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Monitoring Counts: Keeping Track of Your Solar System the Smart Way

As the number of homes installing solar generating systems continues to grow in New Zealand, the households benefitting from clean, green and renewable power are beginning to demand more from their hardware.

Electricity Authority figures show the number of residential ICPs (Installation Control Points) using installed solar generation passed 15,000 in June last year and was fast approaching 20,000 in June this year.

One of the major reasons why this figure keeps increasing year-on-year is the rapid growth in intuitive, easy-to-use, and understandable technology – technology such as smart monitoring.

Instead of simply fixing panels to your roof and maybe installing a battery to save power for the evenings, homeowners should look to include smart monitoring technology. Solutions such as our SolarEdge StorEdge and Fronius SnapINverters systems have advanced to become the linchpin of modern, economic smart-homes.

So, how does a smart monitoring system work?

  • Energy from the sun is collected by your panels and then converted into usable or storable power by an inverter.
  • At the point where the inverter converts DC current into AC current, monitoring software is able to collect information about power levels, performance and production.
  • This information is then sent to cloud-based systems and proprietary apps designed to access it. For example, SolarEdge uses power optimisers connected to a central inverter, which links wirelessly to the internet and its mobile app.
  • Some batteries – for example Tesla’s Powerwall 2 – also have remote motoring via apps built into their systems to allow householders to see how much power is being stored.
  • Homeowners can access this information via mobile apps, paired smart-home devices or on-site displays.
  • Some systems also offer off-site monitoring of this information by skilled technicians who can determine whether the solar system is fully functional.

Why is this information important?

  • Monitoring allows you to see at a glance your home’s energy consumption and generation data. Thus helping you understand how your solar system operates. This ability to visualise your power usage can be instrumental in optimising usage.
  • On-the-go access via mobile apps means you can keep in touch with your home’s power usage no matter where you are in the world.
  • Automated software can also identify issues with generation, faults with panels or how power is being either fed back into the grid or being diverted to battery storage as soon as they occur. This minimises downtime, maximises the return on investment and reduces reliance on grid-derived power.
  • System status alerts via email and SMS mean you can check your system’s performance in real-time.
  • Some systems will also automatically diagnose issues, recommend repairs and alert technicians to create a seamless customer experience.

As automation and smart technology become a regular component to kiwi homes, having a solar system that’s future-proofed to work alongside third-party suppliers is becoming more important. Monitoring is a vital component in home automation, and solar systems such as Harrisons Energy Fronius SnapINverters have purpose-designed functions to optimise how your home uses, observes and records its data.

For example, its integrated energy management function optimises self-consumption by allowing power to be directed to a specific high-energy electrical appliance (eg a pool pump or water heater). The energy management’s open protocol software gives a simple way to establish data connection with a range of automation systems.

From the simple satisfaction that comes with being able to watch your home’s energy and monetary savings, to the intuitive dashboard displays that let you know you’re in complete control of your power usage, Harrisons Energy Solutions understands that monitoring is a vital part of owning a solar system.

That’s why, from self-monitoring displays to off-site links to skilled technicians, or wholesale integration into full home automation systems, Harrisons Energy has a range of hardware to suit.

For more information on the different monitoring systems, our inverters use as well as how solar generation and battery storage can change your household’s energy costs and needs, contact Harrisons Energy to book a consultation with one of our experts or visit the website to find your nearest Harrisons Energy expert.