• Soltell Admin

Importance of communications for proper control and monitoring of a distributed solar PV facility

This time we shall discuss the great importance of communication integrity for the proper functionality of monitoring and control in a photovoltaic energy facility. Obviously, monitoring and control systems are essential to ensure continuous energy output in any power generation facility including a photovoltaic solar facility.

How can a communication issue be diagnosed? The matter is quite simple - in the event of a data communication interruption, an initial inspection of the communication devices must be performed. Most of the time the problem is due to the internet connection of a modem or data communication problem in the router, so rebooting these may solve the problem. In more problematic cases it is physical damage to communication cables or inappropriate network settings. In such cases it is possible and worthwhile to enlist the help of a communication technician, who is skilled in working with solar loggers.

Lack of knowledge about the state of the system in terms of data monitoring necessitates an almost daily physical inspection to make sure that the photovoltaic facility is operating properly. Worse - the physical examination must be done by a person (and preferably a skilled person) and therefore it is not worthwhile neither in terms of work time nor in terms of cost-benefit. At the same time, monitoring and control systems that simplify the daily inspection, depend entirely on the proper functioning of the data communication complex - a system that includes a logger for inverters, a modem with Internet access and sometimes a router that interconnects them. Yes on the physical side (communication cables) as well as on the digital side (calibration and settings) - the communication is vulnerable and requires maintenance and periodic inspection.

Most monitoring portals do provide an alert in the event of a delay or stopped uploading output data from the solar system. For example, in the Sunny Portal monitoring software by SMA, a log message will be recorded, and en email message will be sent. The SysMap portal by Soltell Systems backs up these communication warning solutions, but also assesses data integrity and quality - allowing to provide a warning also on cases when power data is flawed (power generation at night or nonsense production numbers).

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