In 2015, microinverter manufacturer Enecsys announced it was up for sale due to “working capital” issues. More than a year and a half later, no one has bought the company, leaving owners without a way to monitor their systems. Several clever developers have created monitoring platforms to resolve this issue. We caught up with one, René Sandmann of EnecsysOutput, to learn more.
RS: In 2013 I installed a PV system on my roof in the Netherlands with microinverters from Enecsys. I have 12 solar panels with six Enecsys first-gen Duo microinverters. I chose to use microinverters because four of the panels are partially shaded. I also liked being able to monitor my system’s performance through the Enecsys app.
RS: Suddenly, in the beginning of 2015, I could not log in to the app anymore. The monitoring stopped working without my receiving any notification. I quickly searched the internet and found out that Enecsys went bankrupt and all the systems were shut down. From that moment, I had no information about the performance of my PV system. What bothered me most was that one of the inverters could stop working without me noticing.
SPW: How did you come up with the idea to create your own monitoring?
RS: Replacing the inverters was not an option for me because they worked fine. Why invest money on new inverters when there is nothing wrong? I didn’t see the lack of monitoring as a reason to replace them. I wanted to find another way.I have a background in software engineering, so with my knowledge of software development I went on searching for solutions to monitor the inverters myself. During that search, I read on forums lots of posts from people who wanted insight into the performance of their Enecsys inverters. I figured out how I could get the data from the inverters and store it to get insight into my own system. From my searching, I knew other Enecsys owners would be interested in my solution. So I built a monitoring website that can be used by anybody around the world with Enecsys first-gen inverters and an Enecsys gateway. With this solution I hope to help a lot of owners of Enecsys inverters get insight into their PV system performance again.
SPW: How many other people are using your platform?
RS: My system is collecting data from more then 1,200 inverters at this moment. The feedback I get is overwhelming. People are happy that they have insight into their system again. An alert function in the monitor informs owners automatically when an inverter suddenly stops sending information.And while a broken inverter isn’t something you want, people are happy to know something is wrong so that they can take actions to fix it.
RS: There are other solutions for monitoring Enecsys inverters, but as far as I know none provide users insight into their solar system again as clearly and quickly as EnecsysOutput. There is no need to send me any information about the system before users can get up and running. The user has full control in creating and activating an account. EnecsysOutput is also a 100% cloud solution. In comparison with some other solutions, this means that you don’t have to install software on a computer or other hardware.
RS: At this moment the monitor is still in open beta phase, so I am testing all functionality to remove critical errors. During this phase it is free to create an account. When the monitoring platform is mature enough and I am pretty convinced that it works for all users, I will ask for a small annual fee. I’m hoping to move out of the beta phase somewhere in the third quarter of this year. After this move, all new users will get a free period of 30 days to see if the monitor is what they expect. For all existing users, the so called early adopters, there will be an extended free period of six months.I am also working on an app. I hope to release the initial version in the fourth quarter of this year or early 2017. I also have plans to make the website multi-lingual. I also plan on having a monthly newsletter to inform users about their system’s performance. Most important is that users get insight into the performance of there Enecsys inverters again.