Bridging the gap between green energy and digital life
The benefits of residential solar panels are well known, but what about the technology around them? A Wi-Fi enabled inverter will upgrade your solar power experience so if you’re considering solar panels for your home, here’s everything you need to know about solar Wi-Fi inverters.
What is a solar Wi-Fi inverter?
A solar inverter equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity allows seamless integration with your home network, providing real-time insights into the performance of your solar panels through a dedicated app or website.
This eliminates the need to manually check the inverter screen for the status of your solar panels, and offers more comprehensive feedback compared to the limited information displayed on the screen. It’s more of a smart device type
Monitoring the performance of your solar panels is a key aspect of harnessing the benefits of solar energy. It provides valuable insights into energy production, cost savings, and ensures timely detection of any potential issues. Given that solar panels represent a long-term investment, maintaining their efficiency is paramount.
Traditionally, checking your solar panel system involved inspecting the inverter screen to gauge energy production and identify any error codes or faults. While manageable for inverters located in easily accessible areas, it could be inconvenient if the inverter was not part of your daily route.
In recent years, the popularity of solar inverters with Wi-Fi monitoring has surged. This innovation allows you to connect your inverter to your Wi-Fi network, enabling the seamless display of data on your smartphone or PC. This method not only eliminates the need to physically check the inverter screen but also offers a more user-friendly experience, leveraging the larger screens of smartphones or computers for efficient data presentation.
What the monitoring will tell you
Your inverter Wi-Fi monitoring will essentially display all the data that can be captured from your inverter. What this means is, it can display anything that is running through it – so anything associated with your solar panels production, including performance, is broken down into different categories. It will not display how you are using electricity though, as this is nothing to do with the inverter.
To measure your electricity use, you will need a separate device that is installed in your switchboard. This device is often referred to as a smart meter, consumption meter or export meter. Installing one of these will allow you to measure how you are using energy in your home, which can help save more money moving forward.
While some people will want to check in-depth information on a daily basis, others will simply set up alerts for faults and issues. It’s just about what works best for you.
Setting up Wi-Fi monitoring
You do not need to have Wi-Fi monitoring set up for your solar panels to perform properly, but it will allow you to keep an eye on them without looking at your inverter all the time.
The accuracy of your solar monitoring is guaranteed, as it simply measures the current flowing through cables. Common dashboards provide real-time data showcasing the instantaneous energy production or consumption. Additionally, they feature charts illustrating daily, monthly and annual figures. While the live data is nearly real-time, the information on the charts is generally updated hourly, with a 10-minute lag at the conclusion of each hour.
These days, nearly all solar inverters offer Wi-Fi monitoring, with a variety of dashboards and apps on offer. As a result, most brands have removed the screens on their inverters as most users prefer to monitor their systems via dashboards and apps.
This may sound obvious, but you will need to have Wi-Fi available to your inverter, something that is often overlooked when deciding where to put the inverter. This may be an issue if your home is large, or there are barriers between the modem and the inverter, so keep this in mind when deciding where to place the inverter (or modem). You can also use boosters to get the signal all the way to your inverter.
You’ll need to have a reliable internet connection to make the most of your solar Wi-Fi. If you have a household of more than two people and other parts of your home are smart (smart devices), you’ll probably want at least an NBN 100 plan. This should keep your smart devices functioning optimally, as well as allowing you to stream, download and game as you require.
If your Wi-Fi signal reaches your inverter, then set up will be pretty easy. Every inverter brand has a different set-up process, but they will offer step-by-step instructions and your installer should also be able to help.
If you change your modem, Wi-Fi provider or any other hardware related to your internet connection, like VOIP, you may have to go through the set-up process again. But as a general rule, once you’re set up, the Wi-Fi monitoring should just run smoothly in the background as long as you have a consistent Wi-Fi signal.
Marshall Thurlow is Director and Founder of Orion Marketing Pty Ltd. He is a digital marketer with expertise in SEO, website design, content marketing and project management. With over 15 years of experience spanning government, not-for-profit and the private sector, he is well equipped to lead teams to success. He is a big proponent of environmental sustainability, critical thinking and progressive issues.