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  • #46
    Originally posted by bcroe View Post

    I would say, it certainly is possible to detect and correct problems without individual
    panel monitoring. Bruce Roe
    yes if you know what you are doing and looking for. But you must admit that MOST new solar owners do not know how to check a string for problem. In my experience Most new solar owners don't notice that their system is down for days, a few months. We have had a few post here that haven't noticed for a few months and even then only noticed that their bills were high.

    With module level monitoring from sites like solarEdge, not only is it easy to notice but the system will actually send alerts and these can be customised to be pretty accurate ( the default is after one day of outage).
    OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

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    • #47
      Originally posted by ButchDeal View Post

      yes if you know what you are doing and looking for. But you must admit that MOST new solar owners do not know how to check a string for problem. In my experience Most new solar owners don't notice that their system is down for days, a few months. We have had a few post here that haven't noticed for a few months and even then only noticed that their bills were high.

      With module level monitoring from sites like solarEdge, not only is it easy to notice but the system will actually send alerts and these can be customised to be pretty accurate ( the default is after one day of outage).
      In my experience, MOST new or even established PV system owners not only don't know how to check a system but wouldn't - even if they knew how to check it.

      Maybe if the system were simpler there would be fewer problems and all the bells/whistles of system warnings and notifications wouldn't be as well developed as they seem to have become. Put another way, if the SolarEdge system is as reliable as you seem to write, why is such a well developed warning/monitoring system needed in the first place ?

      Simple systems fail less than more complicated systems.

      Perhaps the development of what sounds like (from your descriptions) sophisticated warning systems as you describe them is a de facto acknowledgement that the probability of system failures with more complicated SolarEdge equipment is higher ?

      Comment


      • #48
        Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

        In my experience, MOST new or even established PV system owners not only don't know how to check a system but wouldn't - even if they knew how to check it.

        Maybe if the system were simpler there would be fewer problems and all the bells/whistles of system warnings and notifications wouldn't be as well developed as they seem to have become. Put another way, if the SolarEdge system is as reliable as you seem to write, why is such a well developed warning/monitoring system needed in the first place ?

        Simple systems fail less than more complicated systems.

        Perhaps the development of what sounds like (from your descriptions) sophisticated warning systems as you describe them is a de facto acknowledgement that the probability of system failures with more complicated SolarEdge equipment is higher ?
        In my experience with a vast many solaredge installs. The warning bells and whistles come into play with things like incorrectly installed systems (installer failure), failed or failing pv modules ( most often diodes), animal damage, general damage ( tree, hale, etc), and occasionally DOA components.

        The most if these will be there with or without optimizers but would be more difficult to notice without.
        OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

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        • #49
          I never said that unqualified owners should try to service electrical equipment they
          do not understand. Perhaps those who come here are trying to learn sufficient
          qualification, otherwise they should seek out qualified help. Multiplying the complexity
          and greatly increasing the opportunities for failure is a high price to pay, for easy
          detection of an extremely rare fault. If you see frequent golf balls or other hazards,
          the monitors might be well justified.

          For those who can, I have a few times described how to track down typical string
          system faults, at the same time pointing out how dangerous these systems can be.
          I tell visitors my system could cook 100 hot dogs simultaneously.

          I have had the same conversation with owners trying to fix their car electrical
          system or automatic transmission or fuel injection.

          About all the uninvolved owner needs to do, is check noontime output on a
          sunny day, every so often. And look at the electric bill. Those who cannot do
          that I suppose, are the same ones who run all the oil or coolant out of their engines.
          Bruce Roe
          Last edited by bcroe; 06-23-2019, 05:15 PM.

          Comment


          • #50
            Originally posted by ButchDeal View Post

            In my experience with a vast many solaredge installs. The warning bells and whistles come into play with things like incorrectly installed systems (installer failure), failed or failing pv modules ( most often diodes), animal damage, general damage ( tree, hale, etc), and occasionally DOA components.

            The most if these will be there with or without optimizers but would be more difficult to notice without.
            Same as it's a poor workman who blames his tools for a poor job, it's a poor manager or supervisor who blames those who do the work associated with bad installs/problems. Hiring is part of it, but most of it's training and retention. Those and other things are management's responsibility. Been there. Done that a lot and owned it.

