Solar smart meters have received a lot of attention recently in the energy industry. They offer a way to gain insights into our solar power systems and even change the way we think about energy. But, before purchasing and installing one of these meters in our homes, consumers need to understand exactly what it does and how we can best take advantage of its features.
So what is a solar smart meter? Is it better than other options or older meters? What are the advantages of having a solar smart meter? This article will address all of these questions, so buckle up and read on to find out.
What is a Solar Smart Meter?
A solar smart meter is a device that measures the electricity you produce, consume, and export to the grid. The meter sends this information to your electricity provider. These are the basic tasks that it undertakes, but there is more to it. Moreover, the way a smart solar meter actually performs these tasks is quite impressive.
The way a smart meter measures the electricity you produce from your solar power system is very useful. Analogue or older meters don’t provide figures for the exact amount of energy that you produce. They simply show you that you are producing more energy than you are using by spinning backward, or not enough energy, when it spins forward and draws power from the grid.
A solar smart meter will give you exact figures, so you’ll know precisely how much energy you’re producing.
Your smart meter will provide overall figures for the amount of energy that you are consuming. These figures will tell you how much you’re going to end up spending on power from the grid, depending on how much electricity your solar system is producing. It will also accurately measure how much excess energy you are exporting back to the grid. This function allows you to know how much feed-in tariff to expect each quarter.
What are the benefits of having a Solar Smart Meter?
A solar smart meter delivers several significant benefits for homes and businesses that choose to install this piece of technology. These benefits include:
No more estimated bills, you pay only for the electricity you use
If you’re familiar with traditional meters, you’ll know or remember that a meter reader will come to your house every two or three months to check on your electricity usage. This is because older, analogue electricity meters are unable to provide data directly to the energy provider. With this in mind, the estimation is then based on your home’s previous usage pattern. With a smart meter, you’ll be providing your energy provider with energy data every 30 minutes. By the end of the month, you’ll pay exactly for what you use, nothing more and nothing less.
Efficiency opportunities and potential cost savings
A solar smart meter comes with precise tracking technology, which gives real-time insights into the amount of energy you are producing. This gives you the ability to make better-informed decisions to be more efficient with your power use, and make the most of any potential savings. This might include actions like adjusting the tilt of your solar panels, fine-tuning the panels’ alignment, or identifying energy-sapping issues promptly.
Some solar smart meters also offer online monitoring applications. These let you track your energy data in real time. They offer up user-friendly statistics, let you access a wealth of information effortlessly, and give you the flexibility to monitor your energy production from anywhere.
What does a Solar Smart Meter look like?
Solar smart meters come in various sizes and designs. In general, they usually have an LCD digital display – similar to the display you usually find in digital watches. Unlike an analogue meter which only shows you a mechanical display with the amount of energy you have consumed, a solar smart meter will switch between a few different readings, displaying each one for about five or six seconds.
How to read a Solar Smart Meter?
Different brands come with different smart meters. The readings of each smart meter vary from one another, so the instructions provided below will only give you a rough idea of how to read a smart meter in general.
The first thing to do is to locate your solar smart meter. It’s usually installed at the front or the back of your house. Once you find it, you’ll see a display with a button to scroll through all the readings. In this case, let’s say we’re using Fronius Smart Meter 63A-3.
As you can see, it’s an 8-digit screen with a decimal point between the sixth and seventh digits. A smart meter is read from left to right. So all you have to do is read the numbers on the LCD from left to right, ignoring any numbers after the decimal point. In this preview, the reading is 658kWh as it shows the number 000658.00.
You’ll also notice that there’s a letter below “kWh” – either a “T” or “R”. “T” means the amount of electricity you draw from the grid, while “R” means the amount of energy you export to the grid. You can change the reading by pressing the “>” or arrow button at the bottom-right corner of the screen.
You can see the rest of the readings by scrolling through the display using the arrow button. The additional readings provide a comprehensive overview of your energy consumption and production patterns, including real-time data on voltage, current, and power factor. Most smart meters will have a similar function.
The last word
So, now we’ve answered the question ‘what is a solar smart meter’! We also know what it does, and the benefits that it offers. Understanding more about these meters ensures that homeowners can stay fully informed about their energy use and production. This information is invaluable in helping you create a better energy management plan and reduce your energy consumption.