How can a solar system’s performance be monitored inside a home?
PV monitoring from home: How difficult is it for you to talk to your wife sitting in a train using a cell phone while you are waiting for her at the railway station? Is it any more difficult to talk to her when you are sitting in Hong Kong? Communication is so easy these days. Listening to your solar devices on the rooftop, or in a solar park continents away, is also not a problem. Only, they need to be given lips. The lips come in the form of sensors with digital output ports.
Communication means are now virtually unlimited. For distances up to 1200m, which is quite a distance for a home PV system, RS 485 based twisted pair multi-node cable communication is possible. It is to be remembered that the data rate in solar monitoring is rather low, since things change very slowly (except for a catastrophe). Another wire based possibility is via the grid, with the power cables being modulated with the data.
WiFi communication is now ubiquitous, with equipment communicating over large ranges. Both ends must be WiFi equipped and following the same communication protocols. For very short ranges, even Bluetooth is possible.
Internet provides unlimited ranges, and the possibility of getting all the information even while travelling. Although internet can provide very wide bandwidths, PV monitoring from home does not need much of it for reason already discussed. GPRS is another possibility.
At the receiving end, it is generally a computer terminal, receiving, displaying and logging. The same terminal can be used for analysis, of previous data, maintaining service records, and if necessary, for remote control of equipment. Alternatively, individual displays may be installed. This option is, however, not very popular.
Ready built systems are available to cater for all needs and desires for the right price. When buying such remote monitoring and control equipment it is very important to go for a reputed supplier. Further, you should go for a complete solution, and the system you choose must have a history of successful operation.