Best Solar Monitoring apps

You have installed a solar system and are thinking of getting a monitoring app.

So, you installed a new set of solar panels! And now, you are all ready to start generating this renewable energy for your household needs. But, what if a lot of your generated energy is going to waste and you don’t know how that is happening? Think about it, have you been using all or most of the energy that your solar panels produce?

In comes the need for a solar monitoring app. This amazing innovation impacts the future of solar energy generation. Remember, data is important. Solar customers now have access to this energy system data with the help of a solar monitoring app.This application helps churn out data that ensures you make the best use of your solar energy.

So, without further ado, let us get more into this unique technology in the energy sector.

What is a solar monitoring app?

Solar monitoring app can help you be aware of the photovoltaic system's performance. This application offers information related to energy consumption as well as generation. In turn, this helps optimize the energy usage & any damage that has been ailing the solar system.

Your solar panels & associated systems need monitoring and maintenance for best efficiency.  Say, for example, you have about 10 small and big appliances at your home hooked up to the solar panels. So, how would you know which machinery has been using the highest or lowest amount of energy?

With a solar monitoring app, you can keep a check on energy consumption. This includes switching off the appliances you do not need to use which reduces the energy usage.

How does a solar monitoring app function?

Solar monitoring systems receive data from the inverter connected with the solar panel.Several companies in the market offer solar inverters with trademark & in-built monitoring software.

Your solar inverters convert the DC flowing from the panels into AC for home use. The information about the power levels & production is then collected by the inverter. This is then passed to the cloud-based power monitoring systems & the companion applications.

This information is accessible by the homeowners in many ways. This includes mobile applications &the smart devices paired with them. Monitoring systems are also designed to offer an on-site monitoring feature as well. They also wire the information from the inverter to the power monitoring device at your home.

The monitoring applications can pair with your solar power systems with cellular capabilities. They allow you quick access to the cloud-stored data from your mobile devices. There is no need to connect to the Wi-Fi network as such.

You can access the solar monitoring app data even if you lose the internet connection. Systems with unique power optimizers do not rely on any wireless connection to send data. This allows glitch-free monitoring in scenarios of internet outages.

Benefits of Solar Monitoring App

Source: https://myhomefarm.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/SolarEdge-app-on-iPad.png

You need to keep in mind that solar monitoring apps help with better system maintenance. Let us discuss some of its benefits in detail.

So, here are some of the best-known benefits of a solar monitoring app.

Enhanced System Operations Awareness:     

Solar monitoring apps allow you to check the amount of solar power your system produces. Solar power is a renewable source of energy; it is still constricted in nature. It is due to issues such as cloudy weather or shaded locations that restrict the reach of sun rays.

You need to ensure that electricity consumption isn’t going to waste. Anything channels or gets stored in the solar power plant. This is for use in days when solar power generation is minimal.

If your photovoltaic cells generate less power than average, hire expert help. It could stem from an underlying issue in your solar panels. Enhanced awareness of your system is critical to the longer life of your solar panels. It also ensures extra solar power generation.

Email Updates & Alerts:

Such monitoring apps use email alerts for quick notifications for system glitches. This allows you a chance to conduct quick maintenance and avoid major damages.

Data on the Go:

Given that solar monitoring apps work with mobile devices, you get access to mobility. Customers can access the reports and data related to their system’s performance.

The best thing about access to data is the quick alerts related to faults ailing your system. This would help you book maintenance service providers without any delay. Data-on-the-go also helps you check the electricity consumption in your house. This is especially when you aren’t at home with the basic appliances running on power. This would help you determine the least & heaviest data consumption by your appliances.

Issues You Might Face When Using a Solar Monitoring App

Now, no solar monitoring app is without any issues or glitches. So, here are some known issues that might arise when using a solar monitoring application. Not all applications have the same design. All these glitches might not be applicable in every case.

Report Generation:

The application you use could have issues related to data generation time. There are applications that might lag in report generation and could take a lot of time.

Applications that aren’t cloud-based depend on internet connectivity for report generation. This justifies the delay in report generation. For example, if you are traveling in an area with a limited network, your app might not function right. This happens due to a lack of internet connectivity or slow internet. It could cause errors in report generation or delayed response.

Complicated Spreadsheets:

First things first, not everyone understands the nits and bits of spreadsheet data. It could be difficult for homeowners to understand what the data in the spreadsheet for. To avoid this, the manufacturers are now working on better and easy-to-understand datasheets.

Check out this spreadsheet for solar irradiance posted below. You can see how complicated it is with terms and symbols. It might not be easy to understand for new solar monitoring panel owners. It’s nothing less than solving a difficult mathematical problem.

Source: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mohammad-Naraghi-2/publication/267592248/figure/fig7/AS:668438305460230@1536379519219/Spreadsheet-layout-for-calculating-total-solar-irradiation-on-an-inclined-panel-during.ppm

Top 5 Solar Monitoring apps

Now we have learned the basics of solar monitoring applications. So, let us look at the top 5 solar monitoring apps available in the market.

