Adding a meter, sensor, or Inverter to your system can provide multiple data views, leading to an enhancement of understanding. These optional products are usually very easy to connect, and can provide a great deal of insight into the production and maintenance of the system.
Why add an AC Meter to the Tigo Cloud?
The external AC Meter (or the communication card inside the inverter) will generate a reading of the full yield of AC Power produced by the PV system. Whereas the Tigo Portal only displays the total DC Input Power, generated from the PV Modules themselves.
There can be a great difference between the DC and the AC yield, as there is a percentage of power loss caused by the conversion process and inverter efficiency. This power loss is also the heat production of the inverter.
Monitoring the losses that are occurring in the conversion from DC to AC gives the user assurance that the whole system (including the inverters) is working fine.
Why to add a Weather Sensor to the Tigo Cloud?
Weather sensors can deliver additional information about the current status of the PV-array. There are different types of sensors that measure the different environmental conditions that can have an influence on PV production:
- Global Solar Irradiance
- Plane of Array Irradiance
- Back-of-PV Panel Temp
- Ambient Air Temperature
- Wind Speed
- Wind Direction
- Relative Humidity
- Barometric Pressure
While the system's power production is primarily dependent on the intensity of irradiance, the efficiency of the silicon cells within the panel is very much influenced by ambient temperature.
For instance: At a cell temperature of 42˚C (107˚F) the peak output of a solar panel drops about 1.1% for every increase in degrees Celsius (0.61%/1˚F).
Solar modules operate at about 20˚C (36˚F) higher than the ambient air temperature. In the summer, cell temperatures can be often higher than 42˚C (107˚F), greatly affecting the Pmax performance of the Module.
Other environmental conditions like wind speed and direction, humidity, or precipitation can also indirectly influence the power production of a solar system. These events can lead to the deposit of airborne dust onto the PV modules, which can reduce power production by 10%.
If used correctly, weather sensors can ensure a guaranteed maximum possible production over the whole lifespan of a PV array. Especially in older systems, where component degradation can show anomalies in certain environmental conditions. For example: High humidity often leads to contact erosion and can cause power reduction in components, as long as the electrical connections are wet.
Can I display meter information on my Tigo Portal?
Yes, the display of meter information on the Tigo Portal is possible! Most of the meters, inverters and sensors on the market can be connected to Tigo's CCA via Modbus Interface (connection with RS-485 cable).
For more information on this process, see:
How-To: Setup and Monitor Modbus Connected Devices (Inverters, Meters & Sensors)