What a PV Monitoring App Should be able to Do

by Vivian Bullinger | 29.04.2019

Anyone who owns a PV system and has it monitored by a professional PV monitoring device or energy management system also wants to stay up to date while on the move. The apps of so-called PV energy management systems offer numerous functions for this purpose. In this article, we will show you which are the most important and what you need to consider in terms of data security.

Every app used to monitor the yield of a PV system should offer these four essential points:

  1. Recording of all relevant data.
  2. Information to the operator in case of irregularities.
  3. Simple visualization of yield and plant data.
  4. Data security.

1. Recording of all Relevant Data

In this function of the app, first of all you should know what the relevant PV plant data are and how to use them.

The most important values of a PV plant are:

  • Production
  • Feed-in
  • Self-consumption
  • Grid consumption

These values are determined by the energy management system. To do this, it must first be installed and configured accordingly (more on this in our article "The 1×1 to PV monitoring"). Once the data logger has been installed and the software configured, the values for production, feed-in, self-consumption, and grid consumption are output. Of course, feed-in, self-consumption, and grid consumption only occur when these processes take place. That is, when the system feeds in PV electricity, when the PV electricity is consumed directly on site and/or when electricity is drawn from the public grid.

What Lies Behind the Relevant Data

So why does one do all this data collection? The main reason is often money, because those who operate a PV system usually do not do it for fun. A plant is an investment object that has to perform.

The most important value is therefore productivity. The production value tells us whether the PV system actually produces the predicted solar power. What is produced must be further processed or converted into an added value. One option for this is to feed the PV electricity into the grid. This is then not consumed directly, but fed into the public power grid. The electricity fed into the grid is then paid for. Those who prefer to use their electricity themselves can see from the self-consumption value how high the share is. (Blog articles on self-consumption "Driving a car with solar energy: It doesn 't get any cheaper", "Hot water & heating with photovoltaics"). Last but not least, there is the grid purchase, i.e. how much electricity you had to buy in addition.

Energy Balance

These four values are summarized in the so-called energy balance in the app. They provide the system operator with information about his energy budget at any time.

2. Information to the Operator in the event of Irregularities.

Anyone monitoring their PV system with an energy management system naturally wants to know first and foremost what the PV system is producing and whether it is operating smoothly. If there are any malfunctions or failures, the monitoring system reports them immediately. The clear advantage of an app is that in the event of a malfunction, the corresponding message is sent directly to the mobile device. In addition to the message, you also see a lot of information about the possible cause on your app. With this information, you can then more quickly implement or initiate measures to remedy the malfunction. (More on the subject of PV system malfunctions: "If the photovoltaic system fails, your PV yields are at risk").


3. Easy Visualization of Yield and Plant Data

We have briefly highlighted the basics that any good app in the field of PV energy management should fulfill. Now let's move on to the freestyle, data rendering, and preparation. For this purpose, the app clearly displays the production, the feed-in, the self-consumption, and the grid purchase. If desired, the values are available in tabular form. Daily and historical plant data as well as connected components (e.g. heating element) are displayed in various sliders.

Energy Flow

i.e. you can see the individual components in the energy flow. At a glance, you can see how much of the self-produced electricity is currently flowing where.

Target Line in the Balance Chart

The target line in the balance chart shows how much of the annual forecast electricity yield the PV system should produce in the individual months.

Swipe Gesture

With the swipe gesture you can easily switch between the temporal dimensions. For example, swipe from top to bottom to switch from month to year.

4. Data Security

Data security, in addition to the functionality of an app, is always a key issue. This comes especially since attacks by cybercriminals on the energy infrastructure pose a major risk to entire economies worldwide. The consequences of a prolonged power outage would be devastating for society, as Marc Elsberg vividly describes in his bestseller "Blackout". To prevent such scenarios, communication between the energy management system, the app and the cloud must be secure. Cybercriminals must not be able to gain access to the system in order to manipulate the feed-in regulation into the German power grid on a sunny day.

A high level of security is ensured with a special authentication system that is implemented in the apps. Here, all system participants are given a digital identity. This rules out the possibility of unauthorized third parties being in the system. The so-called Avian® is such an authentication system. Avian® especially also offers a high security standard for the encrypted data transmission between the servers of Solare Datensysteme GmbH and the mobile end devices.

You can find more information about Avian® at:


Back to the overview