Wattson Solar Plus brings electricity use and generation to life
Posted by Cathy Debenham on 25 June 2012 at 9:36 am
Earlier this year I wrote about how the Wattson* Solar Plus energy monitor helps me make the most of my solar generated electricity by letting me know when I'm generating more electricity than I'm using. I just have to look over, see if it's glowing green, and if so I turn on the washing machine. Read my review of the Wattson here.
The unit also records data on your electricity usage and renewable generation, which you can load onto your computer and analyse using the Holmes software which comes with the Wattson.
First, let me declare that I'm about as far from being a data nerd as it's possible to get. Give me a spreadsheet full of figures and my eyes go a bit blurry. So I haven't taken full advantage of all the functionality. But those among you who like staring at spreadsheets can download the raw data for further analysis (amount used, and amount generated is logged every 5 minutes). However, I've been surprised by how interesting I found the broad range of graphs that I can look at.
You can view graphs in hours, days or months, for energy use, power use, cost, and carbon dioxide emissions. You can also compare usage with the energy that you are generating.
The top diagram above (click on it to enlarge it) shows 24 hours of electricity use in my house. The blue is the energy use, and the green line is energy generated. You'll notice the big thin spikes which mainly represent boiling the kettle. Using the oven also sends the line soaring.
The other thing that this graph shows is that we use most of our electricity in the evening (cooking, lights, TV) and, not surprisingly, generate most of our electricity in the middle of the day. If only we were charged for our net use, rather than buying at a high rate and selling at 3.2p per kWh!
The second picture shows a week's electricity use. Working at home obviously contributes to higher use, as bars representing the weekend are lower. I was rather surprised that a having one computer on all day, with an external hard disk regularly backing things up, should make as much difference as it does.The amount of solar electricity generated also varies significantly depending on the weather. April was pretty miserable and wet here in Devon, but I've managed to capture the data for a rare sunny weekend.
All in all the data side is much more interesting than I thought it would be. It's easy to get drawn into it, trying to work out what caused different movements on the graph. The only drawback is that the main unit can only store 28 days of data, so you have to remember to plug it in and upload it to your computer every four weeks. It would be good if it could sync automatically through the wireless broadband. Otherwise very interesting.
*This is an affiliate link, which means that we get a small commission if you click through and buy the Wattson Solar Plus.By Cathy Debenham
If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.
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