Monitoring Your Solar System Performance with iSolarCloud

Monitoring your solar system performance with iSolarCloud helps you understand how your system is working. It’ll provide you with detailed solar production and consumption data. This will help you keep power consumption within production levels to get the best out of your system. 

Without a solar monitoring system, you’ll see that your solar system reduces your bill, but you’ll not know exactly what is produced or how it is used.

In this post, we’ll tell you everything about iSolarCloud and how it can help you get the best out of your solar system. Specifically, we’ll cover:

  • What is iSolarCloud?
  • How iSolarCloud monitoring works
  • How to set up iSolarCloud monitoring
  • How to read iSolarCloud
  • How to calculate power bill savings with iSolarCloud

Let’s get started!

What is iSolarCloud?

iSolarCloud is a solar monitoring system developed by Sungrow that can provide numerous insights into the electricity production of your solar power system and the consumption habits of your household. You simply log in to the application to see power data, revenue, error messages and more.

There are two types of solar monitoring. The first is the standard inverter production monitoring that usually comes embedded in the inverter. It gives you only basic information such as daily and historical production, grid export, and error messages.

The second solar monitoring system uses add-on products to provide live and much more detailed information about production and consumption.

iSolarCloud is a type of the latter solar monitoring system. It provides production details but uses additional consumption monitoring software to show how and when you use power. 

Without a solar monitoring system, your electricity bills are reduced, and you see the savings, but you cannot know exactly how those savings come about.

But having iSolarCloud will show you what you generate and exactly how you use it. This helps you understand how your system is working and saving you money.  

iSolarCloud is a very flexible system that you can use with many solar installations. Whether your system uses standard PV inverters connected to only solar panels, or whether your system combines solar panels with batteries, you can use iSolarCloud. It also doesn’t matter that you use lithium-ion batteries or lead-acid batteries. The software itself is also compatible with Android and iOS devices.

How does iSolarCloud monitoring work?

iSolarCloud monitoring helps you access live and detailed data about your solar power production and consumption.

The electricity produced by your solar panels flows through the inverter. This is so that the inverter will convert the Direct Current produced by the solar panels into Alternating Current that your appliances can use. If you are using a hybrid system that incorporates batteries, the inverter will also convert the energy stored in the batteries to AC for household use.

When using the iSolarCloud monitoring system, your device which houses the software is connected to the inverter. This allows the inverter to communicate with the iSolarCloud server to measure solar production flowing through the inverter.

The system also shows how the power generated is used and any power you get from the grid.

Generally, the iSolarCloud application will show you the following:

  • Power produced by your solar system
  • Power used by your household
  • Power exported to the grid
  • Power purchased from the grid
  • Solar savings

How do you set up iSolarCloud monitoring?

To set up iSolarCloud monitoring, follow these steps: 

1. Install the iSolarCloud app

Download the iSolarCloud app from Google Play or App Store

Install the app, and open it once it is installed.

2. Select your server

Opening the app, you’ll receive a pop-up to confirm your current service address. 

For Australia, it is “international server”. 

Select this, and click “confirm” to continue to the login screen.

3. User registration

Click “register” to create an iSolarCloud account. 

On the registration page, select the “End User” option.

Then enter your email address and select “send verification code”. 

Enter the verification code sent to your email into the appropriate field. Check your spam folder if you don’t see it in the inbox.

Then create a password, select your location and time zone, accept the privacy policy, and click “register”. 

You can then log in using your email and the password you created to go to the iSolarCloud home screen. Accept the pop-ups that show up to give the app access to important features.

4. Create plant

Select “Create Plant” so that you can connect your inverter. 

Select your plant type (residential or commercial). 

Select your inverter type (PV or Hybrid). Then select your setup, which is the WLAN option.

5. Wifi Setting

This is where you have to connect your device to your inverter. Open Wifi settings on your mobile device, and tap the name of your inverter. It is usually “SG-” followed by a series of numbers.

If a password is required, the password is a serial number located on your inverter. Once connected, return to the iSolarCloud app. You’ll see a “successfully connected” message. Click “Next”

The next page is to connect your inverter to the internet. To do this, select your home Wifi, enter password (if applicable), and press “confirm”. Then connect your device back to your home network. 

Go back to your Wifi settings, disconnect your device from the inverter and connect back to the internet.

