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Resource

Here is a quick resource on common system issues and questions regarding the operation of your solar system.

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Solar Panel Installation

Enphase Microinverter Solar Monitoring

Enphase microinverters are Barrett Solar’s Inverter of choice so if you have gone solar with us or you will be having us install a system for you chances are you will end up with Enphase microinverters. As discussed in our article on Solar Inverters there are multiple advantages that come with installing microinverters one of which is the panel level monitoring you will have access to. Since you will have an individual microinverter installed on every panel of your system Enphase’s monitoring technology allows the data from each panel to be tracked and reported back to your Enphase Envoy communications unit.

Common Solar System Operation Questions Answered

Home screen

As you log into your home screen you will find an overview of your systems performance. On the right you can see all components of this system are currently operating normally. In the center diagram we can see the solar system’s production, the home’s total energy consumption, and a battery storage system’s current charge.
energy data solar panel monitoring

Energy Data

By selecting the Energy option on the top menu you will now be able to view your systems performance in a graph by day, week, month, year, lifetime or a custom selected date range. On the right we can see that this homeowner is 98% energy independent and we can see the dollar value of the energy this system has produced during the time frame selected. Top center of the screen we can see the same diagram as the home page but with all the data for the selected timeframe. Just below you can view a bar graph of system production.

Array Data

By selecting the Array option on the top menu you will now be able to view your systems performance at the panel level. This allows you to easily identify the production of each panel in your array. As you can see in this example the panels that face south produce slightly more than the panels facing to the west. If you ever experience an issue with one of your panels this is the screen which you will easily be able to locate exactly which panel is down.
array data solar panel monitoring

Common Solar System Operation
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From time to time, you will want to verify that your solar system is operating and producing power as it should be. There are a couple of ways for you to do this:

      1. Probably the easiest way to verify your system is producing power normally is to log into your monitoring app and check the current status of your system. Your system’s status will show right on your main monitoring page. In the top left, you will see your overall system status and on the right, you will see your device statuses. Customer Resource
      2. The second way to verify your system is operating normally is to check the indicator lights on your Enphase IQ combiner. This device is either located on the outside of your home by your meter or if you have a ground mount, out on the back of your ground mount array. Here is what it looks like:Customer Resource
      3. Once you locate your combiner you will want to open up the unit by unlocking the clasps on the right side. Once open this is what you will see:Customer ResourceVerify the lights in the top right corner are green. Also, check your cell kit making sure the lights on that are also green. (You may have to cup your hands over this one. The light is very faint.)For a full description of what your Envoy status lights mean refer to this website: https://support.enphase.com/s/article/Envoy-LED-status-meaning

Once your system is producing power and you are familiar with your monitoring app it is important to understand how you will be billed by your utility company. First and foremost you need to understand that as your solar system produces energy it feeds this energy to your home first. Your home will use as much of your system's power as a priority over your utility company’s power. In most cases when the sun is shining your system will produce more power than your home needs and in this case, you send your excess power to the grid.

Because of this your utility company will not be able to see your system’s total production. They only see the power that you send to them.

A common misconception is that your bill with the utility company will show your total home’s power consumption minus your total solar production. Do not be alarmed if the solar production amount on your bill is less than your total production found on your monitoring app. As described above this is not the case. Your bill will have these two readings:

      1. Total kWh Delivered to Customer (Amount of power pulled from the grid when you need it)
      2. Total kWh Received from Customer (Amount of power fed into the grid when your panels are producing MORE than you need) The difference between these two readings is what you will be billed for.
        Customer Resource

Depending on your equipment installed there are two ways to discover your home's total consumption.

If you have consumption CTs installed

      1. As a part of most Enphase installations, you will have consumption monitoring as a feature of your new system. Simply log into your app and you will see your home's consumption data. You will be able to see how much of your solar power you have consumed as well as how much utility power you needed.

If you do not have consumption CTs installed

      1. In some cases, we cannot install CTs on your system. For most ground mounts or installations where your breaker panel is located too far from your combiner panel, we cannot install consumption CTs on your project. If this is the case for you you can still use your monitoring app and your utility bill to figure out how much power your home consumes each month with just a little math. Here is how you calculate your home's total consumption:

Total System Production (From App) + Total kWh Delivered (From Bill) - Total kWh Received (From Bill) = Total Home consumption

When filing for eligible tax credits, Barrett Solar always recommends using a tax professional to make sure everything is filed correctly. We are not tax professionals so we cannot help you file your taxes however claiming an eligible tax credit from your solar project is fairly easy. Here is the 2021 IRS Form 5695 you will need while filing for your eligible tax credit.

