Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Power Monitoring

As we get ready for the solar panel installation, I've been looking into power monitoring systems. I'm going with the Brultech ECM-1240. This is their 2nd generation energy monitor and has been very popular with the Cocoontech crowd so it has been well tested in the real world. Brultech Support has been very helpful responding to my emails with timely replies. I am looking at purchasing Package A, which comes with the monitor, 2 200A split core current transformers (CTs) and 5 MicroCTs. I'll also need 8 more MicroCTs and possibly a couple of the 80 amp MicroCTs (for our AC unit).

We have a main panel with the electric meter that services the AC unit and a sub-panel inside our house. Everything else is fed from the sub-panel, so that's where the ECM-1240 will be. It will be easier because I can shut off the main breaker to the sub-panel, whereas the main panel has no shut off. The less I muck around in there, the better. I will have to connect the CTs from the AC breakers to the ECM-1240 upstairs by the sub-panel. The CTs can be routed over Cat-5, I just need to figure out how to get the CT wires out from the main panel and into my garage, but that can wait until the solar guys do the install. Maybe their electrician can help me out.

As for the solar install, we've finally decided on an array size, an inverter & an installer, but I'm waiting for the data access to be finalized before signing the contract. I've chosen not to use the ECM-1240 to monitor the solar array as I am working with the solar installer on getting access to the inverter via an RS232 add on board. They've been very responsive so far and hopefully this item will be resolved soon.

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