(Nectr formally known as InstyleSolar)
Monitoring your solar system performance with iSolarCloud helps you understand how your system is working. It’ll provide you with detailed solar production and consumption data. These solar analytics will help you keep power consumption within production levels to get the best out of your system.
Without a good monitoring system, you’ll see that your solar system reduces your bill, but you’ll not know actual solar produced or how it is used.
This post will tell you everything about iSolarCloud to help you get more value out of your solar. We’ll cover:
- What is iSolarCloud?
- How iSolarCloud monitoring works
- How to set up iSolarCloud monitoring
- How to read iSolarCloud solar analytics
- How to calculate power bill savings with iSolarCloud
Let’s get started!
What is iSolarCloud?
iSolarCloud is a solar monitoring system developed by Sungrow. It provides numerous energy insights into the producing power of your solar power system and the consumption habits of your household. Examples of data include energy data, revenue, error messages, etc.
There are two types of solar monitoring systems. The first is the standard inverter production monitoring embedded in the solar inverter. It only gives basic solar analytics such as daily and historical production, grid export, and error messages.
The second solar monitoring systems have add-on products to provide more live solar analytics about production and energy usage.
iSolarCloud is one of the add ons solar monitoring systems. It provides production details but uses additional solar analytics software to show how and when you use power.
Without a solar monitoring system, your energy bills are reduced, you’ll see the savings, but you cannot know how those savings come about.
iSolarCloud will show your daily supply charge and energy usage to help you understand how your system is working and save you money.
The system works with a wide range of solar installations, from ordinary PV inverters connected to solar panels to hybrids of solar panels and batteries. Whether you utilize lithium-ion or lead-acid batteries, you can still use iSolarCloud. The app also runs on Android and iOS devices.
How does iSolarCloud monitoring work?
iSolarCloud monitoring helps you access live and detailed energy data about your solar power production and consumption.
Electricity produced by the solar installed flows through the inverter to be converted from Direct Current produced by the solar panels into Alternating Current that individual appliances can use. If you are using a hybrid system that incorporates batteries, the inverter will also convert the energy stored in the batteries to AC for household use.
When using the iSolarCloud monitoring system, your device is connected to the inverter, which allows the inverter to communicate with the iSolarCloud server to measure solar production flowing through the inverter.
The system also shows how the power generated is used and any power you get from the grid.
Generally, the iSolarCloud application will show you the following:
How do you set up iSolarCloud monitoring?
To set up iSolarCloud monitoring, follow these steps:
1. Install the iSolarCloud app
Install the app, and open it once it is installed.
2. Select your server
Opening the app, you’ll receive a pop-up to confirm your current service address.
For Australia, it is an “international server.”
Select this, and click “confirm” to continue to the login screen.
3. User registration
Click “register” to create an iSolarCloud account.
On the registration page, select the “End User” option.
Then enter your email address and select “send verification code.”
Enter the verification code sent to your email into the appropriate field. Check your spam folder if you don’t see it in the inbox.
You can then log in using your email and the password you created to go to the iSolarCloud home screen. Accept the pop-ups that show up to give the app access to important features.
4. Create plant
Select “Create Plant” so that you can connect your inverter.
Select your plant type (residential or commercial).
Select your inverter type (PV or Hybrid). Then select your setup, which is the WLAN option.
5. Wifi Setting
Here is where you have to connect your device to your inverter. Open Wifi settings on your mobile device, and tap the name of your inverter. It is usually “SG-” followed by a series of numbers.
If a password is required, the password is a serial number located on your inverter. Once connected, return to the iSolarCloud app. You’ll see a “successfully connected” message. Click “Next”
The next page is to connect your inverter to the internet. Select your home Wifi, enter the password (if applicable), and press “confirm.” Then connect your device back to your home network.
Go back to your Wifi settings, disconnect your device from the inverter and connect back to the internet.
