Green Energy Application: Solar Data Acquisition Sensor

Homes, schools and businesses across the nation are benefiting from new federal and state solar energy rebates and tax credits to cut their energy costs. Dataloggers are the best way to record the wattage capacity of the solar device and compare it with what has been promised.

Presently, Electrocorder and CAS DataLoggers have the right solution for these green energy applications, which are its new range of solar data loggers. It is possible to perform the company’s own energy audit to help the building qualify for a rebate program or to find savings areas on existing installations. Figure 1 shows the solar data logger.

Solar data logger

Figure 1. Solar data logger

Key Features of the Solar Data Logger

The main features of the solar data logger are:

  • The new datalogger records solar irradiation up to 1,500W/m2 (watts per square meter) and DC current/voltage produced by the solar panel.

  • This model is specifically designed to accurately monitor one or two DC voltage channels from 1V to 60Vdc, enabling users to view photovoltaic cell output and see current and voltage curves during the day.

  • PV systems are recorded by the data logger with an output of up to 300V Vdc and up to 100A current.

  • The data logger will store an average voltage and current if applied over a selected period from 1s to 60min and will record VAvg, VMax & VMin on 2 channels.

  • All voltage levels are stored with dates and times to zero in on data.

The kit includes :

  • The solar datalogger itself
  • 2 fused voltage input leads
  • a Pyranometer to measure solar irradiance
  • a DC current probe
  • a USB lead for connection to PC
  • an External 12Vdc PSU for prolonged datalogging without batteries
  • ElectroSoft analysis software to view and printout the data

Saving Energy Costs with a Data Logger

Listed below are three ways to save on energy costs using a data logger.

Qualify for Alternative Energy Rebates

Green energy rebate programs are an excellent way to begin cutting costs. The federal government and several states are offering financial incentives to help afford solar energy system installations. The solar data logger is an economical way to help in qualifying for these rebates and on approval, savings are obtained. The free Electrosoft software helps in proving that systems are performing as promised and to show financiers that one is in complete compliance with regulations.

The rating of the datalogger is IP65 for indoor and outdoor use and it is possible to record for up to 300 days or 4 weeks with its backup battery. Setting up the solar editor is easy even for semi-technical staff. The location’s details can be input by the user into the unit’s memory by the users. Data is stored in the DC power logger’s non-volatile memory with a capacity of 32,000 TRMS voltage values per channel (10 bit), offering continuous recording for extended periods.

It is possible to upload stored data to a PC through the supplied USB cable where users can view the recorded voltage levels, dates and times in both tabular and graphical form, export the same to a spreadsheet, or save them to file. Users can also print graphs showing the recorded levels and the allowable tolerance bands as proof of actual system performance. Electrosoft also offers an internal database which effectively manages the distribution of multiple units.

Overcharging by the Installer

Using CAS solar data logger one can easily find out whether the solar power systems are performing as promised and can verify if the installer is overcharging or not.

With a close eye on the energy generation of the facility and by actual patterns of use, overcharging will not be done again. With Electrocorder, printouts and graphs can be produced as proof to see if the promised savings are really there and prove it to the financiers and this important when federal or state money is involved.

CAS electrocorder products use a constant sampling technique to sample continuously each channel 16 times per cycle or sampling every 16ms. This is compared against the single reading of competing data loggers which take a single sample but then go back to sleep, missing nearly all the important data. The electrocorder logger saves three quantities for each channel at the end of each averaging period, which are the Max, the highest cycle value during the period, the Min, the lowest cycle value and the TRMS average.

Finding New Areas for Savings

The solar logger can be used in several other applications to find more ways for energy cost savings. DC Motors, charging circuits can be monitored and it is possible to use many other submetering and voltage optimization techniques.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by CAS Dataloggers Inc.

For more information on this source, please visit CAS Dataloggers Inc.

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