Energy Monitoring & Analysis App (EMA)

Source: https://emea.apsystems.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Capture-EMA-monitoring.png

If you own the products by APS microinverter, this energy monitoring app is for you. The EMA application allows the users to check the system’s real-time performance. It also provides environmental benefits & history of power output and more. This could happen all in their smart devices.

The app also allows the system owners access to real-time performance tracking. It also provides access to a graphical representation of individual solar panel performances. The app allows you to track the system’s output. This output is on weekly, daily, yearly, monthly, and even lifetime levels.

You can also calculate the energy savings or environmental savings. These categories include trees, gasoline gallons, & CO2 emissions.

Pros:

·       Switch between different monitoring features

·       Track power usage by month, day, year, or lifetime

·       Easy-to-access PV system information

Cons:

·       Login issues due to certain bug problems

Features:

·       Detailed stack tracing

·       Extended error notifications

·       Environmental savings

·       Energy savings calculation

MySolarEdge Monitoring App

Source: https://cdn10.bigcommerce.com/s-3yc5xwvk/product_images/uploaded_images/solaredge-m onitoring.png?t=1554855854

MySolarEdge monitoring app provides an enhanced photovoltaic performance monitoring feature. It also aids in yield assurance via immediate detection of faults. It also provides alerts at module levels, system levels, and string levels.

There is no need for wiring or hardware for the transmission of solar panel’s data. This also concerns the power optimizer data going to the solar inverter. The transmitters & monitoring sensors connect with the power optimizer & solar inverter. They also measure data that is being transmitted via regular power supply lines.


The app is accessible from devices like tablets and computers with internet features. You can also set up the options that help with automatic report generation.

Pros:

·       Set up automated alerts for any system issues

·       Provides you full visibility of the solar system’s functionality

·       Helps detect excessive power usage

Cons:

·       No scope to control the charging behavior

Features:

·       Current system energy measurement

·       Energy production monitoring in months, days, as well as lifetime

·       Power graph display

·       Site list and image

·       Weather data

·       Customized user preference configuration

Enphase Enlighten App

Source: https://go.enphase.com/hs-fs/hubfs/600X300S-08.jpg?width=2501&name=600X300S-08.jpg

One can check the system's status without the need to scroll with the Enphase Enlighten app. The app allows you to dive into critical details of the system’s health & performance. This is true for each panel regardless of where you are.

You can also view the energy & per-panel production data with one click. It also provides you an overview of energy consumption or storage. The prime section of this solar monitoring app is actually web-based. This means you might have to view it from the laptop or desktop.

The recently launched mobile application helps you track it all on the go. This makes it easy for any system owner to make correct choices for energy use.

Pros:

·       Check energy consumption and storage

·       Individual panel monitoring for fault detection

·       Allows you to check the system’s health

Cons:

·       App might not be able to provide live data

Features:

·       Easy system health & performance verification

·       Energy production analysis by day, hour, or month

·       Analyze performance about weather data (historical)

·       Energy production & energy usage reports

Fronius Solar.Web App

Source: https://www.vpsolar.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Fronius_Solar_WEB_overview.j pg

The FroniusSolar.Web App is a unique option used by solar system owners & is available as a web as well as a mobile app. With the help of this application, you can track the energy yields by the PV system.

Install this app on your smartphone, iPad, iPhone, & tablet to track your photovoltaics. You can also use the demo system by Fronius to get a quick peek at the things that this application can do.

You also get access to energy yield snapshots over any timeframe required. You also access sustainability metrics as trees planted, CO2 saved, & money saved.

Pros:

·       Compatible with the Apple watches

·       Yield report generation as per timeframe allotted

·       Access sustainability metrics with ease

Cons:

·       Graph viewing could have glitches

Features:

·       Dark mode available

·       Displays current value and energy curve

·       Analysis & evaluation of CO2 savings and energy yield

·       Intuitive operation

·       Energy usage data history

SMA Sunny Portal App

Source: https://www.sma.de/fileadmin/content/global/Products/Images/Monitoring_Systems/w ebconnect/Webconnect_KV3_EN.png

The SMA Sunny Portal App lets you access an infinite array of options for data analysis. It also involves yields visualization in diagram and data table form. All the inverter yields calculation & comparison is possible, allowing detection of deviations.

The powerful reporting functions provide quick updates via e-mail to ensure proper yield. It is also an easy-to-use application for system owners.

Pros:

·       Desktop plus app access

·       Easy-to-decode reporting

·       Functionality & data prioritized for great user experience

Cons

·       Cannot compare the current data with the previous one

Standard Features:

·       Plant Selection

·       Energy and Power Yield Monitoring

·       System Logs for Event History

·       Power Plant Description

Can I Use a Monitoring App that is Different from the Solar Manufacturer?

The above-mentioned applications do work on solar inverters manufactured by different companies. But, there are some that only work in conjunction with their own brand application.

This ensures that the functioning is glitch-free & errors get corrected by the makers. The generic monitoring apps have advanced with time & provide services like proprietary apps.

Conclusion

We hope you understand how important solar power monitoring apps are. With everything in check, you can avoid hassles that arise due to lack of maintenance. Even delayed detection of faults might need major repairs. Always be ready with these useful solar monitoring apps and do your part in saving the world.