Do I need to be technical to use solar?

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Has this ever happened to you?

You’ve bought something. You’re excited to take it home and try it out.

But over time, turns out it’s way more hassle than you thought… all this maintenance you need to do… extra costs start popping up here and there… things start breaking…

Sound familiar?

So, is the same going to happen with solar?

Let’s explore it, shall we?

So first things first… after getting solar, do you actually need to do anything to use the power?

Well. Sort of.

Let us explain…

Thanks to your smart meter, the whole process of using electricity from your solar panels and selling any excess electricity to the grid is automatic. So you get to carry on as normal, but now you get the benefit of knowing you’re using the sun to power your home. Pretty satisfying, right?

And better yet, you don’t actually need to do much maintenance. Yes, really.

How come?

Well, if your panels are tilted, they actually clean themselves each time it rains. Phew.

Imagine if everything was like that!

But you said, sort of? So, are there some things I’ll need to do?

Though solar panels are pretty hassle-free it’s a good idea to periodically check in and see if your system is working.

Why?

Well, because the process is so automatic, if something goes wrong, you might only notice when your electricity bill arrives… Ouch.

Checking your system periodically can help you prevent any unwanted surprises and deal with any issues early.

So how can you monitor?

Well, all systems come with some form of monitoring which you can use to check how much electricity is being produced.

How smart this technology is, depends on the inverter you choose. Some are able to show you how much electricity is produced by the panels overall, while others are able to drill down into each panel (microinverters or DC optimisers allow you to do this). Check out the below pic for an example of what monitoring can show you.

Monitoring can show you how much electricity is being produced at any given moment and also the total amount produced in a day. Source: Fronius

And you can pay extra to get more advanced monitoring. This type of monitoring even shows you how much electricity you’re using, and provides you with automatic alerts, if anything goes wrong. Check out this example.

Advanced monitoring which shows you how much electricity your panels are producing (yellow) and how much electricity you’re using (in purple and red). Source: Solar Analytics

Choosing the best one for you depends on your needs. If you don’t mind setting yourself a reminder every week or so to check your system is working, the more basic monitoring systems will probably work fine. But, if you truly want to forget about the system and want additional features such as seeing how much electricity you’re using too – then the more advanced system might be better.

How do you know what type you’re getting?

Ask your installer. They’ll be able to provide an overview of what type of monitoring is included with your system, and can provide options if you want to upgrade to more advanced monitoring.

And if in doubt, you’re always welcome to contact us.

So, that’s it for today. Tomorrow, we discuss what type of homes are best suited for solar. Will it be yours? Stay tuned.