Third-party monitoring providers, such as Deck Monitoring (now part of AlsoEnergy), Draker, eGauge, Locus Energy, and Solar-Log, offer options to monitor common inverters for systems small or large. For multiple systems monitoring, as an installer might need, choosing a third-party monitoring system means that different inverter brands can be monitored from the same Web portal, potentially saving time and making the installation and programming learning curve less steep. Hardware costs can range from hundreds to many thousands of dollars, depending on the PV system’s size and data granularity desired. For smaller PV systems (less than 10 kW and up to 30 kW), third-party Web portal access may be free.
Deck Monitoring, Locus Energy, and Solar-Log all offer a residential revenue-grade energy meter with a cellular uplink, so no on-site Internet connection is necessary. The meter has inputs for direct communication with inverters and transmits data to the third-party’s hosted and customized Web portal.
eGauge and Solar-Log offer options for monitoring building energy consumption and PV production. The eGauge power meter can monitor up to 12 electrical circuits, and a building’s total electrical consumption, solar generation, and load consumption. With its built-in server, the data can be viewed by any browser. Data is updated as quickly as every second, and the device can record up to 30 years of data in its built-in memory.
Solar-Log’s 300 model can monitor multiple inverters up to 15 kW. Small appliances can be monitored individually with networked “smart-plug” devices, and two optional external electric meters can add metering capacity. A wireless model is available for connecting the Solar-Log to a WiFi network and the Solar-Log WEB portal provides basic monitoring free for systems 30 kW or less.