While high-tech tools are cool, they do come at a cost. Retrofitting an existing system with module-level monitoring requires purchasing the DC-to-DC converters (one for each module), which range from $50 to $140 per unit; and, sometimes, communications hardware (about $600). You may also have to pay annual fees for accessing the data online. On new systems, microinverters or DC-to-DC converters can be installed from the get-go, which may or may not increase system cost. (But be sure to factor in online data access fees.)
On the flip side, there is much movement between these companies and PV module manufacturers to offer “smart modules,” which provide an integrated solution at a projected lower cost.
Diagnostic tools such as the PV Analyzer and infrared cameras are used by professional installers for troubleshooting installations and providing evidence for warranty claims. Even then, it’s typically only those installers who deal with large arrays on a regular basis who will be willing—or able—to shell out the bucks for these top-notch diagnostic tools.