Solar Panel Control - Reading my electric meter?
In your solar panel control of performance, your electric meter is good place to start finding out how much power your solar panels are producing, or how much power you’re using currently,in order to do that, you have to know how to read your electric meter and understand kilowatt-hours.
Utility meters are either analog or digital.
Digital meters are quite easy to read as your cumulative consumption is on bold digital numbers on the front. You can easily calculate daily, weekly, or monthly usage in Kilowatt-hours (KWh) by writing down the number with a date attached, waiting, and then subtracting it from a future number and date.
In your solar panel control of performance a analog meter also can help you which is readable. It usually has five dials with numbers from 0 to 9 and a needle or marker; if the marker is between two numbers, write down the lower number (unless it is between 0 to 9, then write down 9).
Write down the dial numbers from the left to right, and the complete number will correspond with your cumulative kWh usage. Mark this down with the date and come back later.
To understand what this number on your electric meter is saying, it is useful to look at the examples of hot water heaters and PV panels. A normal electric hot water heater will draw 4.500 watts, or 4.5 kilowatts, while it is on.
In your solar panel control, if it is on for 2 hours a day, it will consume 2 hours x 4, 5 kW = 9 KWh of electricity. On the flip side of the equation, look at a 2,000-watt (or 2 kW) PV array. A 2 kW PV array, which can be made up of ten 200-watt panels ( each solar panel about three by five feet), produces approximately 2 kW of DC power when the sun shines on it.
So, if you have five sunny hours in a day, your array will produce approximately 5 hours x 2 kW = 10 kWh of electricity in a day (the actual AC energy produced will slightly lower, because of conversion from DC to AC and other environmental factors).
Just because the water heater needs 4,500 watts and the PV array produces 2,000 watts doesn’t mean the time element is crucial to understand. In this example the hot water heater draws 4.5 kWh and consumes 9kWh in a day, while the 2 kWh PV array can produce 10kWh.
So, a solar panel control is important if you have already installed, but keep in mind this, it is recommendable before installing any kind of home solar panel to do the reading process and check your electric bill coming every month. One more thing, you can also contact your electricity provider to see if you can find the average for homes in your area from comparison. If your consumption exceeds the local average, determine why.
One source of information on electricity consumption is a house hold meter (such as The Energy Detective) these are becoming popular with environmentally folks. For individual appliances, especially ones that cycle on and off like a refrigerator or freezer, a plug-in meter the Kill-a-Watt can provide cumulative data.
I think if you are equipped with a few meter readings and some historical data from your bills, along with awareness of the power needs of your major appliances, you can start to get a sense of how much electricity your home is using and how to provide this with solar energy using home solar panels.
Besides others factors that are necessary to consider before installing solar power, this information data will also play a role in determining if it is worth or not to spend in home solar panels.
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