Does My Solar System Come With Monitoring?

How can you know whether the solar system that delivers power to your home is functioning properly? A solar system is a significant investment and it’s in your best interest to be aware of how well it is doing its job. The more efficient your solar system works, the lower the total cost of ownership.

Homeowners in Australia who have a solar power system already and those who are preparing to have one installed may not realise that a typical solar system does not usually come with a monitor. We encourage you to get monitoring for your new or existing system. Read on for details about solar system monitoring and how this can help your own solar setup.

What is Monitoring?

Monitoring involves keeping track of how much power your solar system is generating and how much electricity you and your family are using

The monitor connects to the solar power system, recording how much energy you are generating which means you will see higher numbers on clear, sunny days and lower production numbers when it’s cloudy. Be aware that monitoring works through a solar inverter. Put simply, a solar inverter takes the direct current that’s output from the solar panel and converts it into the alternating current that’s used to power your home’s appliances.

It also is recording just how much electricity is being used by all the appliances in your home, from things that are always plugged in like a refrigerator or clock, to intermittently used devices such as a microwave oven. By gathering the raw data of power generation and power consumption, you’ll have an excellent view of how well the system is working for your family.

Benefits of Solar Monitoring

There are a number of benefits to solar monitoring and becoming more familiar with them can help you determine that it’s good to protect your investment with a monitoring system:

  • Data Collection: A monitor provides you with all the data you need to track the efficiency and output of your system.
  • Get Information at a Glance: real-time feedback about your system is easy to check whenever you are curious about solar system performance.
  • Failure Warning: monitoring will allow you to get alerts in faults or shut downs in your system. You’ll be notified if the performance of the panels, battery or inverter fails. Staying on top of problems when they first arise instead of after they have grown more pronounced can save you in maintenance and repair bills.

Record Your Energy Consumption for Billing

When you sit down to go over your budget and bills, wouldn’t it be nice to have some precise statistics on how much energy your family is actually using each month? A monitoring system for your solar power system will help you see where and why your bill has gone up or down.

Perhaps you have been leaving lights on when leaving rooms or are running appliances more often than needed (such as turning on the dishwasher when it’s only partially full of soiled dishes).

By staying on top of your energy consumption patterns, you can easily identify trends (discovering overconsumption that is unintentional, for example, or to see if you are meeting goals to reduce usage). What’s more, if there should be an issue with your utility about how much power you took from the grid, your monitor will help you record potential billing errors.

Record Energy Consumption for Optimisation

If you do not examine your energy usage, it will be difficult to optimise your solar power system. This is why so many homeowners opt to install monitoring with their solar right from the start. The equipment will show you at what times you consume the most electricity. You’ll also learn when your system tends to draw energy from the solar panels versus from your battery. Sometimes a home’s solar power panels are not matched very well with the battery storage system. A monitor can definitely help you identify trends to see if you need to update the system in any way.

Since the system is constantly keeping track of usage, it’s simple to set it up to give you warnings whenever battery use is high. The more data you collect and crunch, the more efficiently you can use power going forward.

Keeping an Eye on Solar

If you have any questions about solar system monitoring or would like to consult with an expert on monitoring for your setup, please get in touch with Soltek Energy today.

Complete Guide to Solar: Getting a Quote

When you purchase a solar energy system for your home, it’s important to find an installer who provides accurate, honest quotes. A reliable estimate will help ensure that you’re paying a fair price and won’t be surprised by the final bill.

What to Expect

Competent, trustworthy contractors visit customers’ homes before they offer quotes. If an installer sends an estimate via phone or email without seeing your house, this amount may not reflect the actual price. Each home needs different solar and electrical equipment.

A contractor ought to examine your circuit breaker, roof and any obstructions before estimating the cost. It’s also crucial to evaluate a home’s power needs. For example, a dwelling with electric appliances will need larger photovoltaic panels than a house with gas equipment.

Detailed Quotes

Your installer shouldn’t just state a single amount. You ought to receive an estimate that lists the prices of specific items, such as the mounting hardware, DC-to-AC inverter and solar panels. If you desire a rechargeable backup battery, the quote should also list the cost of this equipment separately.

A detailed estimate will provide specific information about these products as well. For instance, it ought to list the model, wattage and quantity of photovoltaic panels. Look for the inverter’s output capacity; this equipment plays a crucial role in most systems.

Meter Upgrades

Your electricity retailer will be in charge of your meter. Ask if you’ll need to replace or upgrade your electrical meter. This step may add as little as $60 or as much as $300 to the total price. Your retailer will need the solar installer’s Certificate of Compliance (CCEW) and Permission to Connect (PTC) letter forwarded to the retailer. Energy Australia and Origin Energy has a smart meter form that needs to be completed and sent along with the PTC and CCEW. Older meters often cost more to upgrade. Queensland residents face a very small monthly fee rather than a larger one-time upgrade expense.

