Submitted by Andrew on Thu, 14/07/2016 - 15:19
solar inverter monitoring

How To Monitor Your Solar Inverter

So you’ve installed a solar power system. Now all you have to do is sit back and relax for the next few decades whilst it takes care of all the hard work. Right?

Sort of.

If you’ve installed a good quality system, there’s no reason why it won’t run smoothly and efficiently for many years. But nevertheless, switching to solar isn’t a ‘set and forget’ exercise. It’s still important that you service your system annually as well as monitor your inverter regularly to ensure it’s doing what it’s supposed to. Once you’ve mastered monitoring your inverter, you’ll have the added pleasure of measuring just how much free, clean energy your panels are producing. It’s a good feeling.

How to monitor your solar inverter? - Monitoring your inverter helps you to detect simple system glitches as well as more serious complications that may need the attention of a technician. The earlier these are detected, the less time you’ll spend off the grid (and the more cash in your pocket). So here are 4 ways to help you understand how to monitor your solar inverter

1. Check for warning lights

Depending on your inverter model, different warning lights will display if there is a fault with your system. Most solar power inverters these days are able to manage glitches by resetting themselves. However, there may be cases where you’ll need to manually shut down your system. Don’t worry, this sounds more difficult than it is. Plus, we’ve provided step-by-step instructions which are easy to follow.

2. Listen Out

In the morning and late afternoon as some inverters are turning on or off you may notice a flashing light and hear a clicking noise. These are normal functions of the inverter so there’s no need to stress. It’s only when your inverter continues to display an error light throughout the day that you should reset it (using the instruction above).

3. Monitor performance

Consistently monitoring the performance of your inverter is the most important way to ensure it is working correctly. Pretty much all inverter models sold today have an in-built functionality to check ‘yield’ – which is the amount of solar energy your system is producing.

Higher end inverters such as Fronius have additional monitoring such as a Fronius Smart Meter which will maximise self-consumption of the solar power you generate. It has a portal called Solar Web which presents a clear overview of energy use within the home, and intelligently coordinates the energy flows and optimises your energy management.

Fluctuations in system yield can occur for a number of reasons – from changing seasons and shade over panels, to simple inverter malfunctions and more complicated technical problems you have Regular monitoring helps you to detect irregularities early.

Generally, inverters will provide you with daily yield data, some will also provide monthly averages as well. If yours does not, you can simply record your daily yield at the start and end of each month and then divide the difference by the number of days in between.

To get instructions for checking yield, consult your inverter handbook or find yours online using our inverter directory.

4. Check your data

After installation, your solar power retailer should have provided you with paperwork detailing the estimated output of your system. All Solargain customers receive a Solargain Customer User Manual in a black handover folder on the day of installation. To check that your system is working correctly you can compare the data you record each month with the figures provided by your retailer.

In the case where your system performance is falling short of estimated production (and there is no obvious explanation why), you should get in touch with a certified solar power repairer for support.

Solargain services all solar power systems, including inverters sold by companies which are no longer in operation. Get in touch on 1300 73 93 55 or contact our team if you need solar power support!