3 Ways on How to Communicate With a Solar Inverter

This post was originally published in 2015. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.

Utilising system monitoring tools available with SMA is one of the easiest ways to ensure a system is operating as expected. It also improves the ability to troubleshoot a system in the unlikely event that something goes wrong. Setting up communications links between various components within the SMA system solution is vital when attempting to set up monitoring. To this end there are a variety of options available to achieve communications links.

 

1st Option:  Webconnect / Speedwire

This is the easiest way to ensure a simple, highly reliable communication connection is made within an SMA system solution. An Ethernet cable link between devices (either directly, through a daisy chain or star configuration, or via a modem-router), allows data to be transmitted between devices in the system. Communication to Sunny Portal or Sunny Places is then easily facilitated through the modem and ensures the highest level of data non-repudiation.

Webconnect Graphic
2nd Option: Power-line Communications (PLC)

In some installation locations, routing of Ethernet cable to create a hardwired connection between components is either difficult or not possible. In such situations the next simplest solution can be to use PLC. PLC involves using special adapters and a site’s AC wiring infrastructure to make the communications link as depicted below.

While simple to install, this method of establishing communications has some restrictions. Electrical noise in AC wiring can cause the data being transmitted to be lost. It also requires each adapter to be connected to the same phase and circuit otherwise the communication signal will be lost. When using PLC adapters it is important to ensure they support Multicast / IGMP otherwise they will not be able to properly transmit and receive the SMA data feed.

SB PLC Graphic

3rd Option: Wi-Fi Bridges

If a communication link via Ethernet or PLC adapters is not practicable, a WiFi bridge is another option available to establish communications.

When using WiFi bridges it is important to ensure they support Multicast / IGMP otherwise they will not be able to properly transmit and receive the SMA data feed. Setting up a WiFi bridge will also likely require the use of a laptop to configure the device, and information about the site’s wireless network through which communication is being facilitated.

WAP graphic
Conclusion

The practicalities of establishing communications sometimes mean the preferred method, Speedwire, isn’t always possible. In these situations, the installer and system owner can choose from the options presented above to decide what method best suits their need. Whether communications are established by Speedwire, PLC or a WiFi bridge, including system monitoring with an SMA system is one of the cheapest and simplest ways to protect that investment and ensure it continues to provide clean power for the system owner.

Any questions? Feel free to comment below.

 

37 Comments
  1. Barrie Davey says:

    Each time I have to do this. Some cleaver IT chap has changed the procedure, why can’t you leave it .

    Reply
    • Javier Tresanchez says:

      Hello, I would need information for my solar system, I have a Sunny Boy 2.5 plus Sunny Boy Storage 2.5 and Sunny Home Manager 2.0 and also Battery Resu 10H
      By necessity I need to connect the Sunny Boy Storage via PLC, but apparently none of the ones I use, Devolo, Tp-link etc, is compatible with the Sunny Boy Storage as well as with the Home Manager and therefore the communication with the battery is short or just does not work
      This forces me to have a network cable of 50 Mtrs. for the garden

      Could it be possible to indicate a compatible PLC to solve this problem?

      Apparently as I reported DEVOLO Sma uses the IGMP 3 protocol and I can not find at least here in Spain a compatible PLC for my home

      Thank you, any help will be welcome

      Best Regards

      Reply
  2. Dean Trigg says:

    I have two HF2500 inverters supporting my 4.2MW system.
    These inverters have Bluetooth capability however, I can only get the signal to pair the devices if I’m standing right next to them which seems to defeat the object. also, when pairing, I’m asked for a password, I have no idea what the password is. is there a default password? given that my LCD displays are faded, trying to get connectivity so that i know what the performance is of my inverters is important. Can you help?

