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Perform Your Own Solar Energy Audit with a Data Logger
Original Press Release
Perform Your Own Solar Energy Audit with a Data Logger
Press release date: July 1, 2014
Accsense Electrocorder Kit Records and Analyzes the Data
CHESTERLAND OH —
As summer begins, solar panel installers and servicers can realize significant benefit from using a performance verification method proving to clients that the promised savings are really there. Alternately if you're the owner of one of these systems and you're looking to prove savings to qualify for grants or for data to give your financiers, a solar data logger is a low-cost way to record your system's wattage capacity and compare it against what the installer claimed. With our solar dataloggers, you can perform your own solar energy audit to help your facility qualify for a rebate program or to find savings areas on your existing installations. Our Accsense Electrocorder product family has an ideal solution containing everything you need to record and analyze this data—the PV-3 Solar Data Logger. Used by installers, homeowners, and renewable energy companies to check their PV (photo voltaic) installations, these devices measure and record Solar Irradiance and DC Voltage/DC Current, allowing users to check the efficiencies of their solar panels over various periods of time. For detailed analysis Electrosoft software is included with the datalogger and enables you to input the area of the system along with the panel efficiency, and thus calculate and compare the actual solar energy input versus the actual output.
Recording Solar Energy:
To monitor DC Current/Voltage produced by the solar panel, the PV-3 has one DC voltage input channel (300Vdc), one DC current input channel (+/-100A) and one pyranometer input recording solar irradiation up to 1,500W/m2 (watts per square meter). Specifically designed for logging data from Solar Photovoltaic installations for performance assessment, the data logger compares the solar energy with the DC electrical output of the installed PV system. The data logger can accurately monitor one or two DC voltage channels from 1V to 60Vdc, allowing users to view PV (photovoltaic) cell output and see voltage and current curves during the day. The datalogger records PV systems with an output of up to 300V Vdc and up to 100A current. The EC-CP100 DC current probe has two ranges +/-10A and +/-100A. The optional EC-CP305 DC current probe has two ranges: +/-30A and +/-300A.
When recording, the data logger will store the average voltage (and current if applied) over the period chosen (from 1 sec to 60 min), and will also record the VAvg, VMax & VMin on 2 channels. To zero in on the data, all voltage levels are stored with dates and times.
Our new solar energy recording kit is an unbeatable value for the price, including everything you need for monitoring solar panel efficiency. You'll get:
The solar datalogger itself;
2 fused voltage input leads;
a Pyranometer to measure Solar Irradiance;
a DC current probe;
a USB lead for connection to PC;
an External 12Vdc PSU for prolonged datalogging without batteries;
…and ElectroSoft analysis software to view and printout the data.
The datalogger is rated at IP65 for reliable outdoor and indoor use and can continue to record for up to 300 days or 4 weeks using its backup battery. Setting up the solar auditor is easy even for semi-technical staff. Using the included Windows software, users just input the location's details into the unit's memory. Data is stored in the DC power logger's non-volatile memory with a capacity of 32,000 TRMS voltage values per channel (10 bit), providing continuous recording for extended periods.
Electrocorder software is provided FREE along with the kit. Stored data is uploaded to a PC via the supplied USB cable where users can view the recorded voltage levels, dates and times in both tabular and graphical form, export them to a spreadsheet, or save them to file. Users can also print out graphs showing the recorded levels and the allowable tolerance bands as proof of actual system performance. Electrosoft also provides an internal database which effectively manages the distribution of multiple units.
Using the logger kit you can also find savings in other areas including monitor charging circuits and DC motors, and you can utilize many other voltage optimization and submetering techniques.
Check out how easy it is to use Accsense Electrocorder loggers on our YouTube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdLcVq2BE_M
You can also see how easy our Electrosoft software is for first-time users: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=665iP_mQiJg
Solar PhotoVoltaic Auditing
A solar photovoltaic (PV) installation is an energy conversion system which takes solar radiation and converts it first to DC voltage and current, then converts it to AC voltage and current using its inverter. This energy can then be used on site and/or exported to the power grid. The main efficiencies (or inefficiencies) in the overall system are the efficiency of the PV cells--typically 15% to 18%--and the inverter--typically better than 95%. Overall system efficiencies vary from 14% to 17%. Inverter efficiencies usually don't vary much over time, but can be adversely affected by ambient temperature, so positioning them in cool places can help. The main concern is the efficiency of the PV cells which can also vary with temperature and poor optical transmission (dirt, etc.) The panels can also have individual cell failures within.
However, these PV cell inefficiencies are very difficult to detect since the energy output of the system can fluctuate from day to day, depending on cloud cover, sun angle (changing seasonally), ambient temperature, and shading (seasonal). Metrological data and records allow you to predict the output of a solar system, but once the system is in place and you've begun noticing performance issues, a data logger allows you to actually compare the efficiencies of your system.
The advantage of Accsense Electrocorder products over competitors is that these data loggers constantly sample information on every channel 16 times per cycle, i.e. sampling every 16 milliseconds. Many other products only record 'snapshots' of what is going on and can miss 99.9% of the data that is critical to your overall analysis. Meanwhile at the end of each averaging period, the Accsense Electrocorder logger saves 3 quantities for each channel: the TRMS average; the Max, which is the highest cycle value during the period, and the Min, the lowest cycle value. This means that it will record all the peaks and valleys of one cycle or longer to show you the most important data and see the whole picture.
For more information on our Accsense Electrocorder Solar Data Logger, other Accsense Electrocorder power and voltage/current loggers, or to find the ideal solution for your application-specific needs, contact a CAS Data Logger Applications Specialist at (800) 956-4437 or visit the website at www.DataLoggerInc.com.
CAS DataLoggers, Inc.
12628 Chillicothe Road Chesterland, Ohio 44026