An energy monitor is a device that measures the amount of energy being used in the home, it is designed to give you a visual indication of how much you are consuming. A solar pv energy monitor is essentially an energy monitoring device that can also show you how much energy is being generated by your solar panels.
The Wattson is the only monitor designed to monitor both electricity generated and used at the same time so it is the only monitor if you want to do both. I like the display of the GEO Solo, it's smart and compact and is my choice if you just want to measure the amount of power your solar panels are generating. The OWL is the best budget choice, it look ugly but does the job at a much lower price.
Display both solar power genrated and electricity consumed.
Designed specifically to monitor solar power generated, best looking.
The best monitor if you are on a budget.
Things you may want to know about solar energy monitors.
Will monitor both power generated by your solar panels and show you how much electricity you use in the home on one device.
The Wattson solar plus (watts on), not to be confused with older versions, is an energy monitor that both shows your household energy usage and how much electricity your solar panels are generating.
The Wattson utilises a sensor clip that needs to be fitted around the cables from your consumer meter and your solar inverter. These clips are then connected via a wire to a transmitter that sends out a wireless signal that the display unit then picks up.
One of the more useful features of the solar plus in addition to the numeric display is the glowing light that glows so you can instantly see when you are generating more solar power than you are using in the home. Having this type of feature makes it easy to see when you could switch on more appliances to use up some of your surplus electricity, great for people with free solar panels.
Will only measure the energy generated by your solar panels, you will need a separate monitor to show how much electricity you use in the home.
The GEO solo is a smart little unit that has been in development and testing for a while now but has finally been released. It looks much like a smart phone in a stylish shiny black with a colour screen. Once set up it tells you how much energy your solar panels are generating.
The Solo PV works with pulse generation meters, these are the ones that have a flashing LED light on the front. The main types of meter that the GEO solo pv solar energy monitor is compatible with include the Elster A100c, Landis+Gyr 5235 and Iskra ME372 (used by A Shade Greener). A supplied LED reader fits over the light and attached to the transmitter, this sends out a signal that is picked up by the GEO display which can be located most anywhere in your house.
Will measure power generated by your panels but you will need to buy another Owl monitor to measure your household energy consumption as well.
The CM160 is the latest energy monitor from OWL, as mentioned above it can be used for either monitoring the power generated by your solar panels or for monitoring how much electricity you use in the home but not both. You would need to buy two separate units to measure power generated or power used.
This version of the OWL, the CM160, has a USB connector to allow you to connect your monitor to your computer (not Apple Macintosh compatible) and transfer the stored usage data. The supplied software then allows you to see your energy usage in a more user friendly way and dig deeper into your usage patterns.
You get a sensor clip, a transmitter and a monitor display. The sensor clips around the live mains cable between your meter and fusebox if you are setting it up to monitor power used in the home. The sensor is connected to the transmitter whose signal can then be picked up by the OWL display. The only difference for setting up the monitor to measure solar power produced is where the sensor clip is placed. You get instructions on how to set up the unit.
The monitors themselves do not save you money, their purpose is to make you more aware of the energy that you are using and therefore identify areas where you can save. Some studies, although I have been unable to find the data online, show that you can save up to 25% on your electricity bills. The average savings from one study shows an average of 19.5% with the Wattson energy monitor. I do believe however the data was based on a study done where the participants were actively trying to reduce the amount of electricity they were using in their homes.
There have been offers from energy companies that have offered to provide an electricity monitor free if you are a customer and you may have to switch to a specific tariff to get one. These monitors however will not show you how much electricity your solar panels are generating.
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