Taking a Look at Reno NV Photovoltaic Usage Monitoring

Reno NV Residential Solar
monitoring Nevada solar panels

Solar is exciting, especially when you are able to look at the difference in your power bill. Before we can take a look at monitoring, however, we need to understand how metering works in Reno Nevada and other surrounding areas like Carson City.

Solar Panel Metering Expectations in Reno

Photovoltaic systems are a great way for Reno and Carson City residents to produce their own power and obtain energy independence. The Problem is that they don’t produce power all the time.

Solar panels’ production and energy efficiency are highly dependent on the weather. This is mainly because they can’t store excess production for later use on their own.

To solve this issue, the solar industry has worked with utilities to create solar net metering policies, and solar companies also offer forms of solar backup to compound those benefits. Utilities don’t always play nice though.  This is why we need to take a deeper look at Nevada’s metering policy.

Reno, Nevada/Carson City Net Metering

Because of the Nevada PUC debacle in 2015, many are wary of acquiring solar. And rightly so. Measures, however, are now in place to protect Nevada solar customers.

NV Energy Net Metering

Nevada’s main utility, NV Energy, now has a solar metering policy in place that benefits solar customers. Solar customers now receive a fair rate for their excess generation. And the rate is guaranteed for the next 20 years.

NV Energy Net Metering Tiers

NV Energy’s new solar policy, however, doesn’t pay everyone the same rate. The rate you will receive is dependent on when your system was purchased.

The net metering rate is set to decrease after every 80 megawatts of solar has been installed. The first tier of 80 megawatts of solar paid solar customers 95 percent of the retail rate.

Now that this tier has been met individuals that acquire solar will get 88 percent of the retail rate. As of March 6, 2019,  a total of 51 megawatts was already allotted the second tier rate. After the next 80 megawatts of solar is accounted for it will decrease to 81 and then 75 percent.

NV Energy Rebate Program

NV Energy also now has a rebate program in place. This program pays solar customers for their renewable energy credits. You can opt to keep your solar credits. However, if you want to save the most money selling them is to your benefit.

Once you have solar installed it is time to see the savings roll in. The best way to do this is in real time. Solar monitoring systems allow you to see exactly how much power you are producing.

How Your Nevada Solar Inverter Works

Most homes come with a solar monitoring system. If you don’t have a battery installed, the monitoring system is typically connected to the inverter.

Inverter Basics

The inverter is the switch behind a solar array. This is where the direct energy from the solar panels is reversed to alternating current. Which is, the current regularly used to power homes throughout the US.

Direct current(DC) is the constant flow of electrons. Alternating current(AC), however, switches directions about 50 to 60 times a second. This means that electrons don’t have to go through a continuous loop to power a lamp in your home.  It is also easier to convert to a higher or lower voltage; which is why most of our homes use AC power.

Most electronics use direct current. They, however, are able to be used again, when their battery dies, because they have an AC adaptor in their power cord. This converts the current to DC so the battery in your device can be re-charged.

Without an inverter, your photovoltaic system would be close to useless. It converts your current from your array to alternating current used in your home.

It also, is the go between your solar generation and the utility. This is why monitoring systems are typically designed into the inverter.

SMA Inverter Monitoring System

There are several different inverters out there. Go Solar Group uses the SMA inverter most frequently. This is largely do to the fact that they offer a solar backup option called Secure Power Supply (SPS).

Their inverters use a monitoring system called the Sunny Portal. This can be accessed through the app or their website. Once you have set-up your Sunny portal you are able to monitor your daily and monthly production.

Although daily production can be helpful when determining the best time to do a load of laundry. It isn’t the best way to monitor production. This is because solar arrays are designed to off-set monthly and yearly production.

Some days the sun will be completely or mostly blocked. This, however, has been accounted for in the system design. This is why looking at monthly production is a better monitoring function to look at.

The portal allows you to customize your settings to your preferences. In the portal you can create custome monitoring pages, but there are also standard pages. These pages contain common monitoring functions that most people care about.

These pages show you how much CO2 your system has avoided, production and performance. These pages are found in the visualization menu of the portal.  In these pages you can also find monthly, daily and yearly production.

Using the Tesla Powerwall for Backup

The Powerwall is a lithium ion battery designed to store excess solar generation. Those who can afford this solar backup option have the choice to power their entire home with it.

Tesla Powerwall Specs

One powerwall can store up to 14 kWh of energy for later use. Of this energy 13.5 kWh of it is usable on demand.

These batteries come with a 10-year warranty. However, how long they will actually last depend on how often you use the battery. Go Solar Group is a certified Tesla Powerwall Installer in the Reno Market.

Tesla Battery Competitor Comparison

When thinking about getting a solar battery most thing of the tesla powerwall. Two close runner-ups, however, are the Sonnen and LG Chem.

Sonnen Vs Tesla

The Sonnen can hold between 2 and 16 kWh of power depending on the size of battery you purchase. It is predicted to last for 20 years, but like the Powerwall is has a 10-year warranty.

Tesla Powerwall Vs LG Chem

The LG Chem can hold between 3.3 and 9.8 kWh. Usable energy is between 2.9 and 9.3 kWh. They also garantee that the battery will work at 80 percent capacity after 10 years.

Powerwall Monitoring

The Tesla app allows you to monitor home usage, solar production, and the Powerwall. When setting up your app you can choose to customize your app.

The first option you have is the backup-only setting. This setting reserves your Powerwall for backup use only. Your Powerwall is set to charge whenever it needs it so that is will be at 100 percent when you need it.

The second option is self-powered. In this mode the Powerwall will store solar energy during the day. It then discharges its stored power at night.

The last choice is the advanced option. The advanced setting is for anyone that pays a different utility rate depending on the time of use. Those who have solar installed have two options in this setting. They can either click balanced or cost savings.

The balanced option allows you to store energy from solar durring the day and discharges it at night. This option is best for individuals that are charged more for night usage.

The cost savings option allows the system to determine the best time to charge and discharge. This may mean that you end up using less of your solar energy to power your home.

It determines the best use of the battery from the information in the price schedule. You can edit your price schedule on the app when you select the cost savings option.

Tesla Powerwall Alternative: Solar Backup

Solar will not power your home in an outage on its own. That is why finding a solar back-up option is necessary. The problem is that battery backup is still expensive.

If you would like to make sure you are prepared, but don’t have the resources to get a battery Go Solar Group has your back.  We offer several different solar backup options so every home is ready when the grid goes down.


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