1. Manually, using meters. In the first few days, I
looked at the Sunrun meter and the net meter. The meters
flash different statistics based on how much power you
are generating and how much you are consuming. The
meters have unique IDs, show the date and time, and
other useful data. After about a week, it was getting old
running out to the meters at the end of the day
(sometimes with a flashlight) to see the stats. The meters
are the most accurate (although not the most convenient)
revenue grade data available.
2. Sunrun website. Sunrun maintains a website where
you can see all your data. It is very useful and shows how
much power has been generated for the day, week,
month, and year. It can take 24-48 hours for the data to
show up, however.
3. SolarEdge inverter. There are diagnostic screens on
the inverter, so naturally I had to play with them. Figure 9
shows the AC and DC voltages produced, the power (in
watts), and how many panels are operational ( 38 out of
38). This information is sent to the solar company for
diagnostic monitoring. Figure 10 shows the frequency of
the AC voltage and the temperature of certain power
components in the inverter. Figure 11 shows the amount
of power produced for the day, month, and year. So,
when I am in the basement near the inverter, I check the
diagnostic screens by cycling through them. There are
several other screens, including the status of the Zigbee
connection to the panels.
I knew there was a Wi-Fi antenna on the inverter (see
Figure 12), so I contacted the inverter company to see
how I could log into it. After several attempts, I was told
that the installer (Sunrun) had to register me for that. After
a total of 3-4 weeks back and forth, I was successful. I
could log into a SolarEdge website where the data was
presented near real time (within five minutes). This is the
primary method I use now from work or anywhere else. I
am planning to try it from a cruise ship this summer if the
connection is fast enough. There is a SolarEdge app on my
smartphone which works well also.
Performance and Results
The results shown are based on the SolarEdge website
and my own utility records. Figure 13 shows the
performance by month of the system. December was the
poorest month due to shorter days and cloudy skies.
However, February was on track to become even worse
because of snow. Figure 14 tells the story. At the top is
the summary statistics as of February 28. There was a 10”
snowfall on Friday, February 5. It was a heavy wet snow. I
had bought a soft roof rake (see Resources), but by the
FIGURE 10. Frequency and temperature status.
FIGURE 9. Voltages and power production status.
FIGURE 11. Power produced over time. FIGURE 12. Inverter Wi-Fi antenna.
42 August 2016