Common service fixes you can handle at home
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If you find that your system is not producing power or you have the error that your “envoy is not reporting” there are a couple of quick steps for you to troubleshoot your system.

      1. First check your AC disconnect switch located next to your meter. Ensure that this is flipped to the on position.
      2. Next check your enphase combiner panel. Ensure that all the breakers in your combiner are flipped to the on position. A lot of times a breaker might have tripped and all that is needed is a quick reset.
      3. While you are inside your combiner panel also verify the blue cell kit which plugs in via USB is on and showing a green indicator light. You may have to cup your hands over this one. The light is very faint. If your cell kit is not on, unplug the USB cable from your combiner, wait a few moments then plug it back in to reboot the cell kit.
      4. If you have completed all these steps and your system is still not on referring to #4 below “Blown AC disconnect fuse”
        1.  

If your monitoring app is showing that you have a group of panels not reporting then it's likely that a breaker in your combiner panel has been tripped. Head out to your combiner panel, open it up and ensure that all your breakers are flipped to the on position. Feel free to flip all your breakers to the off position and then back on to reset your system. Wait 5-10 minutes and you should see green indicator lights. Note it may take 24hours for your app to report the problem is resolved. If you still have a group of panels down and you have completed these steps you may need to open a service ticket so we can help you resolve the issue. See how at the bottom of this page.

  1. First, know that since you have micro-inverters each panel is capable of producing power at different levels. This is a huge advantage over string inverters but does cause unnecessary alarm in cases when one panel is not pricing as much as others. The first step is to monitor this panel over time. Allow up to a month of production to see if the panel levels out with the ones around it. Sometimes just switching your view from one day to a week or month will indicate that there is no reason for alarm and your panel is fine. If you have watched this panel over the course of a month or longer and it is still producing less the panels around it try to identify any obstruction that may be blocking sunlight from hitting the panel throughout the day. A prime example may be a tree that casts a shadow or even a roof obstruction like a vent or chimney. Even if this one panel is shaded for a brief moment throughout the day it will produce less than a panel that receives direct sunlight all day.
  2. If there is no obstruction to note and the panel is still producing less find out how much less its producing. If this is under a 10kwh difference per month then it's likely there is no reason for a replacement. If your panel is producing over 10kwh less then you can reach out to both Enphase and your panel manufacturer to file a warranty claim. When accepted they will ship you a replacement which at that time you can contact Barrett Solar to replace the equipment for you.

In rare cases a surge from your utility company which often occurs if the grid goes down then back on can cause one or more of the fuses in your AC disconnect to blow. If this is the case then a simple test of the fuses and replacing the blown fuse will fix your system. Because the fuses are located between live wires we recommend that you use a licensed electrician to check these for you. If you are electrically inclined and assume the liability for any harm or damage that could arise from checking and replacing these yourself here are the steps you could take:

      1. Open the AC disconnect panel. Your fuses will be easily identified
      2. Look closely at each fuse. A blown fuse can easily be identified by a burnt or blown connection inside the fuse.
      3. If you cannot verify the condition of the fuse by taking a close look then grab a multimeter to check each one. Steps to check fuses with a multimeter can be found here.
      4. Once identified make sure you replace the blown fuse with an identical size fuse. Do not install a fuse that is larger than your originally installed fuses. This could cause your wires to be overloaded and can lead to hazardous conditions.

Issues with your system that may require a service tech
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If one or more of your panels are not producing power and you have followed all the steps to verify your system operation then it is likely the microinverter for that panel has gone bad. For this, you will want to contact Enphase immediately so they can send you a replacement under warranty. Once you receive the new microinverter reach out to us so we can schedule a time to come replace your inverter.

Your whole system is off and you have completed the steps shown above to eliminate a self fix

Click Here to contact us about your service issue.tyler@barrettsolar.com

Please include a description of the problem you are experiencing and include any pictures that are relevant.

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Solar Incentives & Rebates

Solar Incentives & rebates are available – Solar rebates and incentives vary depending on where you live. In Kansas and Missouri, the largest incentive available is the 26% federal investment tax credit (ITC) which allows you to deduct 26% of the cost of your solar energy system from your taxes. Certain municipalities and utilities also offer cash rebates and other incentives. If you are a business in a rural area or a farmer, the USDA offers grants as well.

Barrett Solar has helped homeowners receive over 4.5 million dollars in eligible tax incentives and over $400K in local utility rebates.

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I checked a lot of solar companies and Barrett was the most reasonable. They explained everything and answered all my crazy questions. When I wanted to change the solar panel brand, they didn’t hesitate and let me buy Canadian instead of Germany or anywhere else. They did a super job installing it. They even took care of our metal roof snow guards.
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Your Solar Monitoring
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