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

catch solar relay

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.

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.

How does cloud tethering work?

Catch cloud tethering at work.

#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.

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:

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.

About Finn Peacock

I'm a Chartered Electrical Engineer, Solar and Energy Efficiency nut, dad, and the founder and CEO of SolarQuotes.com.au. I started SolarQuotes in 2009 and the SolarQuotes blog in 2013 with the belief that it’s more important to be truthful and objective than popular. My last "real job" was working for the CSIRO in their renewable energy division. Since 2009, I’ve helped over 700,000 Aussies get quotes for solar from installers I trust. Read my full bio.

Comments

  1. Nigel Page says

    I’m about to replace my SolarEdge three phase inverter with a next gen Sungrow one, as soon as they come into the country, as well as their next gen batteries and three phase car charger. In your opinion is there a benefit in looking at the Catch Solar Relay instead of using Sungrow’s meter or are all the features you describe already covered by Sungrow?

    • Finn Peacock says

      First, you’ll need to wait until the Catch 3-phase solar relay is released (the one I talk about is single phase)

      Then you need to look at how much the 3-phase version is compared to the Sungrow (price unknown at the moment), and whether you want any of the features.

      Sungrow smart meters currently don’t allow flexible exports, but they do interface directly with Solar Analytics.

  2. I infer that CSR can connect to more than 1 device simultaneously. Is this the case?

  3. Brendan Clover says

    Would you consider the monitoring functions a suitable replacement for the Solar Analytics product?

    • Brendan,

      If you haven’t already seen, Solar Analytics was acquired/merged with the Catch Can / Catch Solar Relay company.

  4. I was reluctant to grow my solar energy package past the 6.6 KW.
    Ultimately, I just bit the bullet and added 6.6 more KWs and a 10 KW battery!
    I know batteries and cost-wise they are not good, but I didn’t want my energy provider to make money.
    During hot Summer days, running our 7.5 KW air conditioner works well with the current smart meter, but the battery is only good for 75 minutes at night!
    I thought about a change-over switch, but I don’t think it’s legal. Even thought about a change-over switch for a backup generator.

  5. Steven Fennell says

    Thanks that’s all interesting and worth consideration if I replace my back to grid system with another back to grid system and not decide to go off grid entirely.

    Have some time before I am able to do either but like to stay informed.

  6. What are the advantages of a Catch Solar relay over Home Assistant setup like this https://www.smartmotion.life/product/amber-electric-curtailment-with-home-assistant/

    It can do what Catch does plus curtail Solar with Amber plus so much more.

    • Anthony Bennett says

      Thanks for the reference Brett.

      Home Assistant certainly seems to be the go to solution for those who have the enthusiasm & nous to do the integration. There seems to be an endless number of things you can manage locally without needing to bother google, microsoft or uncle jeffs book shop.

      The catch relay is an off the shelf solution for electricians who may not be as computer as savvy, offering an answer for customers who are even less interested. It allows any cable monkey to hook up a contactor and switch a load. It also come with tech support on the phone and the ability to work with OCPP for EV charging and most importantly a tested and approved software client for Flexible/Dynamic Connections.

      Your DNSP won’t recognise a home grown home assistant device for network security.

    • I’m looking for a solution which seems to have stumped two different installers. I have two PV systems (house and granny flat), two meters, and one NMI. My EV charger is connected to the smaller granny flat system. We use Fronius Primo inverters. When the installation happened last year, the guy only installed a single-phase Fronius smart meter, which means I can only see consumption from our main house, not the granny flat. This means I have no idea of when is the best time to charge the EV to mop up excess solar energy without drawing from the grid. ChargeHQ and other apps are useless, because I can’t supply it with accurate consumption data.

      After many months of investigation, I have come up with three potential solutions, and I am not sure if any of them would actually solve the problem.
      1. Buy a three=phase Fronius smart meter so I can get consumption data from both the house and the granny flat consolidated into a single view in Fronius Solar.web app. Benefit of this approach is that I can integrate easily with Home assistant.
      2. Wait until March April-ish for Catch to launch their three-phase Catch Control Unit. Benefit is that I get all the relay functionality, but I am not sure if this will integrate with Home Assistant.
      3. Instal a second single phase meter for the granny flat and sue Home Assistant to get an integrated view – but I am not sure if having two smart meters would be problematic for my energy retailer?

      Any ideas? I’d appreciate some input as I’m not an expert in this stuff and have spent months learning about all this to get to this point. Thank you.

