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  • Solar panel monitoring... cost?

    Does every installed solar panel system need monitoring?

    I talked to a rep about a system that includes the SolarEdge optimizer/inverter system. She said it can be monitored per panel at the SolarEdge site. Is this free for life with the purchase of the SolarEdge product?
    I also talked to another rep who recommended the Enphase micro inverter system. This company line-itemed $750 for 30 years of monitoring. Is this normal?

    Every installer I've talked to also claims they also monitor my system for outages. Is it safe to assume this is a good idea since I image they may notice an issue before I do?

  • #2
    Originally posted by mdb View Post
    Does every installed solar panel system need monitoring?

    I talked to a rep about a system that includes the SolarEdge optimizer/inverter system. She said it can be monitored per panel at the SolarEdge site. Is this free for life with the purchase of the SolarEdge product?
    I also talked to another rep who recommended the Enphase micro inverter system. This company line-itemed $750 for 30 years of monitoring. Is this normal?

    Every installer I've talked to also claims they also monitor my system for outages. Is it safe to assume this is a good idea since I image they may notice an issue before I do?
    SolarEdge monitoring is included for life.
    Modules come with a 25 year performance warranty but you can't tell if you have a module performance issue, Without module monitoring.
    OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

    Comment


    • #3
      Solar edge is free so far
      Enphase used to be a chsrge then free then a huge upcharge on the envoy. At one point they eliminated the panel level monitoring for owners.
      I wouldnt count on the dealer monitoring uour system and most folks stop watching 6 months or so in.
      NABCEP certified Technical Sales Professional

      [URL="http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showthread.php?5334-Solar-Off-Grid-Battery-Design"]http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showth...Battery-Design[/URL]

      [URL]http://www.calculator.net/voltage-drop-calculator.html[/URL] (Voltage drop Calculator among others)

      [URL="http://www.gaisma.com"]www.gaisma.com[/URL]

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by ButchDeal View Post
        SolarEdge monitoring is included for life.
        Modules come with a 25 year performance warranty but you can't tell if you have a module performance issue, Without module monitoring.
        Is SolarEdge "module monitoring" free for life? Or does SolarEdge have "basic" monitoring of the system for free and "module monitoring" for cost?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by mdb View Post
          Is SolarEdge "module monitoring" free for life? Or does SolarEdge have "basic" monitoring of the system for free and "module monitoring" for cost?
          It is all free, for as long as SolarEdge maintains their cloud server. Direct LAN access to the inverter data is possible, but not as straightforward as it is with Enphase.
          CS6P-260P/SE3000 - http://tiny.cc/ed5ozx

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by sensij View Post
            Direct LAN access to the inverter data is possible, but not as straightforward as it is with Enphase.
            There is a land port on the inverter, they sell for less than the cost of an envoy a zig bee wireless repeater as well and any third part repeater can be used.
            OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by mdb View Post
              Is SolarEdge "module monitoring" free for life? Or does SolarEdge have "basic" monitoring of the system for free and "module monitoring" for cost?
              Module level monitoring is free though many installers do not release it to customers. They tell us because they call about shadow issues. We have all our installers release full access and set up pvoutput access as well.
              OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

              Comment


              • #8
                I have the Solaredge inverter and before my installer could register MY inverter, and possibly control my access to the data, I registered on the Solaredge site and my inverter. So I am the installer and I created a logon for my installer to look at the data.

                It wasn't hard to set up and configure the optimizers and inverter. Took maybe 20 minutes total. My installer was fine with it. Told me that, after all, it is mine, I paid for it, so he had no problem that I registered and set up the account.

                I'd recommend this to anyone with the technical know-how of configuring any software application. There is also an android app for Solaredge I have on my smartphone as well as PVOutput android app. The PVOutput app isn't free, I think it was only a few dollars, but it has LOTS of data and well worth the cost.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by skipro3 View Post
                  I have the Solaredge inverter and before my installer could register MY inverter, and possibly control my access to the data, I registered on the Solaredge site and my inverter. So I am the installer and I created a logon for my installer to look at the data.

                  It wasn't hard to set up and configure the optimizers and inverter. Took maybe 20 minutes total. My installer was fine with it. Told me that, after all, it is mine, I paid for it, so he had no problem that I registered and set up the account.

                  I'd recommend this to anyone with the technical know-how of configuring any software application. There is also an android app for Solaredge I have on my smartphone as well as PVOutput android app. The PVOutput app isn't free, I think it was only a few dollars, but it has LOTS of data and well worth the cost.
                  You need to make sure you get the optimizer locations and string layout to finish the install. The installers should have this or put it in for you.
                  OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mdb View Post
                    Does every installed solar panel system need monitoring?
                    Not if online monitoring can be had for free from the inverter company, like with Enphase.

