Importance of Solar Monitoring for Your Commercial Building

EnergyLink continuously strives to improve the accuracy of estimates by monitoring previous installations and verifying their performance.

We do this by tracking solar production from previously installed residential and commercial arrays and comparing the kWh production per kW of capacity to that of our estimates. Weather data is viewed for the same time period to determine how sensitive these numbers are to anomalies in meteorological conditions, and to improve our projections in the future by building the behavior during these anomalies into our performance assumptions.

Overview

With solar energy becoming more accepted as a viable source of renewable energy, quantitative information on a system’s post-install real performance becomes a major concern. For this reason, ‘M&V’ (Metering and Verification) has become a very valuable service.

There are many factors that can impact a system’s real world performance such as the quality of the installation job, year-to-year weather patterns, or even factory-defective hardware.

The cost of ownership of a solar system is tied very tightly to the system’s ability to produce a minimum quality of service over a period of time in order to accurately calculate the system’s ROI period. For this reason, EnergyLink monitors the performance of our installed systems closely to be sure that everything is in proper, working order. It is often observed that if any hardware is defective, it will show signs of premature degradation within the first several months of operation.

This is not always easy to see from just a bill or production measurement, which is why we encourage customers to connect their inverters to a wireless network. This enables us to see real-time data from each individual panel in an array, and receive alerts if any of them are behaving abnormally.

Summary

An accurate solar monitoring system is composed of many components that track the performance of the panels, as well as weather conditions and inverter behavior.

The data logger-gateway is your central device for collecting this data and transforming it into useful information and alerts. It is essential to be able to monitor the behavior of a system, because nobody can effectively control something that they cannot observe.

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