Written by Guest | Last Updated February 24th, 2020Our goal here at BestCompany.com is to provide you with the honest, reliable information you need to find companies you can trust.
Guest Post by Kayla Matthews
Homeowners know that it can be a struggle to watch how much energy your home uses. Traditional homes are much more difficult to keep track of, since the electric bill at the end of the month doesn't actually show you which appliances used the most energy.
Some homeowners have turned to solar power to get a better handle on their home's energy. This kind of green energy is becoming much more popular and affordable, but it leaves people wondering what the big difference is between solar and electric energy.
Solar energy does so much more than just come from the sun. Read on to learn how you can monitor your solar energy system at home. You'll learn when the system is and isn't working efficiently and how much money you're actually saving.
What is solar monitoring?
Homes that use electric energy don't have a great way to monitor energy usage, which is why solar monitoring can confuse people. With electric units, you get yearly inspections and have to wait to be surprised by your power going out if something isn't working.
Solar energy systems are much more efficient. They were created much more recently than electric units, so they take advantage of the internet to provide homeowners with everything they need to know.
How does it work?
After solar panels are installed, they can be connected with different monitoring devices to track usage. Any time homeowners are curious, they can log in and check on their solar panels.
The monitoring solar panel output tracks the energy a solar system produces, both daily and lifetime production. It can be accessed by the homeowners and by the company that installed it.
What does the monitoring mean?
Solar monitoring provides an array of different information to homeowners. The first basic use is to monitor how much energy the solar panels are producing. It's good to know when you have a surplus of energy and when you don't.
It can also provide timestamps, so homeowners can discover what time of day the panels are producing the most energy. This can change with the seasons, as the sun may set earlier or later.
Given all this information, homeowners can then track how their solar energy system is performing. As it ages, it may produce less energy. This can also occur if the panels are damaged from storms or electrical outages.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of monitoring is how homeowners can see exactly what their energy usage is and compare it to electric bills in the past. This pinpoints how much money has actually been saved over time by converting to solar energy.
Types of monitoring systems
As technology has advanced, many different gadgets have been developed to help homeowners monitor their solar power and usage. Check out a few of the most popular types to see if it's something you're missing in your home:
Home Energy by Sense
After installing solar panels, Home Energy is hooked up to the power panel. It connects to Wi-Fi to collect solar production data and compare it to how much of that power is used.
A recent update allows homeowners to set their electricity costs in the app, so it turns those energy numbers into dollar signs that fit easily into a budget.
Z-Wave Plus Wall Outlet
This wall outlet works to automate any home, whether it runs on electric or solar power. It replaces a standard electric outlet so homeowners can control appliances from an app.
Having remote control over all plugged in appliances minimizes energy usage. It's much easier to remember to turn things off when they're not being used if it can be done remotely through a smart outlet.
Smappee aims to give homeowners more power over where their power is being used the most. Anyone with this system can download the app and set energy priorities.
This product stands out because users can set times for when energy goes to which appliance and when no energy is needed. When these times are scheduled, there's no need to remember when to turn electronics on and off.
Explore your options
Homeowners who are interested in solar energy should know that there are plenty of options available when it comes to motoring systems. Some provide the basic controls and others go more in depth, depending on how closely you want to engage with your system.
Kayla Matthews is a tech journalist who has written for sites such as TechnoBuffalo, MakeUseOf, and Mother Earth News. To see more tech stories by Kayla, visit Productivity Bytes or follow her on Twitter.