It’s common knowledge that a solar energy system consists of more than just simple solar panels. Without the assistance and backing of many other equally useful components such as solar batteries, solar charge controller, solar panels, etc. free power will always remain a future thing. One of the components we often fail to acknowledge and pay its due credit to is a solar module’s meter.
Reading solar meter is essential in the case of you are suffering from high electricity bill but there are plenty of causes too behind electricity bill. In this article, we will be going into detail about solar meters. We will highlight what they are, their function, and everything in between. If you have been looking for a solar meter reading guide, this might be for you! Reading solar meters is not an arduous task, but it does require a little practice. Let’s first see what a solar meter is!
What is A Solar Meter?
Solar meters are essentially the link to your solar investment. They convey how much your system produces power, how much energy you consume, and how much energy is still yet to be bought from the utility. A solar meter is a device that aptly measures solar power or sunshine in “W/m2”. It can be used to check the efficacy of windows or while installing solar power equipment.
Solar meters usually collect PV yield output and local energy usage to monitor and assess the PV plant performance. It offers a monitoring feature that lets plant owners know about concerns regarding the PV plant performance, in turn allowing the issues to be swiftly fixed and the ROI to be optimized.
Before knowing how to read solar meters, the next thing to know is how solar meters work.
How Does A Solar Meter Work?
Conventional electricity meters usually detect energy flowing in a single direction, i.e., from the grid to the house. Solar meters, however, are bi-directional, which means they can track how much power the home exports to the grid.
Solar energy systems tend to produce the most electricity in the afternoon when the residents aren’t home, or the lights aren’t switched on. On the other hand, home power usage is generally higher in the mornings and at nights. You can account for these fluctuations in power output and consumption daily with solar energy meters.
What is Net Metering and How Do Solar Meters Help With It?
Solar module owners typically get credited for the electricity they provide to the grid through net metering. Net metering ensures that customers are only charged for the “net” energy. 20 to 40% of the solar energy system’s output usually ends up making it to the grid, which is used to power neighboring customers’ loads.
While you can create ample power to match your home electricity’s usage for an entire year with the right kind of solar system, the quantity of energy generated will continue to fluctuate. It will always be more in summer and less in winter. With net metering, the seasonal variations in solar energy generation are taken care of by crediting you for the extra power generated by your panels and allowing you to use them later.
Are All Solar Meters Bi-Directional?
An electric meter senses the current flow and stores the total consumption value as per the net current flow. It runs forward regardless of an export or import taking place. This often leads to increased meter reading for the export, causing your electricity bills to shoot up.
With bi-directional meters, your current flow is sensed, and the data is stored separately. This saves energy and your overall energy bill. Solar meters are usually bi-directional unless specified otherwise. This is one of the reasons solar panels are better than your typical electric connection.
How Do You Read A Solar Meter?
If you have been trying to learn how to read solar meters, it might seem daunting at first, but give it a go, and you shall be fine. You will see both positive and negative numerals on display. The former (positive) represents the amount of power imported from the grid, usually measured by traditional electricity meters.
The latter (negative) represents the amount of power taken from the solar module to the grid, the excess left from household consumption at a particular time frame. If the positive value is greater than the negative, it indicates that the household has been exporting more electricity than it has been importing. This can invite power company reimbursements your way.
Reading solar meters lets, you know that the system is indeed simple and cost-effective. It allows you to get fair compensation for the energy generated without being consumed. This ensures electricity production without stressing the grid, especially during peak usage hours.
With solar panels, every house can power two or three more dwellings, making the neighborhood self-sufficient. This is incentive enough to start investing in alternative energy generation techniques that are environment-friendly and cost-effective. Households with solar meters are both conscious and conscientious of their energy use, and reading solar meters can facilitate the same.