How energy monitoring is helping to maximise the benefits of solar power

PV servicing

During the commercial rise of solar PV, many systems were sold without much consideration as to aftercare. This is no longer the case, however, and as the industry has grown, professionals and consumers have realised the benefits to keeping a system well serviced.

It is now common practice to remotely monitor solar PV systems on top of planned and reactive maintenance. Regular maintenance will not only extend a system’s service lifetime, it will also maximise generation and energy efficiency. More often than not, the cleaning and optimisation of a system will account for the cost of maintenance works, through the resulting improvement in generation.

So what is energy monitoring?

Energy consumption monitoring is an essential tool in the PV industry, and the required technology has become cheaper, easier to install and generally more accessible to both industry professionals and clients themselves in recent years.

Modern technology allows us to remotely monitor consumption and generation patterns of a site through real-time live data, where previously the only option was half-hourly data obtained from a supplier. This ‘at-the-point-of-consumption’ data can be accessed and analysed from our offices, or on a mobile device to study a system’s energy usage whilst on site.

Much like a smart meter, monitoring technology displays exactly how much energy is being generated and consumed at any given time. The difference is, monitoring technology can be installed very simply by adding CT clamps to the current meter – rather than replacing it altogether. This means cheaper costs, simple installation and simple uninstallation.

Gathering consumption data from a property has always been imperative to solar PV services. From correctly sizing a new solar installation, to configuring an energy storage battery, to finding faults in a system, and almost any other task surrounding energy efficiency or generation. It enables accurate diagnostic work whereby it’s possible to find specifically where or what appliance could be causing high consumption in a system.

How do SSW use energy monitoring

Solar South West provide services surrounding PV installation, maintenance, optimisation, solar battery storage, energy management and energy efficiency. We use consumption monitoring across the board, and here are just some of its uses:

  • Maintenance: SSW monitor the consumption of sites we have O&M contracts with. This allows us to spot faults and ensure correct operation from our office – keeping production as high as possible and reacting quickly to system failures.
  • Installation: SSW use energy monitoring when proposing a suitably sized PV system for a new installation. Monitoring a property’s consumption patterns allows us to size the system such that PV generation matches the client’s demand.
  • Solar Batteries: Like PV installations, sizing a solar battery is essential if it is to be cost effective. Too big, the battery will not charge from the solar installation, and the cost of install will never be recouped. Too small, excess generation won’t be able to be stored and will have to be exported. It is for this reason that understanding consumption is vital when considering what size battery a client would benefit from. For more on this, visit our solar battery storage page.
  • Optimisation: If SSW is to improve the yield of a PV system, it first helps to know why generation is not as high as expected. Energy consumption monitoring allows SSW to see where and why a PV system is not performing at its optimum, in order to rectify the problem.
  • Energy management: Often, high energy bills are caused by a fault in your system or an energy intensive appliance. Real-time consumption monitoring allows SSW to see where excess energy is being drawn in order to suggest practical solutions to your high energy bills.


Solar South West believe our committed use of energy monitoring technology is what keeps us on top of your energy system and ahead of our competitors. We are able to react to problems as soon as they happen, and size installations with the upmost accuracy.

For more information about how you could benefit from an energy monitoring system get in touch on 01460 279571.