Why Knowing How to Monitor Your Solar Panel System is Important

A number of systems that many people utilize within their homes may require some occasional monitoring, and a good example here is any home that has a solar panel system installed. Some very simple upkeep and monitoring themes will ensure that your solar panel system is working properly at all times, plus will allow you to keep a regular eye on how much power is being generated.

At Intermountain Wind & Solar, we're happy to provide the best residential solar power services in Utah, assisting clients with everything from equipment procurement to installation, upkeep and more. What are the tools available to you to monitor your solar power system regularly, and how should you go about doing so? Here's a simple rundown.

Why is Monitoring Your Solar Panel System Important?

Firstly, let's go over why it's important to monitor your solar panel system on a regular basis. One key reason is that you'll be able to tell if the system is performing at peak efficiency levels or not. If you notice a sudden drop-off in power output, this could be indicative of an issue that needs to be addressed.

In addition, by monitoring your system you can keep a close eye on how much power is being generated vs. how much power is being used. This information can be useful in helping to make sure that your home is as energy-efficient as possible.

Finally, if you have any type of warranty or insurance coverage on your solar panel system, it's important to keep documentation of regular monitoring and maintenance. This can help to ensure that you are able to take full advantage of any coverage that you have in the event that something does go wrong.

Inverter and Monitoring System

Luckily, modern solar panels make it incredibly easy to monitor your system's performance. In most cases, all you'll need is a basic monitoring system that's connected to your inverter. This will give you real-time information on things like power output, energy usage and more.

In some cases, you may also want to invest in a data logging system. This can be useful for keeping long-term records of your system's performance, which can be helpful in troubleshooting any issues that may come up.

This is one key area where working with quality solar panel professionals can be helpful. At Intermountain Wind & Solar, we can help you choose the right monitoring system for your needs and budget, ensuring that you have everything you need to keep a close eye on your solar panel system.

Monitoring Systems for Individual Panels, or Broad System?

One big question to be asking when your solar panels are first being installed: Will the panels you're utilizing be monitored on a per-panel basis, or will the monitoring system be focused on the entire system as a whole? While most older solar panel systems were set up with the latter approach in mind, more and more homeowners are now moving towards per-panel monitoring. This can provide a number of advantages, including the ability to more easily identify which panels may be underperforming and in need of repair or replacement.

In addition, if you do have any issues with your system, per-panel monitoring can make it much easier to pinpoint exactly where the problem is coming from. This can save a lot of time and hassle in the long run, as you won't have to waste time troubleshooting panels that are actually functioning properly.

Of course, there are also some drawbacks to per-panel monitoring systems. The biggest one is that they tend to be more expensive than traditional system-wide monitoring setups. In addition, they can also be more complex and time-consuming to install.

As always, it's important to sit down with your solar panel professional to discuss the best monitoring system for your needs. In most cases, per-panel monitoring is the way to go, but there are still some instances where a traditional system-wide setup may be the better option.

How to Interpret Drops in Solar Output

If you're utilizing your monitoring system regularly, and happen to notice a sudden drop in solar output, there are a few possible explanations. In some cases, this could simply be due to changes in weather conditions. For example, if there's been a recent drop in temperature, this can lead to decreased solar output.

However, if the drop in output is significant and/or lasts for an extended period of time, it's likely that there's an issue with your system that needs to be addressed. The first step here is to take a look at your inverter display. If there's an error code present, this can give you a good indication of where the problem lies.

In some cases, you may be able to resolve the issue on your own. For example, if the problem is due to dirt or debris on your panels, a simple cleaning may be all that's needed to get things back up and running. However, if the problem appears to be more serious, it's always best to call in a professional for help -- you absolutely should not be risking your own safety, plus the quality of your panels themselves, if you are not trained on specific panel repairs or related services.

At Intermountain Wind & Solar, we're here to help with all your solar panel needs, including monitoring and maintenance. Contact us today to learn more about our services, or to schedule a consultation.

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