Solar Update: July 2008, SunPower’s Beta Program

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    Horizon Energy Systems truck on our driveway. This was the company that installed our solar system. They were back to install the additional equipment for the Sunpower solar monitoring beta program.

    Sometimes I wonder if technology makes us more productive, or allows us to procrasinate just a little longer.

    A couple of weeks ago, Clint and I were invited by Horizon Energy Systems to be part of their Sunpower beta solar monitoring program for residential customers. We had written about our experience with Horizon Energy Systems previously when they first installed our system. The beta program includes installation of a wireless communications component that hooks into our inverter and transmits energy production information to two clients: a web site and a LCD wireless display panel.

    The benefit of a solar monitoring system beside being ultra-cool is that one can get a status of the production level of the system remotely, from anywhere with internet connection. With the web client, I can be anywhere and still report on the latest statistics of our system.

    Yet I am two days late with my usual month-end report.

    The problem is there is another nifty feature to this monitoring system; the ability, like on Yahoo or Google Finance, to go back in time and see the production yield of a given hour, day or year. Prior to this, I had to record the numbers from the inverter that particular day or forever lose the data. It is this feature that allowed me not to sweat it when it became clear to me this past Thursday as I was touring some government customer sites that I would be too busy to write a blog entry.

    Maybe this piece of technology did enable me to procrasinate just a little bit, or maybe it allowed me to have my cake and eat it too. Seeing the government agency sites gave me some wonderful insights, and now I have my solar update completed as well.

     

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    Month of July daily production profile as of July 14. There is a dip on July 14 as that was the day Horizon Energy Systems came to install the monitoring system.


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    Installing the wireless communication component which is left of the original inverter that was installed. Right side plants are part of my “suburban garden” which some of you may know about if you follow this blog.


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    Close up of the wireless communication component (left) and the inverter (right).


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    Shawn from Horizon Energy System getting the account set up on Sunpower’s side. In future, Sunpower would be able to know if the solar system is not working if there is a large drop in production and send someone to take a look at it before we may even know about it. Having web-clients is great…for example, if Clint and I are in some wonderful place like Loreto, we can still log-in and check on the solar production status in San Jose, California!


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    LCD panel.

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