Return to the iSolarCloud app. You’ll see a “successfully connected” message showing that your device is now connected to the internet.
Click “Next” to configure the plant on the page that opens on the page that opens. Change the plant name to whatever you want.
Fill out the rest of the form, including country, time zone, plant address, postal code, and grid-connection date. Then click “next” to go configure tariff.
Configure tariff by entering solar feed-in tariff and consumption tariff. You can find this info in your latest electricity bill.
Then click “next” to connect the installer.
7. Connect Installer
On this page, enter the organisational code of your installer (obtained from them) to connect the plant to their iSolarCloud account. Your installer should access your inverter data to view your solar monitoring and troubleshoot any inverter issues.
After entering the code, click “next” and wait for your inverter to be connected for 5 – 10 minutes.
If successful, you’ll get the message “The inverter has successfully connected to the home network.”
8. Start Monitoring
Return to the home screen, and you’ll have full access to iSolarCloud monitoring data.
How to read your iSolarCloud
Operating the iSolarCloud dashboard is intuitive and easy. If you open the iSolarCloud website on your computer, you’ll find its key features in a small column at the left-hand side of the page.
The profile picture is at the top of the column,
followed by the account name. Under this, you’ll find clickable tabs for the iSolarCloud main features.
These are Overview, Device Information, Fault, and Plant Configuration. Clicking any one of these will open up its details on the main section of the screen.
Let’s explore all the features.
Here you’ll find general solar analytics such as:
Today Yield shows you how many kWh your system has produced for the day. It shows you how well your solar is performing, production-wise.
The best time to check the Today Yield is sundown, preferably at about 5 pm.
Just above the Today Yield value is the “Today Revenue.” It shows your solar production’s monetary value (in AUD) for the day.
Here you see how much your household has used in the day. It is shown in kWh.
The flow diagram shows how you use your solar power output. It has three nodes and directional arrows flowing from the first node to the two nodes below.
The first node at the top represents your solar system. On top of it, you’ll see the amount of power that your system is producing (then) in kilowatts.
The other two nodes represent your house and the grid.
The directional arrow flowing from your solar panel node to your house node shows the power that goes to your house from what your panels produce.
The arrow flowing from your panels’ node to the grid node shows the amount of power you export to the grid from what your panel produces.
So, the power-flow diagram shows you where the power that your system produces is going in real-time.
This shows the power your system produces when you’re checking.
The figure will tally with the amount of power shown in the first node of the power-flow diagram.
Current Month Yield
This section is to the right of “Real-time Power.” It shows what your solar has produced for the month in kilowatt-hours.
Just under the current month yield figure is “revenue this month.” This is the monetary value (AUD) of what your solar has produced for the month.
This section is to the right of the “Current Month Yield,” showing what your solar system has produced since you installed it.
Just under the total yield figure is “Total Revenue.” This is the amount (in AUD) that your system has saved for you since you installed it.
Below the Yields section, there’s a PV comparison chart and a Load comparison chart.
The PV comparison chart helps you visualise the power that your system produces over time. You can choose a day, month, year, or total display, and the chart will show you what part of your solar-produced power is self-consumed and what part is exported to the grid over the chosen period.
The Load comparison chart helps you visualise what you’ve used and where you’ve used it from. It compares what you’ve used from your solar (self-sufficiency) and what you’ve used from the grid (purchased energy) over time.
Below the two comparison charts is a time graph that plots your solar output and total power usage data on a time scale. This graph gives a wealth of information.
When considering the consumption part (using the “day” display), the time graph will show you the amount of power you’re using at particular times in the day. This gives insight into your consumption habits because it shows you when you consume the most power.
The time graph will show you how much power your panels produce at particular times in the day. It is usually a line curve that starts at a low point, rises steadily, peaks, and drops steadily. You’ll see low power production before sunrise, a steady increase in production as the sunshine increases, peak production when sunshine is highest, and a decrease in production as the sun goes down.