            Still, I appreciate that poor install workmanship is responsible for a lot of problems. See it all the time. But relying on an after the fact system monitoring of any type is a poor way to deal with it. The train has left the station so to speak. It also seems to me that simpler systems will be easier to install and present fewer opportunities for error. More KISS benefits.

            I'm back to my mantra that unnecessary complication means more problems and unnecessary costs, starting with design, through procurement, assembly, startup, all the way through continued operation and system maintenance.

            Putting aside the moot point of owner (non)involvement in keeping an eye on things, all that seems to me to come down to a discussion/consideration of whether or not panel level monitoring and/or the possible additional output from micros or optimizers is worth the extra $$ or reduced reliability/added maintenance over the expected lifecycle of a system, with those considerations lying with the one who's paying for the system and the resulting electric bills.

            Putting owner (non)involvement back into it, as a practical consideration, I'd suggest that if one panel or one component failed in a string inverter system, that failure will have a better likelihood of being discovered sooner because either a whole string or the entire system will go down and that will be noticed quicker - provided someone looks at an electric bill - than one panel. Not saying it'll be a happy occasion, just that it'll get noticed sooner, sort of like the difference between a shooting star and an asteroid strike.

            Taking out the types of failures you note that don't need a monitoring system to detect, like trees/hail/damage/etc. and the generally accepted premise that panels are pretty robust and beyond infant mortality don't seem to fail much, or at least (apparently) not as much as other system components, that leaves mostly wiring, inverters and the monitoring software that need some operational visibility. Now, string inverters usually mean less wiring and fewer inverters, so I'm back to string inverter equipped systems without optimizers have less to monitor and more importantly, less to fail.

            Maybe panel level monitoring for micro or optimizer systems is a good idea for such systems because there's more to fail, making the monitoring sort of a self justification/need to get the most out of such systems vs. string inverter systems that have less of (but still some) need of monitoring.

            And I'd suggest ,without arguing who's got better monitoring equipment or it's need, or whether or not, or how much Joe six pack keeps an eye on things, that SolarEdge is not the only inverter seller with monitoring software or hardware.

            Comment


            • #51
              Originally posted by bcroe View Post

              About all the uninvolved owner needs to do, is check noontime output on a
              sunny day, every so often. And look at the electric bill. Those who cannot do
              that I suppose, are the same ones who run all the oil or coolant out of their engines.
              Bruce Roe
              That is assuming it was installed correctly from the start and no DOA equipment....
              OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

              Comment


              • #52
                Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

                Same as it's a poor workman who blames his tools for a poor job, it's a poor manager or supervisor who blames those who do the work associated with bad installs/problems. Hiring is part of it, but most of it's training and retention. Those and other things are management's responsibility. Been there. Done that a lot and owned it.

                Still, I appreciate that poor install workmanship is responsible for a lot of problems. See it all the time. But relying on an after the fact system monitoring of any type is a poor way to deal with it. The train has left the station so to speak. It also seems to me that simpler systems will be easier to install and present fewer opportunities for error. More KISS benefits.

                I'm back to my mantra that unnecessary complication means more problems and unnecessary costs, starting with design, through procurement, assembly, startup, all the way through continued operation and system maintenance.

                Putting aside the moot point of owner (non)involvement in keeping an eye on things, all that seems to me to come down to a discussion/consideration of whether or not panel level monitoring and/or the possible additional output from micros or optimizers is worth the extra $$ or reduced reliability/added maintenance over the expected lifecycle of a system, with those considerations lying with the one who's paying for the system and the resulting electric bills.

                Putting owner (non)involvement back into it, as a practical consideration, I'd suggest that if one panel or one component failed in a string inverter system, that failure will have a better likelihood of being discovered sooner because either a whole string or the entire system will go down and that will be noticed quicker - provided someone looks at an electric bill - than one panel. Not saying it'll be a happy occasion, just that it'll get noticed sooner, sort of like the difference between a shooting star and an asteroid strike.

                Taking out the types of failures you note that don't need a monitoring system to detect, like trees/hail/damage/etc. and the generally accepted premise that panels are pretty robust and beyond infant mortality don't seem to fail much, or at least (apparently) not as much as other system components, that leaves mostly wiring, inverters and the monitoring software that need some operational visibility. Now, string inverters usually mean less wiring and fewer inverters, so I'm back to string inverter equipped systems without optimizers have less to monitor and more importantly, less to fail.

