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What’s the difference between Monitoring and Managing.

sThere is no doubt that solar power is becoming more and more popular. Commonly, the most popular use that we are familiar with is on roof tops on homes, commercial and industrial buildings and maybe even on large open areas where space is available.

Where you have a large space then efficiency is not so important however when it comes to very small solar systems and space is limited, then efficiency becomes paramount.

One of the biggest issues with solar is the weather. When the sun is out, there’s usually no problem. It’s during bad weather or shorter days when less power is produced that the problems occur. And the problems may not be immediately apparent, particularly the condition of the battery which can deteriorate over time.

The battery is (should be) the most expensive part of the solar system. It is also what powers the load. If the battery fails not only do you have an angry customer who has paid for an illuminated sign which isn’t working but you also have to replace the battery. Materials, time and labor costs are your enemy.

So are are the choices?

1. Don’t worry about it and take the risk? Not sure that’s a good answer.

2. Keep an eye on it? Apart from sending a person on-site to check every night, the location might make it very difficult to get to All good intentions but seldom continues in the mid to long term.

3. Utilize a monitoring solution of some sort.

There are several types of monitoring systems.

1. Local – where a person visits the site, takes a reading either by IR, WiFi, or Bluetooth. So its a very labor intensive procedure and the information still has to be interrupted.

2. Remote – where the system can be monitored from a distant location with WiFi or 3-4g.

There is a significant problem with monitoring.

Monitoring is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. You can see it but there’s nothing you can do about it.

This is where management is so important. Being able to firstly monitor the situation to determine what is going on is only part of the solution. Next you need to assess the weather conditions and make a determination as to if the weather pattern is short or long term.

The two things you know for sure are the load watts and the time that it is supposed to operate for. This give the total daily load.

The goal is to give the customer the best and brightest illumination for the longest time at the most important times of the day/night all while protecting the battery.

With this and a whole bunch of other information including the battery condition, management allows the system to automatically reprogram itself to achieve these goals.