Published on November 16, 2016
As you know, a PV system has no visible moving parts so monitoring is essential for the owner to understand how well the system is operating. Monitoring allows the installer to quickly identify any issues with the system and it also provides data that is needed to explore further opportunities to reduce the customer’s energy dependency.
Today, the most effective way of communication interface is through wifi. Any inverter with a built-in datalogger and wifi compatibility is able to upload performance data to its web portal using the owner’s router. Most of the inverters in the current market already have this ability or can offer 2/3G connection on the mobile network. In Sol Distribution’s range of products, the smaller SMA inverters have wifi built-in that can connect to smart devices in the signal range and the entire Fronius range also has wireless connectivity.
In circumstances where wireless data connection is not available or not secure, an Ethernet data cable connection can be used for the local router or alternatively another monitoring device can be set up on site. For example, SMA inverters can use Cluster Controller via the Webconnect protocol or Webbox with RS485. SolarEdge, on the other hand, has GSM card built-in or uses RS485 connection to the SolarEdge meter to measure electricity consumption and for zero export. Wifi cards can also be purchased for SolarEdge inverters to connect wirelessly.
When it comes to third party monitoring devices, SolarAnalytics offer a very comprehensive solution for single-phase systems in terms of its consumption, solar generation and ability to produce data sets available for analysis of the performance and effectiveness of the PV system. With more data offerings, we can further understand the impact of PV systems on society and propose better solutions for the needs of our customers.