So you made the big switch to solar energy. Congratulations! Your energy independence has just begun! It’s okay to celebrate. You’ve been paying power bills your entire life and now you’re finally investing in yourself as the new owner of your solar power-generating home.
It’s great to be free from the endless cycle of utility company dependency. And as the utility rates continue to rise at the rate of approximately 5% per year, you will be immune to these increases with your fixed monthly plan. Things are looking better indeed, but your journey is not over quite yet. You will need to have a few small details in place from this point forward to ensure that your solar photovoltaic system is working in perfect order, generating electricity for you day after day, year after year. Transitioning to solar is after all an investment for the long-term. So let’s go over a few things you should know to make sure you are getting the most benefit from your investment.
Download Monitoring Apps
First, you will need to be able to track your solar power generation of each of the solar panels in your array. To do this, you will need to determine if you have a SolarEdge or an Enphase inverter.
For systems installed with SolarEdge inverters, simply download the SolarEdge Monitoring app on Google Play or at your app store. (For added convenience, SolarEdge published an online instructional manual to set up and operate your inverter which can be found here: SolarEdge System Installation Guide.)
For Enphase inverters, download the Enphase Enlighten app.
With either app you should be able to read the solar power generation of each panel by the day, week, month, and year in kWh. If your panels are underproducing, the energy units will be in watts. These apps are very user-friendly, but we are here for you if you need help setting up or reading your energy production.
Preserving Your Solar Panels
When reviewing your solar power generation through your monitoring app, you will occasionally notice one or more panels not producing electricity as the others. This could be due to a shading issue or the accumulation of dirt, foliage, animal waste, or precipitation remnants. It may seem obvious enough, but if your solar panels are covered in any way, they will not absorb as many photons from the sun. This translates into reduced solar energy production with each of the panels that are affected.
To prevent any losses in your solar power generation, make sure nothing is casting shade upon your roof and keep your solar panels clean! It’s a really an easy job for most systems and won’t require much work on your part. To learn more about solar panel maintenance, read our blog which details how to clean your solar panels to maximize your efficiency. Also watch the video at the end of the blog breaking down the process for you.
Troubleshooting From Home
Sometimes you may require a site visit to inspect your system and make sure everything is still operating as intended. Most of the time your issue can be resolved with a little troubleshooting from home.
1. Try power cycling the inverter. Turn red toggle switch to 0. Wait until the screen reads voltage is 50v and below to proceed.
2. Turn black knob (DC disconnect switch) to off.
3. Turn AC disconnect switch to off. (This is a metal box located near the inverter, with a metal handle.)
4. Make sure the solar breaker is in the “ON” position.
5. Wait 60 seconds, then do the steps in reverse (steps 3, 2, and 1).
6. The screen should read waking up, 300 second countdown. (Wait with the customer)
7. If the existing error is still there, have the customer read the error off of the screen to you. Report this to SE.
8. If still no activity on the screen or no LED lights coming on, notify Customer Service to report this to SolarEdge (or Enphase as needed).
Re-Linking Zigbee Gateway
1. Go to gateway inside the home. Usually located near the router. (GW Small white box with antenna labeled SolarEdge.)
2. Check to see what lights are on:
S_OK: Internet cable is connected to the GW and the router. (Light should be a solid green; if blinking check internet connection.)
Link Inverter and GW are communicating with each other. (Light should be a flashing yellow/amber color; if no light present, continue with re-linking the GW.)
Signal strength bars: Ideally, all three should be lit, but it’s okay if 1 or 2 are lit (solid green). The GW should not be more than 50 feet away from the inverter.
3. Go customer unplug the internet cord from the GW and unplug the power cord for the GW out of the power outlet.
4. Move the GW to a new outlet that is close to the inverter without going outside (leave the router cord there). Example: If the inverter is on the outside wall of their kitchen, plug the GW into an outlet somewhere in the kitchen.
5. Press and hold the red button down on the front of the GW for 5 seconds. Then let go. All of the lights should begin to flash for 5 minutes. If this doesn’t happen, unplug the power cord for 10 seconds, then try step 5 again. Sometimes the red button needs to be held for longer than 5 seconds. If you try and the lights don’t begin flashing, hold the red button down again for 5 seconds. (If successful, move onto step 6.)
6. All the lights on the GW should be flashing for 5 minutes. Once they stop flashing, the only light we need to check for is the Link light. This should be flashing every 5 seconds. (If the link light does not come on, try unplugging the power cord and attempt step 5 at least 2 more times.)
7. Once it’s verified the link light is flashing every 5 seconds, relocate the GW to its original location and plug in the power cord as well as the internet cord.
8. All the lights should start to come on, but we just want the Link light to come on and begin flashing. Once verified, keep in mind that back logging data can take several days to show on the solar site.
Customer Service Is Here For You
As long as you monitor your panels, keep them clean, and follow the trouble-shooting recommendations above whenever you have an issue, you should be extremely self-sufficient. However, if you need additional help tracking your energy production or have another issue, you may contact our Customer Service Department at (844) 765-8324 Ext. 166. We will always have our team here during regular business hours to assist you and get you back on track to generating your own solar energy while reducing your carbon footprint.
by Ged Friedman