Monitoring solar efficiency with compact weather stations

August 19th, 2015 | Category: Applications & Case Studies, News Archive

Meteorological instruments including Gill’s MaxiMet and MetPak compact weather stations can be used to provide crucial management information on the efficiency of solar parks. Meteorological instruments help identify what may affect solar park performance and inform operators about what measures could be taken to increase efficiency.

Tracking the weather MaxiMet on Solar Farms

Weather stations in solar parks provide data on solar radiation, temperature, humidity, wind and rain. This data indicates a possible increase or reduction in the efficiency of the park. The following lists some of the measurement parameters and the benefits which can be realised through installing MaxiMet or MetPak weather stations.

  • ISO 9060 second class, first class and secondary standard solar radiation pyranometers to monitor the actual solar radiation which can be compared with the designed energy output from PV panels. From this, the performance of individual panels can be assessed and compared with other panels, which makes it easier to identify any panels which are not as efficient.
  • Wind speed and direction measurements can be used to calculate the wind loading on large photovoltaic panels and for solar parks which have horizontal PV trackers installed. Wind speed and direction measurements can trigger changes in the angle of incidence, as high winds can damage PV panels or their mechanisms. The use of ultrasonic wind measurements guarantees accurate performance and zero maintenance for many years unlike mechanical wind sensors.
  • During periods of rain solar production is reduced, however monitoring the rainfall can indicate how often panels may need to be cleaned. Maintenance factors including cleanliness can affect the panel’s efficiency, reducing it to less than 20%.
  • MaxiMet and MetPak feature MODBUS outputs, which can be easily connected with SCADA systems. This offers the ability to collect data from any networked location within the plant whilst also providing the facility for instruments to be easily exchanged or relocated.
  • MaxiMet and MetPak are both low maintenance which along with in-field calibration and adjustment,helps to reduce integration and long-term running costs.

Using MaxiMet or MetPak weather stations operators can access all of the meteorological measurement parameters essential to solar park efficiency.

MaxiMet offers users a single, compact “plug and play” weather station suited to most applications, whereas MetPak is a professional weather station with increased flexibility. It offers users higher accuracy industry standard sensors along with the ability to expand the weather station by adding additional sensors using the standard analogue inputs.

For more information on the benefits of weather stations in solar power applications please visit

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