Solar Panels
Sunny Portal
Sunny Webbox





The PV panels generate a DC voltage that requires conversion to AC through an inverter.

The PV strings in my system are connected to a SMA Sunny Mini Central 6000A inverter.

The "stock" photo shown above shows a Mini Central inverter fitted with a plastic cover. Systems supplied for the UK market, or at least mine, is fitted with a grey, steel, cover.

The Mini Central can be fitted with communications modules "piggy-backed" onto the inverter main circuit board to provide access to inverter data. The "preferred" comms module uses Bluetooth communications to provide data access. Sunny Explorer is a free software package which uses Bluetooth communications to read data from the inverter. However, I found that the steel cover seriously compromised the range and reliability of the Bluetooth comms module to the extent that Bluetooth was almost unusable for me.

Other comms modules are available, including an RS-485 module which also fits inside the enclosure but the RS-485 signal is wired externally.

SMA produce additional monitoring devices, including the Sunny Webbox.

The Webbox is available in either Bluetooth or RS-485 versions and provides TCP/IP access to the inverter data as well as giving the ability to upload data to the SMA Sunny Portal internet monitoring site.


A limited subset of the data from my system uploaded to the SMA Sunny Portal website are here.

In the UK, if the system size is above 4kW (actually, 16 Amps per phase), the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) requires that additional equipment is installed to protect the National Grid from disturbance in the event of any faults in your generation equipment - a so called, G59 protection relay.

My installer subcontracted the manufacture of a G59 relay protection panel. This panel used a MainsPro unit manufactured by ComAp in the Czech Republic. The datasheet is here.

This device was the most problematic in my system, until rectified, a fault with the unit or an error in  its configuration resulted in frequent disconnection of the inverter from the grid which reduced the efficiency of the system when first installed.




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Page last modified 13/09/2013