Solar panels are increasingly preferred by many across the country. Your duty does not end with installing the solar panels, and you must monitor the solar systems regularly to know how it works. How do you monitor the solar panels?
Gone are those days where you sat in front of the solar inventor and checked the electricity generated on the tiny screen.
With the advent of technology, solar power maintenance companies have developed innovative ideas for monitoring the solar panels at the tip of your fingers in a mobile application.
You don’t need an internet connection for the solar array to produce electricity. But you may need one to monitor the solar panels, and it means that you need a Wi-Fi connection with a password. Monitoring your solar panels is very important, especially if you are contemplating the purchase of solar panels for your home or business.
In this article, let us discuss solar monitoring and whether you need Wi-Fi for solar panels.
What is a solar Wi-Fi Inverter?
A Solar inverter with Wi-Fi monitoring is an inverter that uses the internet connection to show how your panels work. Depending on the brand and company, these results are shown either on a website or a mobile app.
This can help you save time looking into the small screen in the invertor to determine if the solar panels are working correctly.
How Does the Solar Inverter Wi-Fi Monitoring work?
Purchasing solar panels involves a long-term investment. You should monitor the solar panels on how much electricity it has produced, how it functions, and how much you are saving up on your electricity bills.
Previously, you did that by checking the small screen on the inverter. If there are any issues with the screen, we strive to set it right.
With the advent of technology, companies are becoming more innovative and making things easier for users.
Now, you can place the inverter anywhere in the house and connect them to a Wi-Fi connection.
And with that, you can check the solar panel’s performance at your ease, either on a computer screen or even the mobile screen.
Do I Need Solar Inverter Monitoring?
Wi-Fi monitoring makes it more convenient for you to monitor the solar panels. You need not necessarily require them for the proper functioning of the solar panels. But the monitoring process will be made easy with the help of a Wi-Fi inverter.
Some people often prefer to check the inverters to check the performance, while others don’t.
Well, if you have a Wi-Fi inverter, you can give your email address when setting up the inverter. You will automatically receive an email if something is wrong with the solar panels.
This way, even if you don’t monitor the panels often, you will be notified when there is an issue.
How Accurate is My Solar Inverter Wi-Fi Monitoring?
The Wi-Fi monitoring system helps in fetching the details in real-time and is always 100% accurate as it measures the current that runs through cables.
If you use panels for a larger scale on a commercial system, you have to ensure that the backend is set up correctly or that the data could be wrong.
Apart from the live data, the dashboards also show comparative charts showing the daily, monthly, and yearly figures.
The data displayed in the charts will be updated hourly within 10 minutes after every hour.
Do All Solar Inverters Have Wi-Fi?
Most of the Solar inverters in recent times come with Wi-Fi. The further specifications of each inverter depend upon the brand and the company. While some give a dashboard, others prefer different forms of reporting.
Most inverters also remove the screen in the inverter as most people have Wi-Fi and check the performance on the computer or mobile apps.
Is the Solar Inverter Wi-Fi Monitoring easy to Set-up?
The most important part of setting up the Wi-Fi monitoring in the inverters is checking whether the inverter is placed with strong Wi-Fi Signals.
Please keep in mind that the monitoring happens via the internet. If your inverter does not fetch strong Wi-Fi signals, it means that your monitoring system cannot work correctly.
If your house is a larger one, the Wi-Fi signal will not be strong all over the house. You need to check the space where it is strong enough and place your inverter there.
Similarly, if you use the inverter for commercial or business use, you would want to put the inverter away from the work area. Make sure you place the inverter where the Wi-Fi signals are strong.
An essential tip while setting up the Wi-Fi inverters is that the performance email sent from the inverters usually ends up in the spam.
So, at the time of set-up, send a simple mail from the software. Once the mail is sent, check your spam and mark it as a safe email address. This ensures that the email from the inverter does not go to spam anymore.
What if I don’t get Wi-Fi Signals?
Suppose the Wi-Fi signal is feeble near the inverter, nothing to worry about. You can make use of a Wi-Fi booster. The Wi-Fi booster helps in fetching strong signals to the inverter.
Technically, the booster works well and should fetch the data from the inverter. But, it is not a guaranteed fix. It depends on so many other factors, including how far away the inverter is placed, how many walls are on the way, the brand of the inverter, and how weak the Wi-Fi signal is before setting up the booster.
You can also make use of Third-party inverters, agnostic monitoring software. These systems use a 4G sim card instead of Wi-Fi. You have to pay for the data used and purchase the Solar Analytical device.
While the cost is not high enough, you must consider the same while ascertaining the return on investment. The cost varies from a few hundred dollars to thousands depending on what kind of data you want to monitor.
Do Solar Installers Monitor My Solar with Inverter Wi-Fi Monitoring?
“Wi-Fi Monitoring” is the selling point for most inverters. Some manufacturers also offer to monitor the solar array that they install.
This means that your monitoring system will be included in their list of solar systems, and they can have access to the data if there is any issue with the solar energy system.
While it is unlikely that the salesperson can check the various details of your energy system, they will have access to the data determining how the system works to help them diagnose the issue if something goes wrong.
Will the Solar Inverter Wi-Fi monitoring show me how much energy I am using and how much solar I am producing?
The inverter Wi-Fi monitoring usually displays all data that the inverter captures. Anything associated with electricity production will be displayed in different categories and parameters.
The electricity consumption will not be displayed as the inverter has nothing to do with it.
To measure how the electricity is consumed, you need to install a separate device to your switchboard known as a smart meter, consumption meter, or export meter. This device enables you to measure the usage of electricity at your home.
Is it easy to install a consumption or smart meter?
Yes. It is indeed easy to install a smart or consumption meter. It sits perfectly on the switchboard along with the other circuit breakers. It takes a single pole for a single-phase and three bars for a three-phase connection.
The cost of installing will range between $300 – $800 which depends on the phases and the brand you choose.
The price can be significantly higher for commercial uses, especially for large loads, as you need more CTs to fit the main cables.
It is also important to note that if you are installing the solar panels and connecting your inverter on a subboard, and you also want to measure the consumption, you will need a long data cable back to the main switchboard.
Example: If your solar panels are on the roof, your inverter is connected to the subboard in the shed, but the main switchboard is inside the house.
You need cables to connect the inverter to the switchboard inside the house, and it may also involve digging a trench to place the extra wires.
Similarly, if you place your consumption or smart meter on the subboard instead of the mainboard, you will require a long cable as mentioned above to connect to the mainboard.
With the advent of technology and the integration of solar systems with online servers, it is easier for solar users to monitor the performance of the solar systems and have access to various data to ensure timely identification of any faults and time rectification of the same.
These apps may also provide timely weather updates to check and tune your solar apparatus accordingly. When technology goes hand in hand, make sure you use them wisely to save energy.