have one installed may not realize that a typical solar system does not usually come with a monitor. We encourage you to get monitoring for your new or existing system. Read on for details about solar system monitoring and how this can help your own solar setup.
What is Monitoring?
Monitoring involves keeping track of how much power your solar system is generating and how much electricity you and your family are using.
The monitor connects to the solar power system, recording how much energy you are generating, which means you will see higher numbers on clear, sunny days and lower production numbers when it’s cloudy. Be aware that monitoring works through a solar inverter. Put simply, a solar inverter takes the direct current that’s output from the solar panel and converts it into the alternating current that’s used to power your home’s appliances.
It also is recording just how much electricity is being used by all the appliances in your home, from things that are always plugged in like a refrigerator or clock, to intermittently used devices such as a microwave oven. By gathering the raw data of power generation and power consumption, you’ll have an excellent view of how well the system is working for your family.
Benefits of Solar Monitoring
There are a number of benefits to solar monitoring and becoming more familiar with them can help you determine that it’s good to protect your investment with a monitoring system:
- Data Collection: A monitor provides you with all the data you need to track the efficiency and output of your system.
- Get Information at a Glance: real-time feedback about your system is easy to check whenever you are curious about solar system performance.
- Failure Warning: monitoring will allow you to get alerts in faults or shut downs in your system. You’ll be notified if the performance of the panels, battery or inverter fails. Staying on top of problems when they first arise instead of after they have grown more pronounced can save you in maintenance and repair bills.
Record Your Energy Consumption for Billing
When you sit down to go over your budget and bills, wouldn’t it be nice to have some precise statistics on how much energy your family is actually using each month? A monitoring system for your solar power system will help you see where and why your bill has gone up or down.
Perhaps you have been leaving lights on when leaving rooms or are running appliances more often than needed (such as turning on the dishwasher when it’s only partially full of soiled dishes).
By staying on top of your energy consumption patterns, you can easily identify trends (discovering overconsumption that is unintentional, for example, or to see if you are meeting goals to reduce usage). What’s more, if there should be an issue with your utility about how much power you took from the grid, your monitor will help you record potential billing errors.
Record Energy Consumption for Optimisation
If you do not examine your energy usage, it will be difficult to optimise your solar power system. This is why so many homeowners opt to install monitoring with their solar right from the start. The equipment will show you at what times you consume the most electricity. You’ll also learn when your system tends to draw energy from the solar panels versus from your battery. Sometimes a home’s solar power panels are not matched very well with the battery storage system. A monitor can definitely help you identify trends to see if you need to update the system in any way.
Since the system is constantly keeping track of usage, it’s simple to set it up to give you warnings whenever battery use is high. The more data you collect and crunch, the more efficiently you can use power going forward.
Keeping an Eye on Solar
If you have any questions about solar system monitoring or would like to consult with an expert on monitoring for your setup, please get in touch with E-Smart Solar today.