                Maybe panel level monitoring for micro or optimizer systems is a good idea for such systems because there's more to fail, making the monitoring sort of a self justification/need to get the most out of such systems vs. string inverter systems that have less of (but still some) need of monitoring.

                And I'd suggest ,without arguing who's got better monitoring equipment or it's need, or whether or not, or how much Joe six pack keeps an eye on things, that SolarEdge is not the only inverter seller with monitoring software or hardware.
                I would say that the monitoring is not after the fact but integral. And as a gear head i prefer an engine with less computer parts, they are simpler to maintain and work in in the field, the fact remains that most modern cars are highly monitored and controlled way beyond those from the early 60s and have less requirements for maintenance...
                your attitude does remind me if a movie ( cant remember the name of it) where a biker had replaced every bolt in his bike with the same size so he only needed one wrench and another biker had laughed as he had finagled his bike to only have one bolt holding the entire thing together and it is only finger tight. The first biker says something like " this bold" as he removes it, where upon the entire bike falls to a pile of parts....
                i like older engines but i understand them and can work in them. Same for solar, we both understand it and can see how easy it is to work on one with little to no monitoring. I however in dealing with a lot of customers and many many contractor installers, that are all remote much (very much) prefer more reliable and a lot of monitoring so that i can remotely check on the install and work with both customer and installer to get resolved. I like the ability to remotely diagnose, sometimes repair things, and get things handled before the customer even notices. I like the ability to call the customer tell them we found a problem and the installer will be out to fix it on X date.
                Our customers love the monitoring as well and consumption monitoring is a great win as they often would get confused with out it thinking the electric company was giving them a bill for consumption instead of net...
                just like some people like manual transmissions, usually people that know a bit about driving and cars, but most people not only want automatic transmissions now but they would prefer a self driving car... advocating for less monitoring, automation, and simplicity is one thing but this thread started with the argument that string MPPT with modules utilizing diodes is as or more efficient than optimizers ON a SHADOWED string!

                I further never siad solaredge had a corner on the market. I stated that module level MPPT was better in shadowed situations and that that would include solaredge and micros ( tigo is not module level MPPT but does have monitoring).

                Your argument is string systems are simpler thus More reliable and we have long since agreed to disagree on that point but this thread is about string vs module level MPPT performance in shadowed situation.
                OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

                Comment


                • #53
                  I should add to my perspective, that remote panel monitoring is greatly appreciated by installers.

                  Bruce Roe

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by bcroe View Post
                    I should add to my perspective, that remote panel monitoring is greatly appreciated by installers.

                    Bruce Roe
                    Good installers. Crappy ones don't like customers to notice their mistakes...
                    OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by ButchDeal View Post
                      .......... ( tigo is not module level MPPT but does have monitoring).
                      ....
                      I am not sure I understand what the difference is between panel level optimizing and panel level MPPT. I understand the basics of MPPT and had naively assumed that a Tigo optimizer was doing MPPT at the optimizer (panel). Is there a simple explanation or a list of benefits?
                      Last edited by Ampster; 06-24-2019, 12:10 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by ButchDeal View Post

                        Good installers. Crappy ones don't like customers to notice their mistakes...
                        And perhaps conversely, good installers don't necessarily appreciate it when solar ignorant customers inconsiderately waste other's time by nit picking things they think are problems that are well within ordinary parameters.

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Ampster View Post
                          I am not sure I understand what the difference is between panel level optimizing and panel level MPPT. I understand the basics of MPPT and had naively assumed that a Tigo optimizer was doing MPPT at the optimizer (panel). Is there a simple explanation or a list of benefits?

                          Tigo just does buck (reduce voltage) though they have new model that is less common that now does buck and boost.
                          They do not do module level MPPT. The MPPT algorithm is just down at the string level with Tigo so all the modules will be at the same voltage or lower till the amps match.

                          SolarEdge has buck/boost and MPPT on every optimizer so every PV module will be at IT's optimal MPP and then the optimizer will reduce or increase the voltage on the inverter side to make sure the inverter has the voltage it wants.
                          OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

                            And perhaps conversely, good installers don't necessarily appreciate it when solar ignorant customers inconsiderately waste other's time by nit picking things they think are problems that are well within ordinary parameters.
                            really good installers would have a little education of what to expect or a third party to deal with customers directly to insure there is no wasting of time.
                            OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

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