Module-level monitoring is a contemporary and important tool for Solar PV System owners and O&M companies to improve financial performance and reduce risk in owning and operating a large-scale solar system. The accuracy and insight from this new advancement, coupled with intelligent cloud-based analysis and diagnostics, bring many opportunities to detect hidden problems, improve energy output and improve efficiency in O&M activities. Although this comes with increased upfront costs, the increased energy production can significantly offset these additional costs.
Why is it important?
In the present scenario, the Performance Ratio (PR) of Solar PV system has increased significantly as compared to 35 years ago. However, as the source of energy production, solar panels lose performance over time due to various reasons. It is estimated that 0.6% of PV modules stop working properly in a year. If the faults are not solved immediately, they continue causing losses in the remaining time.
Although there are inverter-level monitoring and routine inspections by O&M staffs, hidden problems may easily go undetected. Moreover, accurately identifying the root causes of underperformance is time-consuming and requires high labour cost. Therefore, for O&M activities, the challenge is how to find faulty modules precisely and quickly. With a module-level monitoring system, the resulting data enables intelligent cloud software to identify panel faults, triggers an alarm, diagnose the root cause, and recommend O&M activities.
How does it work?
A Solar PV System uploads production data to the cloud using an internet connection. You can view current and past production data and generate reports online from anywhere. The monitoring interface is provided by the inverter manufacturer and the actual user interface varies by the type of inverter one chooses.
- Offers visualization of PV production, building consumption, and self-consumption
- Data presented at the module-level, string-level and system level
- Effective fleet management and improved O&M capabilities
- Alerts when a fault happens or power production declines
- Provides fault location and diagnostic information for O&M teams
It is very important when getting proposals, you ask if module-level monitoring is included and not just in writing in the solar proposal but the contract also. It is not only about system output monitoring that gives you limited access and only shows the output of the system as a whole.
Many solar installation companies do not provide panel-level monitoring in fear that it will lead to customer complaints. Ask your consultant/contractor to show you the systems they are currently monitoring; chances are, they do not offer “per solar panel” monitoring.
Rest assured knowing that Staten Solar is unique and offers panel-level monitoring. At Staten Solar, we want our customers to understand their system and have full access to their production data.