How to monitor solar panel power generation through the SMA inverter using the Sunny Explorer software.
I have been monitoring the yield of solar harvested electricity produced from my Sanyo solar panel array by linking to the SMA Sunny Boy 2000HF inverter via bluetooth technology. As previously advised of the 25th November, When I said that I will order a bluetooth dongle to place in one of the spare USB ports on the side of the computer.
Equipment / Software Required
Computer – I’m using a desktop pc running Windows XP SP2.
SMA web site states other supported operating systems are Windows Vista (32-bit and 64-bit) and Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit).
Sunny Explorer Software – Free download from SMA (see link below)
Bluetooth Dongle – I’m using this Belkin Mini Bluetooth Adaptor. It’s the only item I have purchased to monitor my system. I gambled on compatibility and for the price (see details and spec here) it seems to work fine with my set-up. Some laptops have bluetooth built in so it’s worth checking if you have got this facility already. Drivers that come with the device support Windows XP and Windows Vista.
I have primarily chosen this method to monitor my solar system due to already having most of the equipment needed at hand. Also I do like having a more detailed system of reporting than just that of the all time total generated figure displayed on the generation meter. The front panel of the SMA inverter is useful but only really for that day’s yield – and that’s when it’s accessible and not located out of reach in the loft. The current solar generation level is another useful feature from the lcd display. I use this to determine if my solar panels are reaching their maximum yield and capacity. You can access more from the Sunny Boy inverter panel by tapping the display twice, but you only then get a brief overview of the yield for the last sixteen days. As my system inverter is easily placed for access I tend to use this method for a quick check when required. It’s also ideal to check things are working without booting up the PC.
The bluetooth adaptor purchased recently came with the required drivers for my operating system. After installing these I next plugged the little adaptor into one of the spare USB sockets. During installation you have to answer a few simple questions and finish off by re-booting the system.
Next, to monitor the SMA Sunny Boy inverter via this new blue tooth device I had to download and install the Sunny Explorer software direct from the SMA web site at http://www.sma.de/en/products/software/sunny-explorer.html. Again, installing this was fairly straightforward, and once finished left me with a little desktop SMA Sunny Explorer icon.
When running the Sunny Explorer software you have to first locate and connect to the inverter. I guess if you have lots of bluetooth equipment close-by, it may be just the case of choosing the Sunny Boy inverter from the list of found devices. It found only the one connection in my case. You can also download a manual and check system compatibility and full set-up instructions.
The software will store details of your PV array as a PV plant that can then be selected to open the bluetooth connection.
Select your plant from the list and then press the next button to continue.
This should then open another window showing a laptop establishing a connection to the SMA inverter.
Once the connection has been established you will then need to enter the plant password.
The default password in shown on the window. After entering and clicking the next button again it should then open the Sunny Explorer home page similar to that shown below. At this stage you should also notice a blue light on the inverter front signifying connection.
The left side panel shows your inverter details – serial number and plant name. The main panel shows performance and current yield. And below you will find tabs linking to various graphs showing daily, monthly, yearly and total statistics for you solar system.