Return to the iSolarCloud app. You’ll see a “successfully connected” message showing that your device is now connected back to the internet. 

Click “next”

6. Configuration

On the page that opens, click “next” to configure the plant. Change the plant name to whatever you want.

Fill the rest of the form, including country, time zone, plant address, postal code, and grid-connection date. Then click “next” to go configure tariff.

Configure tariff by entering feed-in tariff and consumption tariff. You can find this info in your latest electricity bill.

Then click “next” to connect the installer.

7. Connect Installer

On this page, enter the organisational code of your installer (obtained from them) to connect the plant to their iSolarCloud account. This will allow your installer to access your inverter data to view your solar monitoring and troubleshoot any inverter issues.

After entering the code, click “next” and wait for your inverter to be connected. This can take 5 – 10 minutes. 

If successful, you’ll get the message “The inverter has successfully connected to the home network”. 

Click “complete”

8.   Start Monitoring

Return to the home screen, and you’ll have full access to iSolarCloud monitoring data.

Man sits at table looking at his ipad with solar monitoring displayed on screen

How to read your iSolarCloud

The iSolarCloud dashboard is intuitive and easy to read. If you open the iSolarCloud website on your computer, you’ll find its main features in a small column at the left-hand side of the page.

The profile picture is at the top of the column, followed by the account name. Under this, you’ll find clickable tabs for the iSolarCloud main features.

These are Overview, Device Information, Fault, and Plant Configuration. Clicking any one of these will open up its details on the main section of the screen.

Let’s explore these features.

1. Overview 

This section is where you’ll find general information about your solar system. It shows different data such as:

Today Yield

Today Yield shows you how many kilowatt-hours your system has produced for the day. So, in terms of production, the Today Yield shows you how well your solar system is performing. 

The best time to check the Today Yield is sundown, preferably at about 5 pm.

Just above the Today Yield value is the “Today Revenue”. This shows your solar production’s monetary value (in AUD) for the day. 

Self Consumption

This tells you how much your household has used in the day. It is shown in kilowatt-hours and a percentage of solar-produced power.

Power-flow diagram

This simple flow diagram shows how you use the power that your solar system produces for you. The diagram has three nodes and directional arrows flowing from the first node to the two nodes below.

The first node at the top represents your solar system. On top of it, you’ll see the amount of power that your system is producing at that moment in kilowatts. 

The other two nodes represent your house and the grid. 

The directional arrow flowing from your solar panel node to your house node shows the amount of power that goes to your house from what your panels produce. 

The arrow flowing from your panels’ node to the grid node shows the amount of power you export to the grid from what your panel produces.

So, the power-flow diagram shows you where the power that your system produces is going in real-time.

Real-time power

This shows instantaneous power production of your system, which is the power that your system produces when you’re checking. 

The figure will tally with the amount of power shown in the first node of the power-flow diagram.

Current Month Yield

This section is to the right of “Real-time Power”. It shows what your solar system has produced for the month in kilowatt-hours.

Just under the current month yield figure is “revenue this month”. This is the monetary value (AUD) of what your solar has produced for the month.  

Total Yield

This section is to the right of the “Current Month Yield”, showing what your solar system has produced since you installed it.

Just under the total yield figure is “Total Revenue”. This is the amount (in AUD) that your system has saved for you since you installed it.  

Comparison Charts

Just below the Yields’ section there’s a PV comparison chart and a Load comparison chart. 

The PV comparison chart simply helps you visualise how the power that your system produces over some time. You can choose day, month, year, or total display, and the chart will show you what part of your solar-produced power is self-consumed and what part is exported to the grid over the chosen period.

The Load comparison chart helps you visualise what you’ve used and where you’ve used it from. It compares what you’ve used from your solar (self-sufficiency) and what you’ve used from the grid (purchased energy) over some time.

Time Graph

Below the two comparison charts is a time graph that plots your solar-power production and total power consumption on a time scale. This graph gives a wealth of information.

When considering the power consumption part (using the “day” display), the time graph will show you the amount of power you’re using at particular times in the day. This gives insight into your consumption habits because it shows you when you consume the most power.

When considering the solar-production part, the time graph will show you how much power your panels produce at particular times in the day. This is usually a line curve that starts at a low point, rises steadily, peaks, and drops steadily. This shows low power production before sunrise, a steady increase in production as the sunshine increases, peak production when sunshine is highest, and a decrease in production as the sun goes down.

