How Can I View My System Performance?
You can view your solar system performance through the inverter manufacturer’s app — the APSystems EMA App.
The APsystems EMA App is a platform that enables users to access performance analytics and reports of each module of their solar array. This web-connected device allows you to monitor the energy generation of your solar system in real time. Not only are users able to monitor the output of their solar installation, but the EMA App also allows Kuby Energy to commission and troubleshoot the PV system, streamlining customer service with remote site management.
You can download the app from any app store or login online through https://www.APSystemsEMA.com
With the the APsystems EMA App, you can:
Where Does the App Get Its Information From?
All information displayed on the EMA App is received from performance and energy generation data collected from your Energy Communication Unit (ECU). This unit works by receiving wireless signals from microinverters and reports data back in real time. This information is then relayed via your home’s internet connection and displayed on the EMA App. To learn more about the ECU and how to connect it to your home’s Wi-Fi, check out our blog on Connecting your APSystems ECU that takes you through it step by step, including useful video attachments. The ECU is included in all Kuby products and installations that use APSystems microinverters.
What Does the Data Mean?
Navigating through a sea of data can be overwhelming at first glance, but don’t worry! The main thing you’ll be seeing here is your energy and power data. Although these terms are often used interchangeably in everyday language, it's important to recognize their subtle differences. Here are some key things you need to know:
The homepage will give you access to your system’s energy production and its running status.
Your homepage will look like this:
If you click the “Module” tab at the bottom of the page, you’ll betaken to a page that will display each panel’s power for the whole day or over30 days:
The “Module” tab allows the user to see module level production throughout the day (manipulated by using the slider at the bottom of the screen). Data is recorded in near-real time (5-minute increments). This means the effects of any shading from trees, clouds, etc., can be seen as it happens.
Clicking on a module will show: the inverter serial number, the module’s position relative to the rest of the array, its current power and the inverter type, (for QS1A’s, there will be 3-4 modules per inverter). Pressing the calendar icon at the bottom left will allow the user to see each day in the past and how the modules performed on specific days/times of the year.
The “Data” tab on the bottom of the page will give you detailed data on ECU level and inverter level by day, month and year — even when you’re not home:
The data tab provides a graphical representation of the energy production. You can toggle between viewing Day, Daily, Monthly or Yearly.
What to Expect from Your Solar System
There will be natural fluctuations from day to day and month to month. This is normal and expected, since some days/weeks/months are sunnier than others.
It is also normal for your solar panels to not show as much power as their model number. For example, you may have purchased a 450W solar panel, but your online monitoring portal will only show it producing approximately 400W.
This reduced value is due to a few factors such as inverter clipping, or non-ideal conditions (such as heat).
Solar panels are tested under ideal laboratory conditions (“standard test conditions” or STC). However, these lab conditions are not often observed in real life. Hot temperatures, dust/debris, cloud coverage, and the sun not being directly incident to the solar panel are all non-ideal conditions.
Interestingly, cool air tends to be more favorable for solar energy production compared to hot air. Don’t be surprised if a seemingly sunnier hot summer day may not generate as much energy as a cooler spring day.
Inverter clipping occurs when the solar power input (kW DC) surpasses the input or output rating of the inverter. Clipping is often intentionally planned to optimize financial returns for homeowners since most days do not offer ideal solar conditions.
More energy can be generated during non-ideal conditions, which are prevalent most of the time, by increasing the DC power. Doing so will also turn the inverters on earlier in the day, and keep them on longer in the evening, broadening the daily energy generation curve.
On occasion, there are electrical limitations to the property where only so much AC inverter power can be installed. In such cases, it is sometimes more beneficial to add more DC solar power and increase the DC/AC ratio rather than complete an electrical upgrade.
Lots of non-ideal conditions are present throughout most days. Oversizing arrays maximize the energy output during these times.
Energy Production/Consumption, and Import/Export
You may notice a difference between your energy bill and the energy production shown online. This is normal.
Your solar panels will generate energy that will flow into two different areas:
1) your home's loads, and
2) any surplus energy to the grid.
Only exported solar energy to the grid will be visible on your bill as a Microgeneration or Net Metering credit.
Energy produced by your solar panels but consumed by your home will not be reflected anywhere but will be evident through a reduced energy bill. The microgeneration credit on your utility bill is likely to be significantly lower than the total production of your solar panels.
Solar Energy is produced. It is either consumed by the home or exported to the grid. Only the energy flowing through the right arrow to the grid will show up on your bill as a credit.
Your home will consume some solar energy and import the rest of what it needs from the grid.
At night, you will be importing energy from the grid. All energy from the grid to your home will show up on your bill as an energy charge.
Getting solar panels does not mean you should use more electricity. Your system has been sized based on your existing consumption (energy use).
If your energy use goes up (because you bought a hot tub, air conditioner, EV, etc.), your energy bill may go up, despite having solar panels.
If your energy use goes up, the metrics you see in your proposal may be less accurate.
I see "No Communication (NC)” on one or more panels on the EMA App. Is this fixable?
Yes! First, you can perform a few checks:
Is there something wrong with my inverter if one solar panel shows 289W and another shows 251W?
It is normal to observe slight variations in power output among modules. Additionally, the ECU gateway follows a polling mechanism, individually querying the inverters for their power production every five minutes. As a result, the polling time for each solar panel may differ by a few minutes, leading to occasional variations in power readings. These variations are expected and should not be a cause for concern. It is possible that one panel may have a shading obstruction nearby, such as a chimney or roof overhang, causing a decrease in production compared to a neighbouring panel.
Why does my utility bill show a different energy value than what is shown in the EMA portal?
Your energy bill will only show the energy exported to the grid, whereas your APSystems online monitoring portal shows your total production, which includes energy consumed by your house.
See The Production/Consumption and Import/Export section above for more details.
My solar panels are dirty, what can I do?
The easiest way to clean your solar panels is by using a hose from the ground. It is important not to use any abrasive materials or chemicals on your solar panels, as they can damage them. We do not recommend climbing on your roof for cleaning purposes.
Why aren't my solar panels producing energy in the winter?
Decreased solar production in winter is expected. There will be days, weeks, or even months when the solar panels do not produce any energy. This is largely due to snow coverage, as deep snow can prevent light from reaching the solar cells, resulting in no energy production.
The effects of snow are taken into account during the initial system design. Snow will reduce energy output by approximately 5% for an average home in Alberta.
Low amounts of sunlight in the winter is a major reason for snow’s minor effect on annual production, and winter’s low production overall. Most solar energy is generated in the spring, summer, and fall.
Since excess energy production that is not consumed by the home can be exported to the grid, overproduction during summer compensates for the underproduction during winter.
What do I do if I think there's a problem?
Contact us at Kuby Energy! As the solar panel installer, we can help you resolve any issues and are licensed to troubleshoot and address any problems with your solar array, production, and/or the hardware.
If you are experiencing any difficulties with your system or have further questions regarding the use of your EMA App, contact Kuby Energy at 1-833-999-KUBY.
Questions, comments or concerns? We would love to hear your thoughts on this.
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