A Guide to Solar Analytics Monitoring
Solar Analytics is an add-on device that monitors your solar system and sends data to your device. You can access energy usage and production, savings and credits, and expected output vs. actual output. The monitoring system also detects and alerts you of any system issues that arise.
Monitoring your system ensures that your devices run smoothly at optimum levels. With Solar Analytics Monitoring, you can conveniently track overall system performance through an application on any device.
What is solar analytics, how does it monitor your system, and how do you install it?
How much does Solar Analytics cost, and what features does it offer?
Keep on reading to find out!
What is solar analytics?
Solar Analytics is a small monitoring device that allows you to observe your solar system in an intuitive application. The device has highly accurate sensors (CT clamps) and compact electronic modules to calculate electricity consumption and solar power generation.
An onboard 4G transmitter sends data to a mobile application every few seconds.
Intelligent algorithms evaluate the data in the solar analytics and provide information, including;
- General system performance
- Amount and pattern of electricity usage and consumption
- Approximate savings and credit
- Frequency monitoring and grid voltage
- The electricity levels your system should produce vs. actual generation
- Net electricity purchased and sold
- Alerts and faults diagnostics
Solar analytics monitoring helps you analyse if your system is doing its job efficiently. If your system has faults, solar analytics will tell you why and how to fix the problem.
Solar panels are eco-friendly and provide long-term savings. You will increase your savings levels through analytics monitoring because it shows you the best time to switch off your appliances.
How does Solar Analytics monitoring work?
Solar Analytics units are small boxes equipped with an antenna in your meter box next to circuit boxers. The units send data through a 3G/4G/WIFI connection. You will receive data on your energy usage, solar saving, and more on your mobile or computer.
The monitoring system is linked to the electricity mains and solar inverters through CT clamps in the meter box.
A 3G/4G mobile connection sends data to your devices, which means you don’t have to reconfigure connections or experience a weak signal.
Here’s how your solar analytics monitors your system:
- Combines your solar and consumption information to give you your home’s energy profile. You will receive real-time data collected in 5-second intervals, which informs you what’s happening at the moment. Circuit level monitoring gives you more information on particular loads and appliances.
- Gives daily expected solar production levels by analysing the local weather data. The system’s algorithms compare the actual output and the expected output. The comparison helps it detect shading, faults, and other problems that cause underperformance.
- Monitors and gives you updates on an intuitive dashboard. You can connect My Solar Dashboard to any device, and you will receive information about your battery, solar, and energy.
How do I install Solar Analytics?
If you want to get started with Solar Analytics, go through the following steps:
- Contact a reputable solar retailer
- Enquire about solar analytics
- Set up an installation date with your solar retailer
- Open the email from Solar Analytics to log into their account
- Access your energy usage and other features of solar analytics
There are two ways to install Solar Analytics which include:
- Classic: uses a Solar Smart Monitor, can work with all solar systems, and uses 4G for communication (built-in SIM card). 4G connection does not depend on data and WIFI to update data every five seconds.
Classic can also work with all inverters except DC-coupled batteries and Hybrid. It reloads data every five seconds and has sub-circuit monitoring.
What you need: A quote from a retailer, Solar Analytics Smart Monitor, 3G/4G connection
- Integrated: collects information from Sungrow and Fronius inverters with an installed consumption meter. It communicates through your home’s WIFI to the cloud. Integrated has lower ongoing and installation costs, 5-minute data, necessary agent export control, and gives you dynamic control.
What you need: Fronius or Sungrow inverter, consumption meter, and WIFI connection (4G or ethernet)
You can contact In-Style Solar to get your Solar Analytics installed efficiently. We install residential and commercial solar to help many Aussie homeowners to save with solar. Our team of committed experts provides the best products and exceptional customer services. You are assured of a pain-free guarantee to receive smooth and seamless services.
We will set up an installation date that works for you. After installation, you will receive an email from Solar Analytics and log into their account. You can access their solar Dashboard on any device (mobile, tablet, laptop, etc.). The next step is to view how your system works through the app. You will see your energy usage, solar savings, battery information, and notifications if your system has any problems.
Where to buy Solar Analytics
You can only purchase products and services through solar installers and retailers. Working with a quality solar company like Nectr will ensure all your products are set up correctly. Our team will get back to you if you have any questions and need maintenance or system expansion.