Using this graph, you can make smart adjustments to your consumption habits to get the best out of your solar system. 

For example, you can arrange your high power usage to coincide with peak production times. It is all about planning your power usage within production levels so that you don’t need more power than your system produces and then buy it from the grid.

Another interesting part of the time graph is the negative vertical axis (coloured blue). It shows the surplus power that you export to the grid at different times of the day.

2. Device Information

This tab holds information about your device. You’ll find your device serial number, name, type, and status if you open it. Know that you don’t need to check this tab. It’s for the solar installers and their workers to check should your system develop faults.

However, if you want to know more about your device, you can click on the “Inverter”. This will open a window with different tabs. 

The “General Information” tab has information like voltage, current, and other general data.

The “Active Fault” tab shows you any fault that your system currently has, and the “Fault History” tab shows you all the faults that your system has ever had and their status.

3. Fault

This tab is dedicated to the faults that your system may have. There’s an option to sort the faults to choose any period to look at your system’s faults at the time.

The section also shows the occurrence time of faults, how the fault manifested, and the action you or your installer took.

4. Plant Configuration

This tab has two levels – plant and tariff. 

“Plant” is where you’ll find details about the owner of the system. This includes your name, email address, and residential address (where the system is installed).

The “Tariff” section helps add more meaning to the Overview section. By filling the tariff section, the Overview will show how much (in AUD) your solar power system saves for you. The data for “Today Revenue”, “Revenue this month” and “Total Revenue” in the Overview section will not be displayed if you do not fill this “Tariff” section.

Solar savings is usually an addition of power bills savings and feed-in tariff. It’s the amount you no longer pay for power and the amount you get when you export power.

Thus, in the “Tariff” section, there are fields to enter your feed-in tariff and your consumption tariff. The feed-in tariff is what your energy retailer pays you per kilowatt of power you export to the grid, while the consumption tariff is how much you are charged per kilowatt of power you use from the grid. As previously mentioned, you’ll find this info in your latest electricity bill.

Enter these correctly, and the Overview section will show your solar savings. 

How do you calculate your power bill savings with iSolarCloud?

iSolarCloud makes it very easy to calculate solar savings. However, you’ll have to enter the applicable rates before iSolarCloud can help you.

Follow these steps:

  • Click on the “Plant configuration” feature in the iSolarCloud dashboard. This reveals two menus – plant and tariff
  • Click on the tariff section
  • Enter your consumption tariff and feed-in tariff
  • Click save button
  • Go back to the Overview
  • Your solar savings is shown in today’s revenue, revenue for the month, and total revenue.

However, as mentioned, the solar savings = power bill savings and feed-in tariff.

Getting only the power bill saving requires a little more. If you want the power bill savings for the day, simply get the “Self-consumption” reading and multiply it by your consumption tariff.

To get power bill savings for any period (say a month), you’ll need the PV chart. Get the “Self-consumption” reading for the desired period from the PV chart and multiply it by your consumption tariff.

What to do if communication with iSolarCloud is disconnected?

If communication with iSolarCloud is disconnected, you’ll need to go to your Wi-fi settings and re-establish the connection.

Losing connection means that the iSolarCloud app will not display any data. The plant status will be “offline” and show “device with problem.”

To re-establish the connection, open your Wi-fi setting, and select the home network connection for the inverter. 

Once the inverter is successfully connected to the home router, click “complete”. Then go back to the iSolarCloud app to continue.

Select the option for “more”, then select WLAN configuration. Connect to the inverter WLAN and click “next”. Then select your home Wi-fi network. Input your password and click “connect”. Wait for the message that the inverter has successfully connected to the home router.

Click “complete”. Then go to the home page, select your plant, and you’ll be back online. Here’s an iSolarCloud quick guide that will help you troubleshoot connection problems.. 

Conclusion

iSolarCloud is a solar monitoring system that uses an interactive application to provide detailed data of your systems’ power production and your household’s power consumption. For example, iSolarCloud can show you what your solar system produces at different times of the day, as well as what your household consumes at different times of the day. 

With this information, you can make intelligent adjustments to keep power usage within production to avoid purchasing power from the grid.

Are you ready to start monitoring your solar system’s performance with iSolarCloud? 

Contact Instyle Solar experts if you need technical support.

Next Steps…

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