Solar plant monitoring has evolved over recent years. At its basic form, it was a way to see how much power a solar plant produced. Now, solar plant monitoring is a comprehensive, in-depth analysis of plant performance. Amid this evolution, monitoring hardware is now commonly being built inside of inverters, often at no or low cost. As experts in inverter-agnostic solar plant monitoring and energy management, we have been a close partner of the inverter manufacturers for over 10 years. So, we set out to explore the differences between the inverter-integrated and inverter-agnostic approach. In Part 1 of Good Cop, Bad Cop; A Guide to Solar Monitoring Approaches we define each approach and its benefits.
Part of this exploration was to pinpoint which data is needed to truly understand how well a solar plant is performing. We wanted to better understand what functions are needed to maximize return on the solar investment. In Part 2, we will further explore data and diagnostics and discuss the extended role that monitoring solutions will play in the not-so-distant future.