Solar-Log monitoring devices at Ecobuild UK 2012

Outlook on harvesting solar energy

It can be a costly ordeal when a photovoltaic plant malfunctions, especially if the problem is not noticed right away. The Solar-LogTM monitoring system helps reduce downtime and a loss in yield. It offers additional functions, as well, that help increase the operating efficiency of a PV plant.

True, a PV plant can also operate without monitoring. However, neither a total breakdown, nor a gradual decline in yield will be immediately detected and reported to the operator. Without monitoring, there is also no option to keep a record of solar yields. Nowadays, numerous plant operators use the monitoring system for more than detecting disturbances alone; they use the data logging function to calculate the current solar power yield or how much CO2 emissions have been cut down with electricity produced from solar energy in comparison to conventionally produced electricity.

Visualizing Energy

The data logger Solar-LogTM is an essential element of monitoring and is connected to an inverter via a data interface. Unlike other monitoring equipment that is only intended for a particular inverter producer, Solar-LogTM is compatible with most inverters available on the market. The plant data and expected yields are entered into the data logger and are continuously compared with the current plant values. If these values deviate from each other for an extended period of time, these details are sent in an error message by email or text message (SMS). The causes for a failure can vary greatly: from shading to animals nibbling on the cables, on to a total inverter breakdown. The more measurements the monitoring equipment can use, the more accurate the analysis of the error will be. For this reason, there is the option to connect additional sensors for solar radiation, wind speed or ambient temperature.

Accessing Data via Solar-LogTM WEB

There are various ways of viewing the evaluations from the monitor. The high-end module, Solar-Log1000, is equipped with a LED display panel that shows important information with graphics and tables. Connecting the Solar-LogTM to the internet and linking it to the portal Solar-LogTM WEB allows for more detailed evaluations at the comfort of your PC. Solar-LogTM WEB displays the yields graphically via an integrated web interface or an internet portal and analyzes the information. In addition, the plant data can be integrated into the operator's website or as with the benefit of a Full Service contract, one of our specialists will carry out the evaluation.

Optimizing Internal Energy Consumption

The Solar-LogTM can do more than just evaluations. For example, it is possible to optimize the proportion of locally generated power that is used for internal consumption with the help of the professional monitoring system. The data logger shows the plant's yield, as well as, the household power consumption.

Solar-LogTM Easy Installation - it's all in the name

The new "Easy Installation" firmware manages the Solar-LogTM configuration and connects the device automatically to the internet. After connecting the inverters to the data logger, "Easy Installation" analyses the devices and configures the Solar-LogTM accordingly. It then connects the Solar-LogTM to the data network or internet fully automatically. Once the internet connection is established, the data logger automatically registers itself on Solar-LogTM WEB - the internet portal for monitoring and analysing the generated yield data. The installation engineer can then complete the configuration and the personalised registration on Solar-LogTM WEB from the comfort of the office.

Solar-LogTM Sensor basic - improved monitoring quality for smaller PV systems

Solar-LogTM Sensor basic is a new solar radiation sensor which SDS has developed especially for monitoring smaller systems. "Accurately identifying small drops in performance is especially tricky with systems that have just one inverter, as there is no reference data available", explains Joerg Karwath, Managing Director for Technology at SDS. "With the solar radiation sensor we can provide the monitoring system with comparison data in order to significantly improve error detection capabilities." The sensor continually measures solar radiation and feeds the readings into the Solar-LogTM, which in turn compares the radiation value with the entire system's current yield. If the system detects a deviation from the expected value, the data logger immediately transmits an error message.

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