      • Anthony Bennett says

        Hi Lisa,

        I’m assuming the HA will integrate using Fronius open source data. I take it your granny flat is on a separate phase from the house, so a 3ph Fronius consumption meter is a great idea. When the Catch relay arrives it should offer just the same functionality because it does just the same function… it’s an RS485 meter that the Fronius can read. You’ll want both the inverters connected to the same SolarWeb account. I think Fronius is now offering a wireless version of their consumption meter now too, which may save some expense?

      • Brett Hales says

        My choice would be Home Assistant and aggregate together the output of the Fronius sensors therefore it acts as one inverter.

  7. Mark Stokes says

    If you have a heat pump hot water system it may only draw as little as 0.7kW for about 2 hours per day. So just set the timer for it to operate in the middle of the day and you’ll more than likely have enough solar to cover it without bothering with load control circuitry. You want the water heated anyway

    If you will soon buy a battery it will come with advanced power analytics and a nice app to let you see what happening, so the catch power may not be worth it if all you want is data visibility? If you’re not planning a battery then perhaps worthwhile

    Where Catchpower could be useful is to control your car charger. It would allow you to control a cheap “dumb charger” instead of buying a far more expensive smart charger

  8. We upgraded our solar system last year, and after reading your original breakdown of the catch relay we put one in to control our hot water, has worked really well.
    Helps us juggle the hot water, air con, Tesla and cooking fairly easily. Looking forward to the big monocle update, as it is showing its age.

  9. Beau Adams says

    Nigel would qualify for a SolarEdge trade up promotion if he adds the SolarEdge battery and back up interface and will get 2 x SolarEdge inverters as a trade up for his old 3 phase. A SolarEdge energy hub and a genesis inverter with built in 3 phase consumption monitoring included for free in the home hub inverter. Then he would have the most efficient battery and inverter combination in Australia and consumption monitoring that complies with 4777. He can also use all the current panels he has with SolarEdge optimisation which he would need to replace if he goes Sungrow. I don’t have enough character left to list all the ways SolarEdge is superior to Sungrow but thought that was worth Nigel’s consideration. Happy Solar Quoting

    • Nigel Page says

      There’s no way I’m getting a SolarEdge battery. Wrong battery chemistry, insufficiently modular and it wouldn’t do seamless failover. They’re a fair way off the pace I’m afraid.

      • Anthony Bennett says

        I would point out that seamless changeover is sometimes a trap. If you don’t notice there’s an outage you’re relying on seeing some sort of phone alert(?) to prevent the battery being drained flat, whereas a few seconds power out is an unmissable analogue warning signal.

        Be aware that some of the series hybrids which claim to have a fast changeover are -not- true uninterruptible power supply. If the battery is well charged and the system is exporting when there is an outage they will disconnect and run through a restart process.

        Not that I would buy a SolarEdge device myself.

        This is seamless, offers a choice of chemistry and has an array of warning output options.

        https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/selectronic-sp-pro/

        • I just experienced 1st grid outage with new Sungrow inverter + battery system. Did not know it occurred, and if our power is interupted all smart lights come on; they didn’t.
          I realised that when the power went off, house was powered by solar modules, so, probably, there was no grid power coming in to be interrupted by the outage and for few milliseconds for the PV /Battery power to kick in because it was already on PV power.
          Would this assessment be correct? If not, then the Sungrow setup is about as close to having a UPS as you can get without actually having one.

          • Nigel Page says

            Sungrow’s seamless failover is ‘in cycle’ so you have to lose power for more than 1Hz worth of time (ie 20ms) for it to kick in.

            Talking to other vendors at the recent Energy conference in Melbourne most adamantly stated that this was not possible even when faced with a stand actively advertising the capability only metres away! There seems to be a lot of ignorance about this in the market in general.

            Personally I have a lot of network equipment and definitely don’t want a ‘few seconds’ outage just so that I know it’s occured! Sungrow seem to have this pretty much nailed and their new gear winging its way to Australia as we speak is the next generation of this capability so its’ highly likely only to be getting better and that’s certainly a risk I’m prepared to take.

    • Mark Johnson says

      I don’t think the SE trade up promotion is still running and nor is SE worthwhile in a 3 phase installation , you have to try and make it fit with multiple inverters and batteries and the reporting is clunky at best and completely useless at worst, then the battery size and cost as well as the wall space required it’s not a good system for 3 phase

    • I considered SE but battery chemistry was off-putting and it thinks the battery needs a built in fire extinguisher then I do t want it being activated even if it does work, amd have doubts about that anyway.
      And, I hate to mention in it in a forum such as this, but in case it matters to others and don’t realise it, SE is an Israeli company and I vehemently disagree with the politics of the country. And this was before the latest round of ethnic cleansing.

