PV System Monitoring

What is a monitoring system

PV Monitoring

Photovoltaic systems are made of several technological components. Inverters play a crucial role in the system. These devices receive direct current (DC) coming from the PV modules and they transform it into alternating current (AC), which is destined to domestic and industrial use. Because the inverter is the “gathering and distribution” point of energy, it is provided with monitoring sensors for incoming/outgoing power, which are also useful for signalling any malfunction due, for example, to energy loss or failures in the electric grid. Checking daily an inverter display can be time-consuming because of the amount of data displayed. The need for simple data reading, and for a data storage system has lead to modern monitoring systems for PV plants: DATALOGGERS.

Options

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An efficient monitoring system must grant access to the data regarding the conditions of your system at anytime, anywhere. Modern technology makes it possible for us to connect to the Internet no matter where we are, and consequently we can monitor our PV systems 24/7. A PV system can be monitored in two main ways:

- Inverter and string box monitoring
- Production metre monitoring

Depending on the nature of each system, these two options can have different purposes. Inverter monitoring is normally used on medium/large size systems (more than 20 kWp) with 2 or more inverters or string boxes. It communicates directly with the inverters, and as a consequence it can spot malfunctions that may compromise the good functioning of the system. Metre monitoring is usually the best option for smaller systems with one inverter. Usually this kind of system cannot interpret errors coming from the device display. As they are placed on the metre display, they provide objective production data, the same obtained by electricity suppliers (ENEL or others). These monitoring systems are sometimes used simultaneously, and they are often paired up with environmental sensors (irradiance, temperature and wind speed) that can track the real performances of the systems. PR (Performance Ratio) is expressed in percentage terms, and it takes into account irradiance and modules’ temperature to obtain data regarding the quality of a PV system. Normally, good PV systems have a PR of 80% or more.

Why monitoring

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Monitoring your system (and your investment) is paramount to guaranteeing its performance. In case of failures or malfunctions it is necessary to step in as quickly as possible, in order to restore the convenient condition of a well-functioning PV system. With an efficient monitoring system, all the alarm messages regarding loss of performance are e-mailed or texted to the maintenance company or the owner. In this way any failure is taken care of very quickly. KRK Energy Service’s portfolio includes about 20 different monitoring systems. We have also designed a portal, KRKONTROL, which is free of charge for all our clients who subscribed to a maintenance contract.

Monitoring Special Offer

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