Gone are the days of sitting in front of your solar inverter counting the kWh of generation displayed on a tiny screen. It is becoming more and more popular to have devices online, and your solar system is no different! Many inverters have built in WIFI that can connect to your home’s internet router and will allow monitoring of your system. This is the best way to future proof your home and be prepared for solar battery storage, EV charging and more! Let’s take a look at some of the various monitoring options on the market.
PV Production Monitoring
Usually this is provided free with any new solar system, either in the form of an on-screen display, or via built in WIFI. Solar Power Australia’s preferred inverters Delta, SMA, Enphase and IMEON all have built in WIFI that can connect to your household internet router to allow you to view system performance. We offer to connect this up during our installation. This can be great to give you more information on when it’s suitable to run appliances around the house for free by using solar! If you want more information including your household power consumption, then there are more options below.
PV Production and Energy Consumption Monitoring
This is a more advanced monitoring option that generally requires extra hardware. Rather than just telling you how much solar you are making, this style of monitoring gives you information on your household consumption too. Much like the NET meter that the energy company uses to calculate your bill, a device will sit inside your meter box and measure all outgoing and incoming electricity. The advantage of using the solar inverters built in capability for this is that all data will appear via the one login keeping everything as simple as possible.
Having the extra consumption data gives you more power to make the right decisions for when to run your power hungry appliances – see our article on Common Appliance Power Usage
This unit will require a licensed electrician to install, so it’s a good opportunity to upgrade to this when your solar system is being installed.
Third Party Production and Consumption
If you don’t have solar, or have an older unit that doesn’t provide online monitoring, you can install a third party energy meter. There are plenty to choose from – some popular units include the Efergy Engage, Wattson Energy Meter and Clipsal Wiser Link or Ecomind. Most will offer the same output and should have accessories for monitoring your solar separate to the consumption. It can be confusing as to exactly what you need with options suitable for single phase, 3 phase, controlled load and solar. If you need help with this please feel free to call us.
These units will require a licensed electrician to install hardware into your meter box. Generally this is just an upfront cost for the hardware and installation, but once installed the monitoring is free.
Third Party Subscription Service
The most advanced monitoring available is in the form of a subscription service to Solar Analytics. This gives you all of the information above, as well as advanced alerts and fault diagnostics, and also includes its own mobile data plan. If you don’t have a reliable 24/7 internet connection at your home, or only use one of the 4G mobile broadband services, then this will be the best choice.
If you have any questions or would like to install any of the systems above please contact us on 02 4954 3310 for more information.