    Reply
  3. Ricky says:

    Hi. I have been trying to get a wireless bridge to work between 4 SMA invertors that need to communicate to a router that is in a house about 200 feet away. I am using 2 Ubiquiti NanoStation Loco M2 transmitters. I have them both set up to act as a wireless bridge (one connected to the 4 inverters and the other connected to the router in the house) The way they are setup, however, they dont allow direct access to them via computer or smartphone so there is no real way for me to test whether or not they will work for communication between the inverters and the router. Is there anyway you would be able to tell me if this setup will work? Here is the video i used to setup the wireless bridge. Thank you.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__xzHnK6IVs

    Reply
    • Sarah Römsch says:

      Hi Ricky,
      Thanks for your message and the link. For optimal support, I suggest that you contact our Service Line directly. You find the telephone numbers here. You can also use this contact form.
      Best regards,
      Sarah

      Reply
    • Sarah Römsch says:

      Hi Ricky,
      I’ve received a more detailed answer from my colleague. Hope it helps:

      What you describe in principle could work, however there are somethings you will need to ask of the hardware supplier of the Wifi bridge you propose to use, to determine whether they will work.

      For setting up a wireless bridge where you would be using the inverter’s Webconnect modules, you will need to work out whether the wireless bridge technology you are suggesting supports IGMP v3.0 / Multicast protocol. You will also need to check whether their technology is capable of transmitting reliably over a distance of 60m (~200ft).

      If you have set the bridge up already, you could either use a PC with Sunny Explorer installed (http://www.sma.de/en/products/monitoring-control/sunny-explorer.html) to see if you can detect the inverters, or alternatively if the home is connected to the internet you could attempt to use the Plant Setup Assistant on http://www.sunnyportal.com

      SMA Service will not be able to provide support configuring a 3rd party device.

      If you have further questions about your SMA products, please contact SMA service in your local region (I assume that is the US for you, in which case there details can be found here http://www.sma-america.com/service-support/overview.html)

      Reply
      • chris says:

        Ricky, did you get it to work? I have the same setup and was curious if I got it working with the NanoStations from Ubiquiti.

  4. Bentley Lee says:

    I am trying to connect my STP 10000 with a Powerline TP Link TL-PA4010. Is there any way I can configure for them to communicate?

    Reply
    • Wil says:

      Hi Bentley Lee
      Did you get an answer?

      @ Scott: I also use solution 2.
      I have the same problem. I use Devole dLAN 500 powerline adapters to connect to my STP5000
      The STP5000 is from 2013. I made the right setting in the STP by connecting the laptop by a network cable.
      With the laptop connected to my router I can log in with sunny explorer but I cannot read data. I can not register in the Portal. It sees no SMA connected.
      Do I need a firmware to get this work?

      Reply
      • Scott Partlin
        Scott Partlin says:

        I cannot find any information in the product documentation for the Devole dLAN 500 that it supports Multicast / IGMP. This would be supported by the fact that you can see the inverter but not read data. The data packets (which utilise multicast) are broken and not properly transmitted by power line adaptors.

        When purchasing Power Line Adaptors, ensure they support Multicast and IGMP to ensure the inverter will be able to communicate to Sunny Portal.

    • Scott Partlin
      Scott Partlin says:

      I understand by reading the product manual that the TP Link TL-PA4010 does not support multicast. Since it does not support this communication, it will not work with allowing communication to Sunny Portal.

      Reply
  5. Des griffiths says:

    Recently installed sunny invertor with 4kw solar panels .The invertor is installed in the attic.what is the easiest system to install to get readings on to my computer or mobile phone
    Thanks Des

    Reply
  6. George Smith says:

    I simply want to mention I really enjoyed you’re blog. You are really come up with superb article and reviews. Appreciate it for revealing your site.
    regards
    George Smith

    Reply
  7. Kyle says:

    I installed a sunny tripower inverter last year. We connected to the net via the web via option 1. Cat 6 and a router. Everything is great except i constantly get communication errors. There is no rhyme or reason to which inverter looses communication. Usually a power cycle clears up the fault. Are power cycles supposed to be done monthly? I didn’t read anything in the paperwork saying it would require maintenance.

    Reply
    • Lucas Unbehaun says:

      Hi Kyle,

      in case of this individual problem, please contact our local service line to get further assistance.

