Who is watching your Solar System?
Ever wonder about who is looking out for your solar system’s productivity? Are all the micro inverters and optimizers working and producing? Is your system reaching the maximum productivity?
In Massachusetts there are tens of thousands of solar systems installed. In order to be grid-tied, the systems need to have interconnection permission and must have a revenue grade meter. This revenue grade meter measures the productivity of your solar system. Most of all of the solar systems have been sold with online monitoring. The solar installers infer that they monitor your system. Some do and many do not. And some such as NRG and Next Step Living are out of the solar business. Many of the national companies have cut back on staff and cut back significantly on expenses.
Many solar installation companies assume you are watching your system. Are you? If not, you may have an underperforming system that’s costing you money. If your system is not achieving full production levels then you are not only missing out on electricity savings but also missing out on SREC (Solar Renewable Energy Credit) Income.
But aren’t the manufacturers watching my systems and alerting me?
Yes and no. The manufacturers have alert systems set up so that an email is sent to the solar system owner should there be a production issue. But there are some issues with this alert system. The set points to establish these alerts can be changed to lower set points so alerts are not generated. And the set points can be extended to include a longer period of time. Meaning that the installer can set the alert system to be 10 days or more if there is a productivity issue. Also, many of the manufacturers email alerts go unread by the solar system owner. These email alerts either get sent to the junk mail box or they are simply deleted by the home owner.
What should a solar system owner do to ensure their system is at maximum productivity?
- Ask your solar installer what their service standards and commitments are for daily online monitoring.
- Ask your solar installer what the set points are for your solar system.
- If they do not commit, seek a solar installer who can provide you with daily online monitoring and a service agreement
Remember, your solar system does get a good cleaning with a strong rain storm (with a good pitch on the roof) but you can also improve your system performance by ensuring daily production is meeting and exceeding expectations. The old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” does apply even in the ROI of your solar system.