Meters & Monitoring 101

Battery Meters
Battery-capacity meters serve as a fuel gauge for a battery bank and are an important part of any battery system, both to ensure usability and to properly maintain the battery bank. Simple battery-capacity meters read the voltage across the battery bank and determine a state of charge accordingly. More sophisticated monitoring systems also use a DC shunt to monitor charge and discharge amp-hours. In both cases, it is important that they are installed and calibrated according to manufacturer’s instructions to ensure accuracy.

AC Kilowatt-Hour Meters
These meters are like those found near a typical residential or commercial utility-service entrance and can be used to meet financing or incentive-program requirements for PV-system output metering. Be sure to verify which meters are approved by the financing provider or incentive program you are using.

Grid-Tie System Monitoring
As grid-tied solar PV systems become more popular, online monitoring is playing an increasingly important role in both residential and commercial systems. Most commercial PPA and residential leasing financiers require revenue-grade monitoring to be coupled with online reporting tools. Many incentive programs, particularly performance-based and renewable energy credit-based ones, also require accurate real-time monitoring and some form of automated reporting. Many commercial and residential customers want something they can point to when bragging about their solar PV system and an online monitoring system with a smart-phone app fits the bill nicely. Savvy installers are also finding that online monitoring enables them to be proactive in managing their brand and often pair a monitoring system with a service agreement that includes periodic cleaning and maintenance of the system. Whatever the motive, a good online monitoring system can help reinforce the value of a solar PV system for years after installation.

In addition to the proprietary monitoring offered by most inverter manufacturers, we offer a variety of solutions that work with most inverters to meet different application needs. Our monitoring partners can also set up branded solutions for your company that enable you to centrally monitor all of your installed systems while putting your brand in front of the end-users every time they view their system performance. Contact AEE Solar for details.

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