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Members, we want your opinion!

  • 1.  Members, we want your opinion!

    ASES Committee Member
    Posted 06-15-2021 09:15 AM

    Currently there are apps that show you how much energy your PV array is producing but it only looks at your array. You aren't able to see if your array is producing similar results of your neighbors or other solar owners in your area. ASES is contemplating creating a network to track and compare your personal energy generation to others in your area and across the nation. The solar owners would input their data into the platform and would be able to compare their generation on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis to others. This platform would connect with the ASES Online Community so members could engage with one another, ask questions and get information. Before we proceed further with this idea, we wanted to get our members' thoughts and opinions first - would you be interested in tracking the energy generation from your solar system to a network to compare to other solar homeowners locally and nationwide? If so, how often do you feel you will input data into the platform? 

    Narelle Kipple
    Membership & Programs Coordinator
    American Solar Energy Society

  • 2.  RE: Members, we want your opinion!

    Posted 06-16-2021 09:19 AM


    It would seem wise to further any effort that will consolidate the voice of America's solar community. I do not know how our "whole" would stack up against utilities, but I imagine it is now favorable and will continue to be.


    All that said, the challenge is to make the upload process super easy. Do you think the inverter manufacturers could agree on the form and structure of an "ASES Upload"? Maybe you get a monthly reminder. The easier it is, the better ... right?  



    Best regards,


    Jamey Green Sig 163x82


    James W. ' Jamey' Johnston

    BizDev | Vector Structural Engineering, LLC

    O--801.990.1775 | james@vectorse.com | M--801.598.7819

    www.vectorsolar.com | www.vectorse.com

    651 West Galena Park Blvd. Suite 101, Draper, UT 84020





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  • 3.  RE: Members, we want your opinion!

    Posted 06-21-2021 10:38 AM
    Dear Solar Energy Advocates,
    Most larger US solar panel companies have monitoring programs for the panels they sell and provide the daily internet collected production information to their clients, thus most of us already have that information.
    There are many variables that affect actual production so comparison to others locally isn't very useful. 
    However, comparison to what sunshine energy is available for capture in the region would prove interesting for each month of the year, in part to confirm our panels are working correctly (as backup to the manufacturer's monitoring.
    ASES used to publish a chart of solar availability in Solar Today, but hasn't recently. That could be a standard feature.
    David Stout, Angola, NY

  • 4.  RE: Members, we want your opinion!

    Posted 06-16-2021 09:25 AM

    Speaking as a computer person who has designed a lot of software over the years, my first reaction to this is, "what is the purpose of this app?"

    This app doesn't seem to have much to do with the technical operation of your own array, as far as I can see. 

    So, I take this to be more of a social app, helping people feel connected to others with similar interests (i.e., a home array).  This is not a terrible idea.  But I have to wonder whether these production numbers are a good way to connect.  What does it mean if my array is slightly more or less efficient than yours?  Who knows?  It doesn't matter very much, really.

    Worse, this is an invitation to compete, which some people will enjoy, but others will not.  This may or may not be what you are shooting for.  (And, of course, someone might want to bet on the results.  Sigh.)

    This app also collects data that might be commercially valuable.  Maybe.  If so, that needs to be made clear, and any use of the data should be opted into.

    My own view is that it would be more interesting to report total production for a community or area.  I.e., make it a team sport.  And it would be best if the "score" isn't something to compare to the town next door, but something like a progress meter, e.g., how close to net-zero or something like that.  This might also have some kind of community target, e.g., a goal for production this year.  And then you can have a parade and picnic to celebrate when the team hits the mark.

    Anyway, that's my two cents worth.


    Robert McGrath
    Software Engineer (retired)
    University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

  • 5.  RE: Members, we want your opinion!

    Posted 06-16-2021 10:04 AM
    Why wouldn't ASES create that type of platform for its members?  Would it be excessively expensive and/or time-consuming? If not, do it. But please make the information available to all ASES members. Some members buy electricity from commercial solar generators or obtain it from community solar farms. They should still be able to access the information, as long as they are ASES members.

    Mark H. Witte

    Mark Witte
    Mark H. Witte Consulting, LLC

  • 6.  RE: Members, we want your opinion!

    Posted 06-16-2021 10:06 AM
    I would not be interested, there are too many factors that would skew the numbers, angle, position, orientation, trees. I don't see a need for it.  

