Producing solar power in your home has become an increasingly popular option for homeowners looking to reduce bills, gain some energy independence and reduce their carbon footprint. A popular new feature on many home solar panel systems is tracking software. There are a set of software options that allow the user to monitor solar power production in real time and to observe the time of day when solar power has proved most effective. This allows the homeowner to test different solar panel configurations, monitor their power production and plan for power bills.
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Purpose of Monitoring
Monitoring the solar output of a home-based solar power system can serve several functions. First, dips and spikes in power may indicate times of day when certain panels are shaded, allowing the owner to move the system to a more ideal location. Second, certain systems, such as the "Solar Edge" system allow the user to identify where power is lost within the system, such as in the power inverter, panel wiring or other components. Third, it can allow the owner of the system to monitor output and account for all energy produced.
In order to monitor the production of a solar power system, the owner of the system will need at least two components. Monitoring the output of the system requires both the software and a hardware component, the "data logger," that sends the information to the software.
Popular Monitoring Systems
A number of solar monitoring software options exist on the market. Some software options are available from Solar Electric Supply, My Solar Log, Siemens, Maui Solar Software and Solar Edge to name just a few. There are dozens of options.
Picking a Software Option
All photovoltaic monitoring systems will require a hardware and software component. Picking which one is right for you depends on several things. First, consider the cost of the system. Second, consider your goals. Some people will want to monitor specific components and some will just want a readout of the power. Third, consider if you want it loaded to a web portal so that it can be read anywhere in the world. Fourth, consider if you want the software to have a smartphone application, allowing you to monitor your solar system from your phone. All of these options are available within the software made by the companies listed here and in dozens of other software applications.
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