A new type of solar meter is emerging on the market, promising to bring the simplicity and affordability of traditional solar energy readers, while at the same time providing a wealth of valuable data.
A number of vendors now offer products that allow users to easily generate meter readings without the need for an expert installer. As a result, homeowners and small businesses can now reap the benefits of solar power without having to worry about the complexities of setting up a traditional photovoltaic system.
What type of data could this new type of solar meter provide? Let’s have a look.
Intuitive Reading And Reporting
Traditional solar energy readers require the use of an advanced computer or tablet to be able to generate an accurate reading of solar power. Even then, the readings are often complicated to interpret, as the meter needs to be calibrated against known levels of solar radiation in order to provide an accurate reading.
This level of complexity often results in errors or misunderstandings on the part of the user. In contrast, the new breed of solar meters boast advanced technologies that allow for a simple and straightforward reading, along with reporting functions that make it easy for users to keep track of their power consumption and generate invoices on-the-fly.
Extensive Information About Your Solar Panel
Traditional solar energy readers only provide very limited information about the installed hardware. While their price may be attractive, their data capabilities are rather limited, especially when compared to devices that provide more information for the price of a cup of coffee.
In some cases, this lack of information can even result in a device being deemed ‘not fit for purpose’ by the vendor or manufacturer, as the device cannot provide enough information regarding its capacity to function as desired. In other words, the vendor does not guarantee that the product will function properly without an expert installer.
Including Things Like Ampere Hours
Ampere hours are one of the most useful measurements that you can get from a solar panel. It represents the total amount of energy generated by the panel in the form of electricity, over a period of time. Ampere hours are sometimes called ‘active power’, due to the fact that each hour that the sun shines has a certain amount of ‘active energy’ associated with it.
If you run a business that relies on electric appliances (such as an air-conditioning system or water heater), then you will want to purchase a solar panel with this characteristic. The reason is that you will want to know how much electricity you are using each month in order to make sure that you are not exceeding your allocated amount (based on your contract with your energy company).
Monitoring The Effect Of Time On Your Solar Panel
Traditional solar energy readers are often unable to monitor the effects of time on the hardware itself. For example, let’s say that you have a 10 kW solar panel that was installed on the roof of your house back in 2014 (this is a really high-end model that is made from premium materials, so you can be sure that the estimate is precise).
You will want to know how much energy this panel is producing each month, in order to check on the efficiency of the device. The only way to do this is to either install a special monitoring circuit that can measure the output of the panel over time, or to contact the manufacturer of the panel and have them provide you with the data. The first option is quite expensive (upwards of £500), and the second one requires a strong relationship with the vendor.
Reporting On National And European Energy Standards
Another important feature of a good solar panel is the ability to report on the standard set by different national or European energy agencies. Different countries and utility companies can have different definitions of what constitutes a ‘solar day’ (for instance, some might call a cloudy day a ‘solar day’ even if it doesn’t contribute to producing electricity, while others might not).
It is often difficult to find out which agency’s definition of a solar day you should be using, so it would be wise to purchase a device that can provide you with this information directly.
Additional Benefits Of A Good Solar Meter
Apart from the obvious fact that you no longer have to depend on unsustainable energy sources, there are a number of other benefits that you can receive from a solar meter. Chief among these is the fact that it can provide you with data regarding the performance of your solar power system.
If you are the type of person who looks at electricity bills on a monthly basis (and who isn’t, really?), then keeping track of your system’s efficiency is quite easy. Simply consult your bill to see how much electricity you are using, and how much it should be costing you. In most cases, you will want to check that your meter is recording accurate data. Inaccurate meters can result in incorrect readings and, in turn, incorrect bills. You don’t want that, now do you?
On the other hand, if you are looking for a way to invest in energy-saving devices (such as light bulbs or shower heads), then it is quite handy to have a solar meter around. You can program your device to tell you when it detects that electricity usage has exceeded a certain level, and then you can take the appropriate action (such as changing a light bulb, or adjusting the temperature of your shower) without having to worry about whether or not you should be doing so.
You could even create a routine where you turn off certain appliances (such as your dishwasher, or the water heater) when you are away, so you do not have to worry about exceeding your allocation. Additionally, you could use a solar meter to help you track the amount of energy that you are using at any given time, so you can learn more about how much electricity you need to conserve for future use.
We are starting to see a trend where more and more people are switching to renewable energy sources, and that is because of several factors. In some cases, people want to reduce their carbon footprint (since climate change is already a problem), while in other cases, it is because of the high cost of traditional power generation. Most people, however, are trying to do their bit for the environment by using sustainable energy sources.
If you are interested in investing in energy-saving technologies, or if you want to monitor the efficiency of your existing renewable energy sources, then there are a variety of solar meters available to choose from. With all the benefits that these devices provide, it is quite apparent why more and more people are seeking to install them.