    Terry "T-Bone" McCauley
    Sounds Great Enterprises, Inc.

    Technical Director
    Stuart's Opera House
    Nelsonville, Ohio

    Production Manager
    Nelsonville Music Festival
    Hocking College
    Nelsonville, Ohio

    Audio Engineer for Ohio University &
    Templeton Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium

    TNT Backline, LLC

    Office 740-593-5131
    Cell 740-590-0812

  • 7.  RE: Members, we want your opinion!

    Posted 06-16-2021 10:13 AM
    My opinion of monitoring is the numbers are interesting and the displays, too.  My sister monitored hers for a few years.  I have Enphase and solar world on my Oahu house.  Enphase gives me a monthly summary of the power generated and compares this to trees.  However, I think they use East Coast trees and my house is in Hawaii.   Hawaiian Electric gives me a small refund on the power generated.

    All is this is nice, but like my sister and from my initial enthusiasm I find the tracking desire wears off quickly.  The photovoltaic system works just like the solar water system and life has more interesting items for my attention.   Having controls in the house is the same.  I see all these 'neat' gadgets at trade-fairs, and then after using a few I find my interest turns to other items leaving me with the conclusion that installing is good, checking initial functioning is needed, and occasional checking/maintenance, but really just let them run without investing in tracking that shortly will become of little interest.

    Dale Bickenbach
    Tacoma WA

  • 8.  RE: Members, we want your opinion!

    Posted 06-16-2021 10:37 AM

    I have been  using www.pvoutput.org to do this same thing, compare to my neighbors for the past 8 years. It works great to make nice graphs of any time period for comparison. And it computes the efficiency so its easy to compare with neighbors who have different array sizes. Your PV can automatically upload your system outputs every day, or manually input as you are proposing. Here is my house compared to a neighbor:

    Compare SunWizard's house 8.250kW vs mashNET-PV-1 5.500kW

    Pvoutput remove preview
    Compare SunWizard's house 8.250kW vs mashNET-PV-1 5.500kW
    PVOutput.org - share, compare and monitor live solar photovoltaic output data
    View this on Pvoutput >

    curt busby

  • 9.  RE: Members, we want your opinion!

    Chapter Leader
    Posted 06-16-2021 11:09 AM
    u might want to contact enphase ( and possibly others) since they maintain a website "enlighten" where owners who opt in to public display can have their data shared

    Sent from my iPhone

  • 10.  RE: Members, we want your opinion!

    Posted 06-16-2021 12:14 PM
    I have 3 different systems with 3 different sets of inverters - 2 (independent ones) from Outback Power and one from Enphase.  I could do the data collection and reporting and at first it would be interesting to see how much production there is in my area but after awhile the novelty might wear off and the reporting would be just another unnecessary chore for me to drop.  Maybe a trial period would help us generators evaluate our willingness to keep up the data collection.

    Mike Curran
    Retired from (dare I say it?) Fossil Plant Mgt.

  • 11.  RE: Members, we want your opinion!

    Posted 06-16-2021 01:13 PM
    Edited by william fitch 06-16-2021 01:19 PM
    Hummm. In Pa. I enter my total monthly production into the PJM (GATS) system for SREC value. Since I have been in solar for so long and given my overall background, I have tons of data on all the various energy projects I have done for my current residence/business. My point I guess is a bit like some of the commenters thoughts, at first it holds your interest then not so much. Currently I am tracking how many minutes a day my new Geo heat pump runs to compare it to the two I just removed. Very pleased so far. I will do it through the Summer then will probably stop. My inverter has a USB port for a thumb drive and I have a 512MB one in there which records the inverter output every 5 minutes. I pull it now and then, dump to my workstation and look at what I want.
    As I have mentioned in another post, I live in a pretty sparse area and the Demographic is not exactly, me. Salt water fish in a fresh water pond. Conclusion would be I suppose, it really doesn't matter to me one way or another. Im sure there would be some people who could have fun with it. You could come up with a yearly "Electron Trophy" for the highest producer....lol...

    william fitch

  • 12.  RE: Members, we want your opinion!

    Posted 06-16-2021 05:42 PM
    I like this idea. I would be glad to input data at least weekly or bi weekly. I currently look at my production on SolarEdge Monitor Portal. Also I have access to my local utility Website portal which shows my net energy usage.

    Thanks, Glenn