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The importance of regular check-ups... (or why being a little nerdy about your PV data is OK)

You know how it goes - you're so excited that you just had your solar PV system installed that you find yourself checking your monitoring app daily! You're sharing new production highs (and lows) with everyone who will listen and finding just about any excuse to pull out your phone and show people just how much your system is producing!

Gradually, the novelty wears off (and your audience grows less patient with your new obsession!) and you find yourself checking less frequently, then less frequently still. Soon enough, weeks or even months go by between checks. This is completely understandable (and probably good for your social life).

However, hold up! There is a good reason to retain some of that initial, nerdy enthusiasm for frequently checking on your solar panels!

Creating carbon offsets from your solar panels is a great way to improve the payback of your investment, but creating them relies on data. Specifically, daily production logs - showing how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy your system produced each day - are critical to convert your clean energy into carbon offset credits.

These production logs are required because all carbon offsets are subject to an independent, third-party "verification" process to ensure that they represent genuine emission reductions. (Verification is essentially another word for an audit, and it involves trained professionals checking that all carbon offsets being claimed have a) been created in accordance with government rules and b) are supported by an evidence trail).

However, occasionally, something goes wrong - perhaps the wi-fi connection between your inverters and your monitoring software is lost, or an inverter stops working. A broken connection will mean no data being recorded - and no data means no offsets, representing a loss of potential revenue for you. A broken inverter is even worse - it doesn't just mean lost data, it also means lost production - so no offsets, no micro-gen credits and more electricity pulled from the grid!

The good news is that both of these issues can easily be detected if you keep a regular eye on your production - a drop in production due to a snowstorm is to be expected, but a sudden drop with no obvious explanation? That's something you'll want to investigate further, and may mean your system needs some repairs.

It's a good habit, therefore, to ensure you're checking your solar production every one-two weeks or so - after all, it's your investment, and ensuring it's working as intended will maximize your production, your potential to create carbon offsets, and your payback.

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