Which inverter monitoring platform is best for you, and your customers?

Just as more consumers expect Bluetooth to come standard in cars, solar professionals expect monitoring to come standard with inverters. To stay competitive, manufacturers have responded with their own monitoring platforms, which have become an essential part of the value proposition for their residential and commercial solutions.

Here’s a look at some of the free residential and commercial monitoring platforms offered by the inverter brands our Top Solar Contractors said they used the most.

Platform: Enphase MyEnlighten and Enlighten Manager
Available through: Web browser and app
Compatible models: All Enphase microinverters

For solar professionals: Enlighten Manager streamlines O&M and allows users to manage multiple systems. Users can remotely diagnose and prioritize maintenance, view module-level performance, receive automatic emails when performance is affected and compare actual and modeled system performance.

For consumers: MyEnlighten lets homeowners track their energy use and production, monitor their systems’ health and share their data with family and friends. The platform lets customers relate their solar investment to their utility bill by presenting information in kWh.

Both platforms integrate Enphase consumption metering and storage, making it easy for installers to assess systems. Enphase also offers a free Installer Toolkit app to help installers commission systems quickly and easily.

Installer insight: “The logic of the site is well-designed and easy to navigate for production reports, power output and diagnostic tools for communication and device discovery. The client kiosk view offers customers an easy layout for viewing their system with simple tabs for various actions. What makes Enphase different is the ability to offer total access to the information junkie who wants to monitor their investment in a detailed way. Some installers have said they think this is a double-edged sword, but we feel it’s a great way for those who really want to understand the production capabilities of their system. All in all, this is a great tool.” – Robert Petrosky, vice president of Alien Fuel in Pennsylvania.

 

Platform: Fronius Solar.web
Available through: Web browser and app
Compatible models: Fronius Galvo, Primo and Symo string inverters

For solar professionals: Fronius Solar.web provides an overview of all systems under an installer’s account. It provides remote diagnostics and alerts such as email notifications when inverters are underperforming. It also lets installers view state codes remotely to determine whether a truck roll is necessary. The ability to remotely update inverters further eliminates O&M complexity and cost.

For consumers: Fronius Solar.web also provides users with an overview of their system including features such as real-time and archived performance data, analysis of their energy consumption (with use of the Fronius Smart Meter) and more.

Fronius is also working on a subscription-based version of Solar.web with added features and capabilities.

Installer insight: “We like the simplicity of Fronius Solar.web to set up and monitor our customers’ facilities. We also like having the ability to log-in and run reports for specific time periods on a given facility. With the app, customers enjoy not having to go to a website and type in login information every time they want to check on their system to see how much power they are producing.” -Derek Dykes, project manager at Green Street Solar in Delaware

 

Platform: SMA Sunny Portal
Available through:
Web browser and app
Compatible models: Sunny Boy-US, Sunny Tripower TL-US and the Sunny Tripower 60-US lines of inverters

For solar professionals: Sunny Portal provides central management for all customer and plant data. The installer can configure automated emails to provide the system owner with production reports or get automated error reports. Sunny Portal also offers module-level data when used with SMA’s Power+ Solution, which includes its Sunny Boy US string inverter and Tigo power optimizers.

For consumers: The solar installer can add access for the system owner to use the Sunny Portal. The owner will typically have user-level access, which means they will see the same information as the installer, but they cannot change settings or add users.

SMA is working on a new option called Sunny Portal Professional Package, a fee-based add-on for installers and plant managers overseeing multiple systems.

Installer insight: “Sunny Portal can help customers identify a problem with their system before they get an unexpected electric bill. Customers have remarked that they like having the phone app to show friends and neighbors the energy their system is producing.” – Bryan Walsh, owner of Solar Connexion in Virginia

 

Platform: SolarEdge monitoring platform
Available through:
Web browser and app
Compatible models: All SolarEdge inverters

For solar professionals: SolarEdge’s platform provides PV performance monitoring through fault detection and alerts at the module, string and system levels. The platform includes features such as analytics tracking and reports of energy yield, system uptime and financial performance and remote troubleshooting to minimize site visits. As soon as the system is connected to the monitoring platform, installers can also generate a commissioning report remotely or onsite to verify proper installation.

For consumers: System owners can view production and consumption. The installer is able to open the monitoring platform to system owners to include more features if requested.

Installer insight: “Setting up the site is easy and technical support is readily available if necessary. Site information can be customized with pictures and site specific information about each customer. The graphics are nice, and power production graphs and reports are easy to access and understand. User friendly!” -Danny Polk, field operations manager at Solar Energy World in Maryland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. DC Long says:

    A second consumption channel for the EV charging is needed.
    Customers want to charge car direct ie. PV2V PV to Vehicle.
    SMA is only game in town. Ready for what’s coming? NG shortfall or hurricane?
    Forget the vanishing Powewall, Use a fraction of Car Battery!
    Customers are willing to drive 10 mph slower.
    What’s wrong with these people? Don’t they want to sell Inverters?

  2. I would like to monitor my own system & gather stats, however, I have no intention whatsoever of making the info on my home energy generation and use available to any company, or anyone on the internet. I would rather monitor daily current generation with an old glass power meter than to put it out into the ether.

    Currently, I have a system that monitors locally only (Enecsys), however, I plan to replace it with an APSystems uinverters because I want grid tie AND off grid capability in the same system. I will not be buying the APSystems monitoring system – to public (info), and the cost is way too high for what it is.

    Thx!
    Mik

  3. Where is Optics-RE and Conext Insight?

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