How much does Solar Analytics cost?
A Solar Analytics Unit costs around $300 for the base unit and a little extra for a 3-phase unit. However, you also need to pay for the installation process, subscription fees, and 3G/4G/WIFI connection if you don’t have one.
Solar Analytics has monthly, yearly, 5-yearly, or lifetime subscription fees. You choose the subscription after the system is installed.
Here are the subscription prices:
- Classic solution
- 15KW and under- $6 per month, $60 per year, $250 Lifetime subscription
- Over 15KW– $10 per month, $100 per year, $450 for five years, $800 for ten years
- Integrated solution:
- 15KW and under– $165 for five years
- Over 15KW– $325 for five years
How do you read solar analytics?
Solar Analytics Dashboard has different tabs which you read to view your system performance. Its features include my energy usage, production, solar savings, performance, and battery. The monitoring also sends you alert and faults notifications.
Here are the different features:
1. My Energy Usage
This section has a breakdown of what your solar system is producing vs. what you are consuming.
Let’s explore the features in this section.
The Live Monitor comes on top of the Dashboard as a yellow or purple circle. It shows the number of kilowatts your system produces every few seconds.
Once you click on the Live Monitor, it will show you energy production and consumption in the last hour.
The purple circle shows consumption (e.g., 3.06kW), while the yellow circle shows production.
This monitor helps you monitor your appliances and help you troubleshoot if there are any issues.
The screen will reveal a graph with production vs. consumption bars. You will see tabs for your daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and total breakdown of energy production vs. consumption.
For instance, in the weekly energy usage section, the screen shows two bars for every day of the week.
Like the Live Monitor, the yellow bar shows what your system produced, e.g., 20kWh, while the purple bar shows you used, e.g., 9kWh.
Below the graph, three circles show energy usage weekly breakdown. The three circles include:
- Yellow circle– represents what your system has produced in (kWh-kilowatt/hour is the amount of electricity you use)
- Purple circle– represents the amount of energy you have used
- Orange circle- represents the energy you have exported to the grid
The total consumption tab shows the total amount of energy you have consumed.
Here, you will see the total savings you have made through solar – i.e., the money you could have paid your electricity provider.
The energy costs tab helps you understand your energy costs by showing how much you spend on electricity.
The production tab gives you a full breakdown of your system’s production. It will give you a daily graph of what your system is producing. Additionally, you will see what your system produces daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and the total.
Here’s what the production menu shows:
The line graph shows your solar energy production throughout the day. When you hover your mouse over the chart, you’ll see your system’s output for any specific hour and minute
Week, month, year, and total graphs
The graphs show your weekly, monthly, yearly, and total energy production and the expected production.
Solar Analytics algorithms work out how much energy your system should produce depending on your specifications. In each section, you will see two bars: the dark grey bar represents the expected production while the yellow bar shows actual energy production.
Your expected and actual output should be almost similar if your system has been correctly calibrated. But shading and malfunctions can lower your actual.
The total production tab will show you the total amount of energy your system produces.
You’ll see how much you have saved through solar.
3. Solar Savings
This section shows your savings calculation from energy used and exported. The monitoring system uses your electricity tariff data to estimate the amount of money solar helps you save.
There are two ways your solar enables you to save money, including:
- Solar self-consumption
- Solar feed-in credits
The solar savings menu has the following features:
The solar savings screens have four different tabs that show your weekly, monthly, yearly, and total amount of savings.
Each tab has two bars:
- Yellow bars show the amount you’ve saved
- Grey bars show the expected savings
Below the graph menu, you will see a weekly breakdown of your savings. There are three circles in this section which include:
- Yellow circle– represents the amount of money saved through the solar consumption
- Purple circle- represents the amount you’ve spent from energy imported from the grid
- Orange circle– Money earned from exporting the solar power you don’t use.
The total savings will show your total weekly savings (in a weekly breakdown).
The bar shows your energy cost in a weekly breakdown.
The screen has a system performance tab to view whether your system performs as required.
Here are the different features in the performance screen:
The performance dial will show you if there is an underperformance. If your system is not producing any energy, there will be 100% underperformance or production fault. If this happens, you will receive immediate notification.
