SolarRiver, PVOutput and the Raspberry Pi

By , 5 December, 2013 3:10 pm

SamilPowerI originally had my PV solar panels and inverter installed on the 12th August 2012 (15 months ago) and since then I have always wanted to get all the statistics logged.  I was originally planing on logging to a local database which would then require a custom application written to pull the information from the inverter and to then pull that data into usable information.

SolarRiver

since then I came across PVOutput which looked fantastic and offered the facility to upload the statistics from your inverter allowing you to access a WEB site that presented the information to you in good looking graphs.  When I stumbled across this site I just had to use it rather than going to the effort of producing my own.

One problem I contended with was I could not justify the cost of leaving a computer on for the six to eight hours a day just to obtain the statistics form the inverter.  My computer seems to use on average 120 watts per hour, meaning it would coast at current electricity prices nearly $300 every year just to accumulate the data.

Raspberry Pi

Some time ago I came across the Raspberry Pi which is a small computer utilising the ARM chipset. This device only uses two watts per hour meaning the yearly cost is well under $10 per year for eight hours a day of operation or under $20 per year to run 24*7.  So this became a real viable option.  I currently use the Raspberry Pi for my home PBX system and for running my own private cloud solution which uses BitTorrent Sync.

Three and a half weeks have passed since I have configured my rPi to gather the logs from my Inverters and the data is starting to produce some useful information.

I have two individual systems.  A 2kW and a 3kW.  The 2kW is facing North East and the 3kW is facing North West.

If you are interested in building your own system I do have a document on how to build and configure your own.  Please go to PVOutput_with_the_Raspberry_Pi_and_SolarRiver_Inverters on my Wiki for details.


4 Responses to “SolarRiver, PVOutput and the Raspberry Pi”

  1. tony_eyles says:

    Hi David,
    converted my PVoutput from Windozs PC to Raspberry Pi today and seems to working well. Your instructions worked well! Thanks. Add I’ve cut down from 45watts to 3W!

    Interested to see if it restarts in the morning correctly. I noticed you (or someone else) have included Panel Voltage but not temp. Do you know if it’s easy to add the Inverter temp?
    I initially tried setting it up using Pidora as I’m more use to Fedora. I’ve enabled Cron logs to check what happens over night.
    My PVoutput is – http://pvoutput.org/intraday.jsp?sid=16290

    Also curious if your Crontab line
    “*/30 5-7 * * * /opt/solar-check.sh” works. I thought “minute/30” didn’t work in Linux??

    cheers

    Tony

  2. Hi Tony,

    I’m glad you successfully have your panels logged via the rPi. I’m certainly happy with mine and I’m sure you will be too.

    I have configured mine to publish both the voltage and the temperature of the inverter but for some reason PVOutput is not seeing the information on the inverters temperature. I’ve played with it a little but I have not been successful in logging temperature. If you get yours working I’d be interesting to know what you did. I’m using the V7 variable for temperature. I’ve also configured current, V8 but any extend values don’t seem to be uploading to PVOutput.

    I use the */30 setting in crontab and it does work. I have used that or a variant of it in most of my Linux boxes.

    Regards
    David.

  3. Dawid Cherek says:

    Hi, I have a question about the inverter. I have three inverters SolarRiver. I have one computer with windows. I have three USB-RS232 cables. One cable is COM1 which sends data to PVOutputs. How can I customize the script so that COM2, COM3 also send data to PVoutput. Is it possible with one windows, one computer. May I need rs485 ??

  4. Without knowing exactly how your script works you should be able to copy the script two additional times calling it a different name. Update the script to communicate on the associate COM port. You then run three different scripts.

    This is what I do for my two inverters.

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