                    Originally posted by mdb View Post
                    I also talked to another rep who recommended the Enphase micro inverter system. This company line-itemed $750 for 30 years of monitoring. Is this normal?
                    You can monitor your own Enphase system online on a system-wide basis for free using MyEnlighten, or if you pay $249 one time they will give you access to Enlighten Manager which includes the per-panel data. It sounds like your installer is offering to monitor your system for you for that fee. I've never heard of it, and I wouldn't bet $750 on an installer being around long enough to make it worth it. I think you should monitor your own system with the free Enlighten Manager or whatever your inverter company offers, and let your installer know if you think it's under-producing so he can check it out.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ButchDeal View Post
                      You need to make sure you get the optimizer locations and string layout to finish the install. The installers should have this or put it in for you.
                      Yes you do. Each optimizer comes with a peel-off label that gets placed on a template. They have a barcode that can also be scanned with an apple smartphone (Sorry, no android app for it, just apple) I made sure I took the template and made a copy of it on my home printer before the installers left.

                      Remember this;
                      This is YOUR property. You bought it. You paid for it and you hired them to install it for you. It's yours to register if you want. This shouldn't be any contention with the installer you hired. For me it wasn't.

                      Once I created my Solaredge account, registered the inverter, the inverter, which had already discovered the optimizers, uploaded them to the Solaredge account I created. All I needed to do was design the layout as it existed on my roof, and assign each panel's serial # to the respective panel. Done!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by skipro3 View Post
                        Yes you do. Each optimizer comes with a peel-off label that gets placed on a template. They have a barcode that can also be scanned with an apple smartphone (Sorry, no android app for it, just apple) I made sure I took the template and made a copy of it on my home printer before the installers left.

                        Remember this;
                        This is YOUR property. You bought it. You paid for it and you hired them to install it for you. It's yours to register if you want. This shouldn't be any contention with the installer you hired. For me it wasn't.

                        Once I created my Solaredge account, registered the inverter, the inverter, which had already discovered the optimizers, uploaded them to the Solaredge account I created. All I needed to do was design the layout as it existed on my roof, and assign each panel's serial # to the respective panel. Done!
                        Pretty much the process
                        Not hard if you have the optomizer locations
                        NABCEP certified Technical Sales Professional

                        [URL="http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showthread.php?5334-Solar-Off-Grid-Battery-Design"]http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showth...Battery-Design[/URL]

                        [URL]http://www.calculator.net/voltage-drop-calculator.html[/URL] (Voltage drop Calculator among others)

                        [URL="http://www.gaisma.com"]www.gaisma.com[/URL]

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ButchDeal View Post
                          There is a land port on the inverter, they sell for less than the cost of an envoy a zig bee wireless repeater as well and any third part repeater can be used.
                          The LAN and Zigbee systems appear to exist only to allow the inverter to broadcast its data to the cloud... specifically, prod.solaredge.com
                          port 22222. I have not found a way to query the inverter directly over the LAN through either of these methods. There is an RS485 port in the inverter that can be enabled in parallel to the LAN/Zigbee communication, and through it the inverter can be polled using the Modbus/SunSpec protocol (without affecting the data transfer to the cloud). Intercepting the ethernet broadcast data my be possible too (some have figured out how to do this with Sunpower's PV Supervisor), but I haven't attempted it at all.


                          Originally posted by ButchDeal View Post
                          Module level monitoring is free though many installers do not release it to customers. They tell us because they call about shadow issues. We have all our installers release full access and set up pvoutput access as well.
                          Your support of PVOutput and data access in general is exceptional. I didn't know or appreciate it at the time I contracted with you, but that difference has proven to be one of the important little things that, to me, sets you apart from others in the business, and makes it easy for me to recommend you.
                          CS6P-260P/SE3000 - http://tiny.cc/ed5ozx

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Naptown View Post
                            Pretty much the process
                            Not hard if you have the optomizer locations
                            Even if you don't have the labels, you can recover. The portal will let you set up any optimizer layout you want, and it is easy to swap locations later if you find that you put an optimizer in the wrong location. Some well defined shade (natural or intentionally made) can help match panels to their optimizers after the fact, by using the panel level data in the portal.
                            CS6P-260P/SE3000 - http://tiny.cc/ed5ozx

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by sensij View Post
                              The LAN and Zigbee systems appear to exist only to allow the inverter to broadcast its data to the cloud... specifically, prod.solaredge.com
                              port 22222. I have not found a way to query the inverter directly over the LAN through either of these methods. There is an RS485 port in the inverter that can be enabled in parallel to the LAN/Zigbee communication, and through it the inverter can be polled using the Modbus/SunSpec protocol (without affecting the data transfer to the cloud). Intercepting the ethernet broadcast data my be possible too (some have figured out how to do this with Sunpower's PV Supervisor), but I haven't attempted it at all.
                              If Solaredge would push out a program that could be loaded onto your own PC for a local application of their web application, that would be great!

                              I imagine that someone will do just that and offer it for sale. For no other reason than Solaredge has been having issues with their servers lately. I've been struggling with my Zigbee working and recently with connection to their server. When I contacted a tech with Solaredge because I could not get my Zigbee Gateway to connect with their server, he replied with this e-mail;

                              "I can confirm that we are having issues with the solaredge server yes. We’ve just had some callers with the same issue and when I navigate through the Monitoring portal its slow. IT dept. says data is behind."

                              I don't know why they don't offer a local program for home computers and an app as well.

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