Week, month, year & total performance graphs
The screen displays daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly performance graphs. The performance is represented in Kilowatts (kW) (the rate of electricity you use).
Your Solar Analytics shows system performance depending on various factors:
- System’s age
- Individual parts
- Tilt and orientation of your system
- Local weather
Solar Analytics will show you subtle changes that happen instead of waiting for the complete failure of your system.
For instance, Solar Analytics will show you the following:
- An immediate notification alerting you that one of your panels has premature degradations caused by delamination. The monitoring program informs you of the problem early on before it becomes significant.
- If your trees grow incredibly tall, leading to the shading on your solar panels, it causes your system output to drop. Solar Analytics informs you as soon as the shading impact is significant to help keep your production at exceptional levels.
- If your system is producing excess energy needed. More energy production could be a false positive because of calibration errors entered incorrectly.
Solar Analytics helps you make an informed choice if you do not have battery storage. The monitoring system has three battery features:
Solar Analytics will keep track of energy flow in and out of your installed batteries. You will know how the battery helps you not depend on the grid and save money. However, the monitoring system doesn’t keep track of stored energy.
Battery size calculator
The Batter Calculator feature on the Dashboard will analyse your 30-day energy consumption and recommend the perfect battery size and timing.
Solar Analytics dashboard will notify you of how your system is functioning. You will also receive advice on the best system size for your energy needs.
7. Additional features
Solar Analytics dashboard has other features such as alerts and notifications when your system isn’t functioning optimally.
Take a look at the two additional features Solar Analytics offers:
Solar Analytics monitoring system detects and alerts you if there is a reduction in system performance due to arching inside the isolator, a possible short circuit, or other issues such as:
- Water entry on the rooftop isolator
- Micro-cracking and cell hot spots
- Panel earth leakage
- High grid voltage
Old solar panels mostly experience earth leakage caused by potential induced degradation (PID). Strings that connect most grid-connected solar panels function in high voltages (300V to 600V). Operating at these high voltages over time causes leaks through the cells into the solar panels’ aluminium frames.
Solar Analytics can also detect grid issues such as high grid voltage. The system accurately measures the grid frequency and voltage (+/- 0.5% accuracy levels) using a Class A meter. High grid voltage is a common problem that leads to under-performance because it lowers power output.
Early detection of faults reduces system failure risks and potential property damage. Due to extreme weather conditions, solar panels become susceptible to water entry and severe panel degradation.
Rooftop isolators are installed to protect your panels from harsh weather, but over time they will deteriorate and experience water entry and overheating, which will lead to failure.
Solar Analytics alerts you if you need maintenance.
Solar systems generally have low maintenance. But their performance can reduce which lowers energy output due to the following reasons:
- Growth of mould
- Dirt build-up
- Shading from growing trees
Reducing energy output means your electricity savings will decrease, and your bills will increase. Solar Analytics will monitor how your system generates energy and account for low production. You will receive a notification that your system dramatically drops and others systems in your location haven’t.
Is solar analytics worth it?
Solar Analytics is not exactly cheap, but it is worth it because of its functions. The monitoring system helps you monitor your system’s energy usage and production.
It can also help you save money in two ways:
- Detecting faults that could lead to system failure risk and property damage. If you solve these problems immediately, you will save a lot of money needed for repairs.
- Monitoring output and detecting when it’s low. Without a monitoring system, you can’t tell when your system output decreases (due to shading). Hence, your system will continue to decrease its output, increasing your energy bills.
Get Solar Analytics with Nectr!
Solar Analytics is a compact device that helps you monitor your solar system using smart algorithms. You will receive information on your devices such as:
- Overall system performance
- Energy usage and production
- An estimate of savings and credit
- Frequency monitoring and grid voltage
- Expected energy output vs. actual production
- Alerts and faults diagnostics
Solar Analytics will help you monitor and ensure you get optimum output from your system. It also shows you if there are faults in your system.
Do you want to install Solar Analytics?
At Nectr, we work to ensure you have a seamless transition to solar with exceptional services. Our qualified team will install your Solar Analytics for you to start your monitoring journey.
Interested in solar? By clicking below you can use our smart solar calculator to find out just how much you could save with solar, what rebate you are eligible for, and the impact you will have on the environment.
Don’t wait until next quarter’s bloated bill, and get started today!
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