      Regards, Lucas

      Reply
  8. Rohi Adu Wenji says:

    Hi… I need to connect Sunny Island 8.0H with STP15000 (RS-485 inc.), how is the assignment of RS-485 connection with RJ45…???

    Reply
  9. Rafiur Rahman says:

    Hi,

    I need to connect a FLX Pro 15 to sunny portal. But I do not know if a simple ethernet cable connected to my router will allow data transfer. It allows web interfacing, and in the interface I see the option for uploading to a FTP portal. Will this simple ethernet connection suffice or do I need to get a webbox/webconnect/GSM option?

    Kindly advise.

    Reply
  10. Abdelkarim says:

    Hi,

    I have two inverters and I want to monitor them with Sunny Portal separately. I have only 1 RJ45 INPUT in my router. So I pluged a switcher to the router and the two inverters to the switcher. I have configured the two PV systems. But after configuration, only one inverter is connected I can’t monitor the two inverters at the same type in different installations.
    The first one is SB 2.5 and the second is 5000TL

    Reply
  11. David Vereeke says:

    I have 9 Sunny Boy 7700 TL-US-22 inverters installed on three buildings. 4 inverters on one building, 3 inverters on a second building 100 feet away and 2 inverts on a third building 1200 feet from the first two buildings. I would like to have all inverters show up as a single pv generator in the Sunny Portal.

    What is the best way to set up communications? Not all building are on the same power transformer so PLC is ruled out. I can provide a wireless mobile hot spot with router connected to the internet via cell tower.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Rößler
      Jennifer Rößler says:

      Hello David,
      It would be the best to contact our Service Line. Our colleagues will help you and clarify all the details in a personal dialogue.
      Here you can find an overview of all contacts. You just have to select your country.

      Kind regards, Jennifer

      Reply
  12. Guyon says:

    Hello everyone
    How to retrieve data from an SMA STP20000 inverter in a PLC via RS485.
    Thank you for your help

    Reply
    • Carolin Rost
      Carolin Rost says:

      Hello Prern,
      There are definitely possibilities to connect the inverters. It depends on which inverter types are installed and what are for circumstances on site. Please contact your installer to get more information about the possibilities for you.
      Kind regards, Carolin

      Reply
      • Prem says:

        We are using about
        1) 20000 TL
        2) 15000 TL
        3) 25000 TL

        Even I am an Installer.
        We usually Connect inverter Which is nearer.
        But at This the site, we need to Connect inverter from Different Building at 100m each.
        Each building consists of 1 Inverter (2No’s 20000TL,3No’s 15000TL & 2No’s 25000TL).
        Which Method is Easier To Use.

        Thank You

      • Carolin Rost
        Carolin Rost says:

        Hello Prem,
        Please contact our service line in charge. Our colleagues will help you and advise you. The number you can find here.
        Kind regards,
        Carolin

  13. YH says:

    Hi, I have 7 PV inverters connecting to a cluster controller and a PLC.I need a PLC ID to run my program. Can I know where can I find the PLC ID(on the browser) or there is other alternative way? Fyi, I am not using sunny portal. Thank You

    Reply
    • Tobias Fricke
      Tobias Fricke says:

      Hello Arash,

      SMA inverters are clients with (mostly) two Ethernet ports.
      Both ports have switch functionality – a patch cable between two inverters is recommended.
      Cross over cables are not necessary.

      regards,

      Tobi

      Reply
    • Tobias Fricke
      Tobias Fricke says:

      Hello Arash,

      SMA inverters are clients with (mostly) two Ethernet ports.
      Both ports have switch functionality – a patch cable between two inverters is recommended.
      Cross over cables are not necessary.

      regards,
      Tobi

      Reply
  14. Handy says:

    Hello all,
    We just have install an 3xstp5000Tl; with 3xsunny island 0.8(master+slave1,slave2), and we made it for 3phase single cluster, and i want to know how i can connect it with cluster controller and phyranometer, we just have 1 lan modul for stp500tl, please give me an explain tutor with video on youtube…. because i cant understand if i read an pdf, i just understand if i saw a video.. thank you…

    Reply

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