OnYourRoof in action!
We expect your panels were probably bought with at least the next 10 years in mind. So the website is here for the long term to support its users and would hope that early on in its life we do not have too many problems to solve. Its first goal is to build a big database so our users can have ever more accurate and reliable benchmarks to assess how their panels are performing over time. So it came as a bit of a surprise to be called into action by our very first user!
Last year I agreed to assist a local tennis club in evaluating the possibility of going solar. It ended up as a small project that needed careful management. It was actually this project that inspired the creation of OnYourRoof.com. So no surprise that the Club’s now successfully installed system was one of the first users of OnYourRoof.com. Through the 2012 summer we have been using data from the club and my home panels to test OnYourRoof.com before launching it to the wider public.
During these test in July we were updating readings from the club on a weekly basis. At the end of the last week in July we noticed a sudden drop in yield versus my home panels. Alerted by the OnYourRoof performance data we checked the Club’s inverter monitoring history and sure enough there were solar power ‘outages’ most afternoons that week! This was a real surprise suggesting that some component in the system had an intermittent but recurring catastrophic failure. So we got the installer to check out the inverter the day after we noticed the problem.
After the installer’s visit, he reported there was nothing wrong with the inverter and that any problem was associated with monitoring rather than the inverter itself. There was a suggestion that the club could be liable for the costs of his visit. Thanks to OnYourRoof data we were able to refute the installer’s story by:
- proving the yields from the Club were some 50% lower than expected by looking at yield from my home panels over the same period.
- reconciling the OnYourRoof data with the club meter readings taken for the last FIT payment we showed that the monitoring accurately reflected what was on the generation meter.
So eventually the Installer acknowledged that we had suffered a genuine financial loss and that at the very least we were entitled to a more thorough investigation by the installer at no cost to ourselves. (At the time of writing this I’m pleased to report the problem has not recurred since the installer’s check up of the Inverter).
So the message is clear : protect your investment in solar power by using the power of information collected by people you can trust – householders like yourself. This is the power of using OnYourRoof.com and why it can help protect your solar investment in the years ahead.