Solar Monitoring Repair
Your solar’s monitoring system is an incredibly important piece of the solar puzzle. The better your monitoring system is, the more you will be able to check and make sure your solar investment is paying off. But perhaps we should take a step back and explain what solar monitoring even is as many of our customers were never told about solar monitoring from their installers.
What is solar monitoring?
Solar monitoring is some sort of measurement device that records how many watts of power your solar system produces over a given amount of time. Different monitoring systems do this in different ways, and it also depends on the electrical setup of your house as to which monitoring system is best for you. Most monitoring systems do this at the array level – meaning they measure the power generation of your entire solar system array. Some do this in real time, others do it in time intervals (15 minutes, every hour etc). Some monitoring systems are configured to work with microinverters or optimizers and can monitor your solar production at the panel level. This type of monitoring has its obvious advantages (but some big disadvantages, more on those later!) as you, the solar system owner, can see when an individual panel has a problem.
So for example, if you randomly have one or two panels stop producing any power, that is the first place we would start troubleshooting. This saves us time and you money. Example issues we see in this scenarios are failed optimizers or micro-inverters and critter damage to wires running to those panels. The time it would take us find these issues if we were going into a system blind would be much longer without panel level monitoring.
No matter what type of monitoring you have, with a little common sense you can keep a decent eye on your solar by yourself. For example, if your solar was installed in may and on average you produced 35kwh a day that first month, then you know what your upper limit will always be for an average day in May. So if for some reason you look at your highest production in May 5 years later and the average is down to 31kwh, you can see that maybe you need to have your system cleaned or inspected. But if you look at your average daily production 5 years later and its only 5kw, you know something is seriously wrong and can give us a call.
Furthermore, many monitoring systems will alert you if you stop producing altogether. This is very helpful! Your solar could not be producing for something as simple as a tripped breaker or blown fuse, and such an alert would help you know this instantaneously thus saving you some serious money.
We meet solar owners all the time who don’t know if their solar has been working for months and even years. We even meet solar owners who know that their solar has never worked past a few weeks beyond their city inspection. Solar monitoring can bring clarity to all of this.
So now that we have covered some of the basics of solar monitoring, what does solar monitoring repair look like? Well for starters solar monitoring data has to get to the internet in some way and that way is usually through your router. Hence, the data has to get from the monitoring device to your router. A wifi connection will work, but every time your wifi goes down you won’t have data for that period. A hardline ethernet (CAT5) cable connection is great as an alternative, but can be sensitive to frying from lightning strikes, and finally your data can get to the monitoring company’s servers directly from the device through a cell card installed in the device (available in some models). Its kind of a choose your poison scenario here, but we can give you a recommendation based on your electrical and internet setup.
Anyways, when one point in any of these systems breaks down or needs to be reconnected, that’s a potential monitoring repair. Many of these monitoring systems need to have software updates regularly to be compatible with the new versions of the central server’s system. Some monitoring systems do this remotely (if you have constant internet connection!), but others do not and require manual uploading – this is another possible repair.
An improperly installed device or an unexpected power surge can cause problems for monitoring system – these are also potential monitoring repairs.
If you have micro-inverters or optimizers, every time you swap one out your old device needs to be decommissioned from your system and your new device needs to be commissioned (paired) with your solar monitoring system. These are all potential monitoring service trips.
In summary, no matter what your solar monitoring repair needs are, Solar Service can handle it. We will do whatever it takes to keep your solar running for the long haul.