So you've made the decision to install Solar PV on your roof! Excellent. Now make sure you spend the extra money (usually a small fraction of the system cost) to install a monitoring solution to go with your system!
I mentioned in Monitoring Intro how important power monitoring is to get a grasp of how your home uses energy. It is just as important to monitor any energy you produce for the same reasons! Not only do you get an intuitive feel for how your system performs, but you're also able to see if the system is malfunctioning. Without a monitoring system in place, there is no way to "see" the power an alternative energy system produces.
If a panel gets damaged by hail or covered up by some debris you might not know it unless you have monitoring equipment. Or if your installer guaranteed a certain performance, there is no way to check if they are living up to that guarantee without monitoring equipment.
One of the most popular brands of Solar PV panels are made by Sunpower and they have one of the slickest residential monitoring platforms I've seen. They allow you to monitor three ways:
- online display
- sleek wall-mounted system
- I-Phone Application
How cool would it be to be able to pull out your I-phone and see what your panels are producing. I would be showing that thing off to everyone I met!