Solect Service Advisories

managing demand

What is Demand Monitoring?

Energy Demand monitoring provides customers with direct, real-time insight into their building’s electrical usage, which highlight’s opportunities to adjust energy usage to reduce expensive demand charges on your bill.  Customers have found demand monitoring a simple way to confirm the usage found on their utility bills to ensure accurate charges. With this data, you will also have the information you need to make investment decisions on future energy management technologies.

Demand monitoring is made up of an integrated data logger and one or multiple sensors throughout your building which captures your electricity usage and provides you access through the cloud to view on your favorite device.

Demand Monitoring and Solar

The above chart shows a prime example of a solar array that despite producing most or all of the building’s mid-day consumption, may not be reducing monthly peak demand charges. Peak demand charges are what the utility charges based on the peak power demand from your building at a moment in time, which are in addition to the energy you consume over each month on most commercial rates. This building in the chart would be a perfect fit for a solar plus storage solution, so that it could store the extra energy produced during the day for use during peak periods. The new SMART solar program in Massachusetts has incentives for installing new solar paired with storage, which make the economics very attractive in many cases.

In our efforts to go beyond simply installing solar, demand monitoring is now a standard upgrade offering for every solar system that Solect Energy is currently designing and building.

Our goal is to help our customers effectively manage their energy costs and demand monitoring is a key component of achieving that goal.

KEEPING DRAINS CLEAR

With the storms that have come through New England recently as well as leaves falling from trees, now is the time to check your roof drains to ensure they are not clogged. Debris left on the roof can result in standing water and possible roof leaks that can damage your building.

Below is an example of what can happen when regular drain maintenance is not performed:

clogged roof drain-1

If solar components are submerged or exposed to standing water it could result in a system failure. Furthermore, clogged drains lead to ice damming come winter, and the potential for bigger, structural issues. Conducting regular debris inspections and removal from the roof, and checking to make sure all drains are free-flowing is a straightforward procedure, however, it is critical to ensure the long-term health of your roof and solar array.

Internet Connectivity

Solect is monitoring your solar system every day. The internet connection is critical to ensure we always have visibility to the performance of your system.  Please keep in mind as well that your solar inverters are communicating specific alerts to Solect that help us determine a specific issue with your system. Our most frequent service call is related to internet connectivity issues that could be prevented with you performing the following troubleshooting steps.

 

 

To properly reset your modem and your WiFi router:

  1. Unplug the power cord from the back of the modem and remove any batteries.
  2. Unplug the power cord from the WiFi router.
  3. Wait 30 seconds, and then reinsert any batteries and reconnect power to the modem.
  4. Allow at least 2 minutes to ensure that the reset is complete.

There are several other steps that can be taken to help prevent unnecessary truck rolls and costly expenses to fix these issues. We advise that you label your cords to ensure that a critical cord is not unplugged accidently (see image). Keeping the WiFi Cabinet clear of unnecessary debris and clean of dust will improve equipment performance.

Keep in mind that power outages from severe storms can impact internet connections. Making sure that internet connections are fully functional is critical to maintaining monitoring and reporting functions. If a problem does arise, with a fully functional internet connection, your maintenance provider will respond quickly to optimize production.

If internet connectivity continues to be an issue, a modem upgrade may be required.

Inverter Care

Inverters are designed for outdoor use, however additional measures can be taken to ensure both the longevity and performance of your inverter.  Here are tips from two of the most common inverters we support, string inverters and central inverters.

String Inverters:  Inverter manufacturers have recently recommended shade covers be sold with all of their string inverters to avoid overheating. Excessive sun on the inverters have been known to reduce the overall performance of the inverters and in some cases damage the displays on the inverter making it difficult to read and support.   

 

 

Central Inverters:For central inverters that are installed outside next to a building, we recommend our customers protect these systems from direct sun as well.  The inverter cover featured here not only protects the inverter from the sun, but also from falling ice. It also has built-in bollards that protect the inverters from ground oriented threats such as car traffic. 

 

 

 

Inverters are one of the most important components of your Solar system. As the industry evolves, best practices are emerging that help extend the life and performance of this crucial hardware. Solect is here to be your solar asset partner helping you achieve the highest possible return on your Investment by keeping you up-to-date on the latest best practices in solar maintenance.