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Meters, Communications & Site Analysis

Meters, Communications & Site Analysis

Before the Installation: You've taken the time to research solar electricity and you are ready to install your own system. Wait! Any shading of PV modules can drastically decrease output. Use the Solar Pathfinder with Case & Tripod to be sure that you choose the optimum site for your solar array. Select a spot that gets full sun between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm. Or maybe you think you've got a great site for a large wind turbine.

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Before you raise that 80 foot wind turbine tower, evaluate the wind resource right at your site with an anemometer. A wind turbine is an excellent choice for renewable energy production in areas where you have unobstructed wind flow at speeds 10 mph or greater. Just as useful, the Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Meter P4400 allows you to measure the cumulative watt hours of any 120 VAC device in your house. This small device can show you where to make big savings by displaying things like how much electricity that old refrigerator is really using. (Think your TV is really off? Plug it into the Kill-A-Watt and find out!)

After the Installation - System Monitoring and Communication: Once your solar or wind electric system is safely and properly installed, you will want some way to accurately measure performance. After all, you just invested in a clean power system, you want to be sure that it's operating at its peak. Meters can monitor and display important outputs like:
  • How much electricity is being produced from the solar array
  • How full the battery bank is
  • How much current the wind turbine is producing
  • Greenhouse gas savings

The Wes Power GreenMeter Hybrid Energy Monitor can actually monitor multiple solar arrays, multiple wind arrays OR a hybrid solar and wind system. Products like the Outback Hub allow the Outback MATE Remote Monitor & Control to control and program multiple Outback inverters and charge controllers. Other products allow you to connect directly to a computer through an RS 232 port. Check out the battery monitoring systems from Bogart and Xantrex; they offer some great products that most renewable energy enthusiasts would not do without. Even something as simple as an Analog Amp Meter 0-30 Amp DC can help detect system problems early. At the very least, they will allow you to take pride in your clean energy producing system!

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