Solar panels are much more exciting during the purchase phase than when they are finally installed.
I remember during the selection and design process, there was a flurry of emails and website surfing to try to understand the best options for the limited roof space we have on our home. And then there were the sketches of the actual panels on the roof space and the solar consultant who came out and with a set of tools measured the angle of the roof line and the direction of the various roof planes.
However, once installed, solar panels are the low maintenance, silent type. At least that is what you hope, no news is good news.
Yet human nature is complex. We want to be able to measure or get some sort of feedback. We are social creatures and like to project this desire even on inanimate objects…like solar panels. So, in conjunction with the installation of the solar panels, we also installed the Sunpower monitoring system which has a component connecting to the inverter that transmits solar energy information to our display unit in the home and also to the Sunpower monitoring system.
This past Thursday, Sunpower improved the interface and usability of is online monitoring website. The new solar energy management tools is much more dynamic and also allows you to quickly mouse over parts of the graph to get a read of the solar generation by hour, day or month. You can also download the files into a .csv file to import into Excel so that you can analyze the information further.
Along with a refresh of the online tools, Sunpower also announced the availability of an iPhone app which I will need to try out.