If your solar stops working you’ll want to know immediately because zero production means zero savings from solar.
The good news is we’ve recently made improvements to our unique algorithm that detects a zero production fault – it’s now much faster and more reliable, avoiding false alerts.
Here are some of the reasons a solar system might stop producing energy:
Faults in the system
Dark clouds, nighttime and shading from nearby buildings or trees can cause zero production. Our improved algorithms are able to detect if low light is the likely cause and won’t send you a false fault alert.
If the monitoring system is not properly set up or has a hardware fault, you might get false alerts or miss valuable alerts.
The emails you receive from us in the first weeks after your installation should help you learn how to understand your Solar Analytics Dashboard.
If something on the dashboard looks odd, or you are receiving fault alerts you think are incorrect, contact your installer or our support team to investigate.
Hybrid battery inverters or zero-export limits
Our fault diagnostics are not currently able to accurately detect zero production where your system has a hybrid battery inverter (one inverter for both the battery and the solar panels) or zero-export limiting.
Solar Analytics is still great for seeing what these systems are producing and managing energy consumption, but the energy production profiles are different to standard systems and this could cause false fault alerts. We can disable the diagnostics in these cases, so please let us know if you have such a set up.
The longer your site is monitored by Solar Analytics, the more accurate our diagnostics become. This is now true for our improved zero production algorithms which also become more sensitive and accurate as more historical data is drawn from the site.
We look at what is being produced at any given moment, and combine this with both recent and long-term production history to determine the likelihood of a genuine zero production fault. If it is inconclusive, the algorithm continues to take more data until it can be sure there is a fault.
This means that some faults will be detected within an hour and others may take longer, particularly if they are in the early morning or late afternoon.
We can more accurately analyse individual channels
If you receive a zero production fault alert but your dashboard still shows energy production, it could be because one part of the system has an issue.
We are now able to look at every solar measurement channel individually. This allows us to find faults on one inverter, even if there are others on the same site that are working fine.
A zero production fault alert may also be sent to you if one phase of a three-phase inverter is not producing correctly or being measured correctly.
We now identify Earth Faults more accurately
An ‘Earth fault’ (also known as a ground fault, isolation fault or leakage current) means the current from the solar panels has taken an incorrect path due to a system defect.
This could be due to poor wiring insulation and the presence of moisture, causing inverter shutdown.
Often, such faults will occur in the morning and then appear to be fixed soon after as the moisture dries up. This is still a problem as it is a potential safety hazard and is likely to get worse over time.
Our new algorithm is smarter at detecting faults in the morning and detecting faults that only last a short time. This means it is better at detecting Earth faults.
If you regularly get fault alerts in the morning, but you can’t see anything obviously wrong, this might be the cause. Contact your installer and have the system checked.
No more false alerts
Our new algorithm is simply more accurate. When the system is correctly set up, there are virtually no false alerts.
So if you receive a zero-production alert, there is either something wrong with the system or something wrong with the set-up.
Our testing shows that our algorithms find faults that even our engineers with specialist solar degrees didn’t find. That means they can spend their time better supporting our reseller and installer partners as we continue to grow.
Dr Jonathon Dore swapped International-level trampolining for data science. Lucky for us! Jono is now our Head of Data Strategy and is responsible for the sophisticated algorithms that we use to make our monitoring system the most intelligent available.