Catch Solar Relay in 2024: The Swiss Army Knife Of Solar

I’ve been a fan of the Aussie-developed Catch Solar Relay since it was first released in late 2020.

In my original review in 2020, I explained how the Catch relay greatly enhanced solar self-consumption from large appliances. Since then, the team at Catch Power have been relentlessly adding features to it. Today, I’ll outline the new tricks up its sleeve, including cloud transmission, flexible exports and a sneak peek into what’s ahead this year.

#1 Cloud Transmission Of Real-Time Power Data

If you are lucky enough to have a property with space to roam and distances between buildings, you’ll already know that it can be challenging to put new solar on, especially if your network connection rules mandate flexible exports. Read also : 6 Industries that Use Solar Energy in the Philippines.

It becomes complex if the ideal roof for solar panels is some distance from the house. To export-limit the solar inverter, you must relay power consumption data between the remote building and the main residence. This can mean spending thousands of dollars on a trench or buying a fickle ‘wireless bridge’. Now, you may need to build a trench for the power cables anyway, but often, the power cables are already there, and the only missing link is a data cable.

The Catch Solar Relay can measure real-time power at the switchboard on one property and relay that data via the cloud to the remote property where the inverter is. No data cable required.

All new Australian grid-connected solar generation will soon need to be internet-connected and overseen by the network, so the need for data transmission of power data will only increase, and the Catch could save a lot of trenches.

Catch cloud tethering at work.

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#2 It Can Replace Your Inverter’s Smart Meter

The Catch Solar Relay can integrate into your solar power system instead of the proprietary “smart meter” that you already need to measure consumption and enable export limiting.

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Catch can replace the smart meter for these inverters:

  • Fimer
  • Fronius
  • GE
  • Goodwe
  • Growatt
  • Jinko
  • SAJ
  • Sofar
  • Solax
  • Solis
  • Solplanet
  • Sungrow
  • Sunways

So, should you choose Catch over the inverter manufacturer’s little meter?

At $447 a pop – the Catch Relay is 2 to 3 times the price of the inverter manufacturer’s meter – so it’s not for everyone.

Here’s what the $447 pays for in addition to the cloud transmission and smart appliance control:

Flexible Exports Are Built In

Many solar inverters are not yet compatible with Flexible Export Limits, but the Catch Solar Relay is. So, without a Catch Relay, you can’t use some inverters in South Australia.

Flexible exports are opt-in over in Queensland, and Victoria will introduce them in March 2024. To see also : NOW IS THE TIME TO GO SOLAR!.

Without flexible connections, you’re limited to a 1.5kW export. Even if your local DNSP does not offer a flexible connection agreement, having the hardware to do it when it’s introduced makes sense as it can increase your export limit to 10 kW when not throttled.

Export Limiting With Multiple Fronius Inverters

If you have Fronius inverters in a clustered environment (multiple inverters on the same site) or single-phase inverters across two or three phases, the Catch Power Relay will handle export limiting functions for you.

With a Fronius Gen24 paired with BYD batteries, the State Of Charge data is now visible on The Monocle monitoring app for BYD/Fronius sites. Plus, installers have remote control and administration capabilities via the My Fleet dashboard.

And there will be more features soon:

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Catch Relay Features Promised For 2024

A Three-Phase Relay

Catch Power is gearing up for a significant launch: their Three-Phase Relay is expected to hit the market by the end of March 2024. It has been a much-anticipated development in the solar energy sector, a long time coming, but not quite as delayed as Tesla’s Cybertruck or the Enphase IQ8.

EV Charge Control

Catch Power is integrating EV charger control into their Relay system using OCPP. This allows the optimisation of EV charging based on solar generation and various inputs, such as time-of-use tariffs. Fronius Wattpilot control will be the first via Catch Power’s app. Plans to include other EV chargers are underway.

Collaboration With Amber Electric

Catch is working with Amber Electric to control inverter, battery storage, EV charging, and hot water systems. Shortly, this will also extend to air conditioning, all based on wholesale pricing signals.

DRM Control for Air Conditioners

Expect a new Catch product designed for air conditioners, promising more efficient use. This device, which communicates with a Catch Relay at the mains, will enable better solar self-consumption with the air conditioner based on solar energy production. They’re aiming for the launch at the end of June.

More Inverter Brands

Catch Power is expanding its range of compatible inverter and hybrid brands in 2024.

The Monocle App: A Major Update

Catch Power’s app, The Monocle, is slated for a major overhaul in early 2024. That’s good news because the reviews for the current one on the App Store are woeful. Hopefully, the new app does justice to the excellent hardware.

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