Kaco recently released a more affordable monitoring option—the WatchDog ($400)—which can monitor up to three inverters. The WatchDog mounts inside the new 02 Series inverters and is connected to an onsite Internet router. Users can access power output along with hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and annual energy production graphs on the Blueplanet Web portal.
Power One offers the Aurora Easy Control hardware for onsite, PC-based system monitoring in either Pro (MSRP: $1,300), Basic ($1,200), or Light ($700) versions. The Pro version has four sensor inputs and can monitor up to 31 inverters, while the Basic has one sensor input and can monitor up to 31 inverters. The Light version has one sensor input and can monitor up to five inverters. Options include irradiance, ambient and module temperature, and wind speed sensors. The PC-based Communicator monitoring software shows daily power output, along with daily, monthly, yearly, and lifetime energy production.
PV Powered’s PVM 1010 data-monitoring module (MSRP: $399) mounts inside the inverter—one per inverter. When connected to the Internet, PV Powered offers free online monitoring at MyPVPower.com. Information displayed includes current system output power (and regional weather conditions), daily kWh production, and system lifetime energy production. Hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly graphs of voltage versus power output are also accessible. Comparing historical trends is as easy as selecting a date range to export detailed data in a spreadsheet format.
SMA America offers the Sunny WebBox (MSRP: $675) that can monitor up to 50 inverters. The hardware is external and connects to the inverter via a required RS485 card ($150). Also available is the Sunny Sensor box ($520), which comes with an internal irradiance sensor and external module temperature sensors (optional sensors include ambient temperature and wind speed).
Data is accessed via the free SMA Sunny Portal Internet site. Online displays include daily power curves and daily, monthly, annual, and lifetime energy production graphs.
Solectria Renewables has Internet-based system monitoring using the Solrenview Gateway hardware, which handles up to 16 inverters. They offer a few different monitoring options, including inverter-direct and revenue-grade energy production packages. Also offered for the commercial industry are building energy demand, subarray monitoring, and weather station packages. All monitoring packages are accessed via the Solrenview Web site.