Review of IntellyGreen PV Kit: intelligent solar power monitoring
Posted by Chris Rudge on 30 November 2012 at 11:16 am
The IntellyGreen PV kit setup is not just a power saving device to send excess power to an immersion heater or similar, but has a comprehensive large LCD display to provide information on your power usage too.
The complete set I tested comprised of a radio transmitter unit to be installed near your fuse box, an in-house display and a radio relay.
Simply connecting mains power to the large radio transmitter unit and the in-house display enables communication between the two units as they come pre-synchronised. The transmitter has a couple of pre-wired and clearly labelled CT clips. One clips around your incoming mains power cable, the other around the live cable coming from your PV (or Wind) generator. This aspect can be difficult to locate, as most installers will conceal it inside trunking.
The in-house display can be installed anywhere within radio range in the house. For most family houses, this can be pretty much anywhere. It needs to have a power socket nearby, as the power block in the photo powers the unit. After power up, it soon sets up communication with the transmitter.
The second photo above shows a typical display. You can see the three readings. generated power, consumed power and sold/bought power (depending on generation, etc).
Also seen is the 4th Plug indicator, which in this shot has been synchronised. On delivery, the optional radio relay needs to be synchronised onto the network. A simple 30 second operation.
The radio relay can replace the immersion isolate switch if required, as the mounting screw holes have the correct spacing. The relay is rated at 13A 230v, so good for a 3kW load if required.
A nice touch is that the radio relay is fully programmable, either in exported power thresholds or completely setting up timed periods for normal operation. However, for solar PV purposes, you will probably need to either accept that you’ll be often buying in power from the grid if the element is left at 3kw, or you’ll need to change the element to 1kw (or other power reduction method).
In use, I found a time lag of around a minute to respond to power changes. This seems to be simply radio data being sent on set periods and in normal operation will not cause any problems, but is a bit disconcerting during set up, when nothing seems to respond for a while.
Overall, the IntellyGreen is a well-produced product with a background of other devices from the manufacturing company, I understand in Italy. Although it costs more than a standard ‘current sense relay’ it performs far more functions and will be of use to people interested in the power use and generation of their house.
There are other graphs and menus that I’ve not touched on for this article, which does make it quite good value if you want the ‘whole package’. Installed cost is likely to be in the region of £700. The UK Distributor is Greenologic.
About the author: Chris Rudge is a qualified electrician who specialises in renewable energy.
If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.
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