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Some solar owners have no idea how much there solar is producing, or if it is working at all.
According to the clean energy council almost 1.25 million small-scale solar power systems were installed across the country by the end of 2013, meaning that around 3.1 million Australians now live or work beneath a set of solar panels. But how do any of these homeowners actually know if their solar is working?
Solar power is the most beneficial investments that a homeowner can make to power there home, however the type of system and monitoring ability can make a dramatic difference.
Once solar has been added to a rooftop the biggest assumption made by solar owners is that now they can set and forget. This actually couldn’t be further fro m the truth with rates of DC solar related fires, system failures, and panel damage skyrocketing. Some of the more common problems owners are facing is what is called performance downtime. This is caused by failures due to product defects or malfunctions, poor installation and environmental effects such as high grid voltage, thunder storms etc. These issues all contribute to thousands of solar systems throughout Australia not performing to their maximum potential, a problem that is most likely unknown to the owners. An American study last year actually highlighted this issue and found that 54 of 255 homes experienced issues, lowering the output and production of their system.
According to Brisbane Solar Company REA Solar’s director Michael Mrowka, all solar owners should ask themselves the questions:
How do you know your system is working correctly?
How do you know if you have a solar panel failure?
Mrowka said it is difficult to answer these questions when you have a conventional DC solar system installed. You can only see the overall performance of the system at the inverter, so if one panel is not working correctly and dragging down the whole system performance there will be massive losses and system downtime will go unnoticed. Home owners need to realize the importance of being able to monitor their system, and see that their solar production actually meets the KWh that it was sought out or expected to do. This is why it is so important to purchase solar that monitors solar and identifies that the amount of production is correct.
With Australia’s willingness to ship in all qualities of from around the world, there is an increasing push for solar buyers to really consider the types of systems they are buying, and how they are monitoring them after install.
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