What Does it Mean to Commission a Solar Panel System?
As you do your research on solar panels, you may hear the term 'commissioning' solar panels. Some neighbors you've spoken to or internet research may lead you to that term- but what does that mean? In a nutshell, commissioning a solar panel system is the process of running all the proper system checks and tests to insure that the solar panels and inverters are all working properly. Some companies may do this on a different day with a technician. Here at Integrity Solar Solutions, we do it the same day as the installation. When the last solar panel is fastened to your roof, we begin this process. The commissioning process is broken down into 3 main steps below and takes 30-60 minutes. The 3 steps are: pairing the solar panels, updating the system, and securing a monitoring connection.
Pairing The Solar Panels to the Inverter
The first step is to pair the solar panels to the central inverter. This only has to be done once before the solar panels can begin giving information and energy to the inverter. To do this, the solar panels need some sunlight to be able to power up. Depending the season, time of the day and amount of sunlight available, this should generally be done about 1 hour before sunset. Once the 'pairing' command has been initiated by our technician, the central inverter will begin to scan and read the solar panels on the roof. The serial number of each of the solar panels will then be recorded into the inverter and a record of each panel will be visible on the customer facing portal. Within 30 minutes, all of the solar panels should be scanned and the inverter screen will show the total count of panels. For example 27 of 27, depending on how many panels have been installed. In the future, if any panels that were originally scanned goes down for any reason, it will show one less of the total. For example: 26 of 27 reading. See screen shot:
Updating the Solar System with the most Up to Date Firmware
The next step is updating the firmware of the inverter. Just like your phone or your computer when it updates, the solar inverters also occasionally get updates to their system. After the initial update, all future updates can be done remotely, which is why the next step (paragraph below) is so important.
Monitoring Communication and Remote Access
The final step is to connect the system to the internet! This ensures that the solar company and also the customer can watch their system produce energy and count the kWh of electricity (and bill savings). Being able to watch the system is very important and insures that the system is working continuously, but another important reason that the system should be connected is so any system updates can be done remotely. See the screen shot below which shows the system connecting to the internet:
For more information on the entire process of going solar from start finish, feel free to give us a call at 845-584-3100 ext 1 (ask for John).
(845) 584-3100 ext. 1
28 New Hempstead Road, Suite F New City NY, 10956 Serving NY and NJ www.integritysolarsolutions.com Orange and Rockland Contractor License #: H-18092
Westchester Contractor License #: WC-35479-H22 NJ State Contractor License: 13VH10369100 NYSERDA Registration Number: 86716