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Installers & partners

The Value of Energy Consumption Monitoring


12/5/2018 / USA

A solar system is usually one of the most significant investments in a homeowner‘s life, after a house and vehicle, yet many systems are not monitored.

the value of energy consumption monitoring
Give piece of mind to your customers with energy consumption monitoring

With the rise of smartphones and mobile apps, we started to monitor and keep track of many aspects of our lives. Many people start their day by looking at the weather forecast because one wants to be prepared and proactive in choosing what to wear. Everyone invested in stocks will probably track the stock market to see what the return on investment is. A step counting app helps us keep track of physical activity. Car drivers track mileage to keep fuel/energy consumption under control. And some people might even follow their sleep patterns, making sure the body runs at top performance during the day.

PV Monitoring

That's a lot of monitoring. But how about solar systems? A solar system is usually one of the most significant investments in many customers' lives, after house and car, yet many systems are not monitored. That means that system owners are left in the dark on how their solar investment performs. Often, they find out about an issue when they get a high utility bill in their mailbox months after the system stopped performing, resulting in a bad customer experience. 

As an industry, we must aim to have every system monitored online to service pro-actively, track return on investments and overall performance, just like in other areas of life. However, standard solar monitoring does not provide a holistic view of one's electricity needs and is - to be honest - quite dull. Adding more granular solar data, such as module-level data, might appeal to "techy" customers but does not add more meaning to the monitoring. Most importantly, it does not help improve the overall energy efficiency nor decrease the utility bill further. 

Know your Energy Consumption

With markets shifting towards self-consumption (using as much solar energy in your home as opposed to exporting into the grid), it is becoming more crucial to know what the actual electricity consumption looks like and to contrast that with the solar system's production. New net-metering policies and feed-in limitations will only accelerate this trend. You might have heard of the so-called Prius Effect, a phenomenon based on the Toyota Prius' real-time feedback on gasoline consumption provided on the dashboard. In many cases, this real-time feedback leads to immediate changes in driving behavior - resulting in even higher fuel efficiency. As the saying goes, you can only manage what you can measure! 

Looking at the electricity consumption in your home, the feedback and measurement that a utility bill provides is not precisely in real-time and usually not easy to understand. It does not offer any insight into your energy efficiency. In contrast, an online monitoring system that combines solar production and real-time energy consumption data, including analytics, can provide exactly that feedback. 

By doing so, solar monitoring becomes meaningful and creates real value for the system owner:

  • Real-time feedback.
  • Insights to take targeted measures towards higher energy efficiency.
  • Data for tailor-fit storage and more 

Furthermore, this data builds the foundation for the solar installer for future energy efficiency measures, new lighting, more efficient HVAC, smart thermostats, home automation, or battery storage.  This enables tailor-fit solutions based on actual data instead of one-size-fits-all solutions that might be ineffective for a customer's specific needs. By doing so, the solar installer evolves to the home owner's energy consultant - making a solar sale the start of a relationship, not just the closing of a deal. 

The Fronius Way

At Fronius, we can show you how to add energy consumption capabilities to a solar system easily. With tools like the Fronius Smart Meter, a bi-directional energy meter, and Fronius Solar.web, you'll obtain a detailed overview of energy consumption within a home or business. The Fronius Smart Meter is compatible with the Fronius Galvo, Fronius Primo, and Fronius Symo.