Energy Monitoring

Energy-Graph
If you’re thinking of installing a solar power system or considering battery storage for an exisiting system then power monitoring is a very effective way of accurately estimating how much solar you can use or how much battery storage you need. Without accurate power data you’re just taking a guess. It might be an educated guess but the cost of a power monitoring system will easily offset the cost of over or under estimating your power needs and trying to cover them with solar or batteries.

A decent power monitoring system will provide you with an online graph of how much power you’re using and at what time of the day it’s being used. With this data you can see your actual power usage and solar generation and compare the two. Some systems even show battery usage - as the above Enphase graph shows. Power usage for the day is shown in orange. Solar generation is shown in Blue. Battery charging is shown in green. Battery discharge is shown in red. This person knows exactly what their system is doing.

Monitoring options.
If you have an existing solar power system ask your installer if power monitoring can be added. Most recent systems can have optional devices added to enable power monitoring facilities.

If you have an Enphase micro inverter system that was installed in the last few years the power monitoring facility will already be there. It may just require an internet connection to get the info to you. Ask your installer. See -
Enphase Envoy. Approx $640 + install costs.

If you own a system with an SMA inverter you can usually add another SMA devise to give full online power monitoring. See
Sunny Home Manager 2.0. Approx $950 + install costs.
This unit also becomes the control centre if you add SMA battery storage to your system.

Another option is Solar Analytics. This is the bees knees of power monitoring. This Australian company will actively monitor your solar power system and let you know if there are any problems. Highly recommended. See
Solar Analytics. Bunya Solar installs these devices. Prices start from $380 + $60 for one years subscription + install costs. Other subscription rates are available from monthly to life time offers.

If you’re after a cheap option consider Effergy. See -
Effergy Engage. Approx $250 for Solar model. Easy install but you’ll probably need an electrician to do the scary bits.
The accuracy is not as good as the above options but it does a reasonable job. It does need a direct wired connection to your modem though.

There are many more options out there so take a look.