Using this graph, you can make smart adjustments to your consumption habits to get the best out of your solar system.
For example, you can arrange your high power usage to coincide with peak production times so that you don’t need more energy than your system produces and then buy it from the grid.
The negative vertical axis (coloured blue) shows the surplus power you export to the grid at different times.
2. Device Information
This tab holds information about your device. If you open it, you’ll find your device serial number, name, type, and status. You don’t need to check this tab. It helps solar installers assess your system errors.
However, if you want to know more about your device, you can click on the “Inverter.” This will open a window with different tabs.
The “General Information” tab has information like voltage, current, and other general data.
The “Active Fault” tab shows you any fault that your system has, and the “Fault History” tab shows you all the faults your system has ever had and their status.
This tab is dedicated to the faults that your system may have. There’s an option to sort the faults to choose any period.
The section also shows the occurrence time of faults, how the fault manifested, and the action you or your installer took.
4. Plant Configuration
This tab has two levels – plant and tariff.
“Plant” is where you’ll find details about the system’s owner. This includes your name, email address, and residential address (where the system is installed).
The “Tariff” section helps add more meaning to the Overview section. By filling the tariff section, the Overview will show how much (in AUD) your solar power system saves for you. The data for “Today Revenue,” “Revenue this month,” and “Total Revenue” in the Overview section will not be displayed if you do not fill this “Tariff” section.
Solar savings= power bills savings +feed-in tariff. It’s the amount you no longer pay for power and the amount you get when you export power.
Thus, in the “Tariff” section, there are fields to enter your feed-in tariff and your consumption tariff. The feed-in tariff is what your energy retailer pays you per kilowatt of power you export to the grid, while the consumption tariff is how much you are charged per kilowatt of power you use from the grid. As previously mentioned, you’ll find this info in your latest electricity bill.
Enter these correctly, and the Overview section will show your solar savings.
How to Calculate Your Power Bill Savings
iSolarCloud makes it very easy to calculate solar savings. However, you’ll have to enter the applicable rates before iSolarCloud can help you.
Follow these steps:
- Click on the “Plant configuration” feature in the iSolarCloud dashboard. This reveals two menus – plant and tariff
- Click on the tariff section
- Enter your consumption tariff and feed-in tariff
- Click save button
- Go back to the Overview
- Your solar savings is shown in today’s revenue, revenue for the month, and total revenue.
However, as mentioned, the solar savings = power bill savings + feed-in tariff.
To see the power bill savings for the day, get the “Self-consumption” reading X Consumption tariff.
You’ll need the PV chart to get power bill savings for any period (say a month). Get the “Self-consumption” reading for the desired period from the PV chart X consumption tariff.
What to do if iSolarCloud is Disconnected?
If communication with iSolarCloud is disconnected, you’ll need to go to your Wi-fi settings and re-establish the connection.
Losing connection means that the iSolarCloud app will not display any energy data. The plant status will be “offline” and show “device with the problem.”
To re-establish the connection, open your Wi-fi setting, and select the home network connection for the inverter.
Once the inverter is successfully connected to the home router, click “complete.” Then go back to the iSolarCloud app to continue.
Select the option for “more,” then select WLAN configuration. Connect to the inverter WLAN and click “next.” Then select your home Wi-fi network. Input your password and click “connect.” Wait for the message that the inverter has successfully connected to the home router.
Click “complete.” Then go to the home page, select your plant, and you’ll be back online. Here’s an iSolarCloud quick guide that will help you troubleshoot connection problems.
iSolarCloud is a solar monitoring system that uses an interactive application to provide detailed solar analytics of your systems’ power production and your household’s energy usage. The iSolarCloud can show you what your solar produces at different times of the day and what your household consumes at different times of the day.
With this information, you can make intelligent adjustments to keep power usage within production to avoid purchasing power from the grid.
Are you ready to start monitoring your solar system’s performance with iSolarCloud?
Contact Nectr experts if you need technical support.
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