Installation Work

A quote should reveal how much money you’ll spend on installer labour. Workers must transport and set up the equipment before connecting it to your home’s electrical system. Labour costs may rise if they need to dig a trench for underground cables.

Warranty Coverage

Be sure to learn about the warranty that comes with a system. How long does it stay in effect, what does it cover, and is it provided by a trustworthy, well-established company? Panels from LG Electronics normally include 25-year guarantees.

Getting Money Back

A knowledgeable contractor should be able to estimate feed-in tariffs and rebates. These credits could help you recover the cost of your equipment. The Small-Scale Technology Certificate supplies larger rebates for more powerful systems. Feed-in tariffs compensate you for excess power that your panels add to the electrical grid.

Ask the installer about a system’s payback period. This is the approximate number of years it will take for you to recover your investment through electricity savings, rebates and tariffs. Keep in mind that unpredictable weather and economic conditions can shorten or lengthen this period.

Installation Time

In addition to estimating the cost and future savings, an installer ought to tell you when the work would begin and how long it will take to complete. The number of days may vary depending on how many people the company employs and the level of demand for its services.

To sum it up, you can benefit from finding a solar contractor who takes the time to inspect your home and provide you with comprehensive information on every major aspect of an installation project. 

If you are interested in installing solar on your Sydney home, contact Soltek Energy to get a quote.

Climate Change and the need for Renewable Energy

There are many scientific studies that indicate the reality and significance of climate change. One of the ways to reduce the drain on resources currently being experienced by the planet is to shift to systems that utilize renewable energy, such as solar power. By making this energy shift, the environment will have a chance to begin to heal. When used properly, solar power and other forms of renewable energy will be enough to eliminate oil, gas, and coal consumption before the year 2050. But that will only happen if changes are made now, instead of waiting.

Climate Change and the Australian Environment

Climate change is having massive and significant effects on the Australian environment. The bushfire season of late 2019 and early 2020 is evidence of this, but they are not the only problems being seen. The year 2019 was the hottest and driest year on record for all of Australia, and the trends are showing that these kinds of problems are likely to continue getting worse. Rather than allow that to happen any longer, there are changes that can be made to stop the decline in the environment. Reducing pollution is a big part of the solution, and that can be done by using renewable energy sources — most notably solar energy.

Millions of animals are dying in bushfires, and there have been massive numbers of homes and businesses destroyed, as well as human injuries and fatalities, too. It’s time to do something more, and protect the planet in ways that might not have been considered as seriously in the past. With a Green New Deal for Australia and other countries, the opportunity exists to move many of the world’s developed countries over to solar and other renewable energy sources before climate change goes so far that reversing it is simply not possible. Much needs to be done quickly, to cool Australia down and protect its climate.

The Economic Impact of Climate Change

Climate change and ecological disasters have had billions of dollars of impact on the economy of Australia. While it will cost money to move everything over to renewable energy, it will cost much more in the long run if the continent fails to do so. A Renewable Energy Agency has been established and the Solar Towns Programme has also been created, in an effort to move more people toward solar energy. By understanding why this is so important and educating the public on the value of renewable energy, billions of dollars can be invested in the right things and saved over time due to a reduced need for fossil fuels.

Millions of dollars have already been set aside for solar communities, allowing Australians who want to engage with others on topics like solar energy and climate change the opportunity to do so. By reaching out to those who already have solar power at their homes — along with those who are considering it — the opportunity to protect the environment and reverse climate change grows stronger. Right now, solar energy options are being installed at a rate that will allow Australia to meet its target of 50 percent renewable electricity by the year 2024. That will make a difference, but more can still be done to help.

Australia’s Renewable Energy Options

There are several popular renewable energy options for Australia, which include solar farms, wind farms, and rooftop solar panels that are used for households and communities. All three of these can be excellent choices, and all three can provide Australia with the help and hope it needs to improve its climate health and protect its people, animals, and natural resources. Wind farms can be put to excellent use over time, but it is the solar farms and rooftop solar panels that provide the continent with the most hope. Solar panels for individuals and businesses are ready now, and can be installed quickly in large numbers.

By putting solar energy to good use, and by getting more people involved in working to solve climate change, Australia has the opportunity to be a world leader in protecting the environment and saving the planet. The continent can reduce its costs, stop more damage from occurring for its people and animals, and focus on ways to help the entire planet breathe a little bit easier. Solar power and other renewable energy sources are the answer to climate change, and that answer must be implemented now.

If you’re looking to install solar panels, we can help. Contact us today to find out more about how to improve your energy output.