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Cost trap data logger: 4 follow-up costs you have to consider

Data loggers are usually necessary to monitor and log your performance of PV systems with the help of monitoring. This is especially true if you want to use independent monitoring solutions. The market offers various models from different OEMs for different plant sizes and needs. These include the well-known data loggers from Meteocontrol, Solar-Log™, AlsoEnergy/Skytron, SMA, Huawei, Meier-NT and others.

In addition to the purchase price and the features (see PV data logger comparison with 47 data loggers from 25 manufacturers), the follow-up costs in particular should play a central role in your purchase decision. In order to bring more transparency into the follow-up costs and thus give you greater planning security with regard to your economic decisions, we have created a list of cost drivers.

4 points you need to consider when making your next purchase decision:

– FTP licenses for live data to third-party portals: If you decide to switch to a new monitoring provider, additional license fees of up to several hundred euros per data logger are sometimes incurred for data transfer. Depending on the manufacturer, the license fees for the first or further additional FTP pushes differ.
– Transfer interval: Depending on the data logger, the possible transfer interval varies from 1x daily to intraday intervals of 60, 15 or 5 minutes, for which licenses are again required.
– Export of historical data: A certain storage capacity is typically covered by the current monitoring fee. Extended storage capacity for larger amounts of data incurs additional costs that you have to pay. However, it becomes difficult if the costs are only incurred once you decide to switch to a third-party portal. Potential costs for the final export of your own data should therefore be contractually clarified in advance.
– Opening licenses for plant expansion: If a PV plant is expanded in terms of capacity or components, additional license costs are sometimes incurred.

In general, the question arises as to who actually owns the data of the PV plant?

If expenses are generated for the data logger OEM, which were caused by you, e.g. a system expansion, then additional costs are understandable. However, if the costs are used as a kind of lock-in effect or if they limit your independence, the circumstance should be clarified contractually with the OEM in your interest in advance.
In order to avoid follow-up costs, it is also worth comparing offers from the various OEMs. There are numerous data loggers that incur low to no follow-up costs and still offer an attractive price-performance ratio.

If you need assistance in finding the right data logger, take a look at our PV data logger comparison with 47 data loggers from 25 manufacturers or contact us directly.

As a hardware-independent software solution with more than 100,000 connected PV systems, we have already assisted many customers in switching monitoring portals and are very familiar with all common data loggers.

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