  10. jeff ellis says

    Smart Meters!? With my solar install and Fronius inverter in 2020 I got a smart meter included then also a Tesla battery last year, so signed up to Amber in May. Catch in this case is, Amber require a smart meter to provide the full benefits of their service. After 7 months now I am still waiting for a full Smart meter to installed as the meter installer was flummoxed by 2 different meter numbers. Don’t ask me!!?
    Initially I wanted to blame Amber, well, they were slow in acting but honestly the meter installer appears to me to be hopeless, adding that they sent 2 installers out 4 weeks apart only to arrive at the same conclusion. No go!
    Am I off topic?
    So zero benefit from the battery and as usual paying up.

  11. Have had Catch for 2yrs. Still no data in The Monocle and yet they tell me data is coming through. So don’t know if it is actually doing what I want.

    • Anthony Bennett says

      I’ll see if I can get you some support Steve.

    • Benjamin Thomas Jones says

      Hi Steve,

      Can you email the device serial number to [email protected].
      I can log into our backed server and take a look at things for you.

      • Well Ben totally fixed problem. seems account would not activate. fixed that, then wouldn’t show on android properly, fixed that too. After not having live data it is certainly nice to see it.
        will be good to see new version of app when it comes out.
        thanks for your assistance and perseverance, 5 stars

  12. I am in Victoria, and I have recently upgraded my solar system with a Sungrow 9.6kwh battery, SH5.0RS inverter and its smart meter, the system works very well, but what will happen when flexible exports come into the mix, will my inverter be able to handle it, or will I be limited to 1.5kw exports.

    • Anthony Bennett says

      Hi Geoff,

      Flexsports wouldn’t be retrospective AFAIK. You’ll continue with the connection agreement you have now. Sungrow should be compatible going forward though if you want to add a second 5kW Sungrow.

  13. Hi Geoff,

    If you have a Catch Solar Relay (Now renamed Catch Control) it can replace the Sungrow S100 Energy Meter. It’s already compatible with all Single Phase Sungrow Inverters and a vast number of other brands so you can keep the connection agreement as explained
    OR
    Later on you can alter it and use any Catch compatible brand of inverter if you go down the flexible exports route. Once AC Coupled Batteries and EV Chargers fall under the Dynamic / Flexible Exports program this will become more important. If you go Dynamic or Flexible natively with Sungrow it will restrict the product choices you can attach to your home to Sungrow and Sungrow only.

    A very obvious reason to keep things brand agnostic is around EV Charging and future changes in your potential brand/product preferences for future upgrades to your home.

    • Thanks Ben, I don’t have a Catch at this stage, will see what happens in the future. Your reply is very informative.

    • Geoff langridge says

      What about the Sungrow DTSU666? Can it replace that??

      • Anthony Bennett says

        Hi Geoff,

        The DTSU666 is a 3 phase meter so we’re still waiting for the catch device to do that job. It’s been promised to be here soon…

  14. Thanks Anthony, that’s good to know.

  15. Hi,
    I’m going to install a 13.3kW Solar System at my investment property in Kingston, QLD 4114
    The 13.3kW Solar system composed of the following:
    28 x 475W Jinko Tiger Neo N type monocrystalline tier-1 panels, and
    2 x 5kW Solis 2 mppt 1 phase inverter (Solis Single Phase S6 Series) https://www.solisinverters.com.au/product-category/single-phase/solis-single-phase-s6-series/

    I like to connect Bosch 7716500242 160L 1.8kw Electric Hot Water System installed at this property with the right hot water timer and contactor.
    In light of the current solar technologies developments, I like to seek your advice on the hot water timer and contactor suitable for an investment property with160 Litres hot water tank connected to residential 13.3kW Solar System, a value for money switch that I could use with no hassles:

    1) https://fubu.com.au/products/timer-digital-with-lcd-240v-16-settings-daily-7-days-20a
    240v AC 20A Din Digital Timer

    2) https://www.voltexelectrical.com.au/p-4500-modular-contactor-240vac-coil-hum-free.aspx
    MC-25-240-1NO1NC
    (or)
    MC-25-240-2NO

    Is the above combination any good compared to Catch Solar Relay?

    • Anthony Bennett says

      Hello Dr,

      Sounds like you’re an exacting customer so I would look at the Catch Control because it offers Solar Analytics monitoring PLUS hot water control. If the solar inverters fail you will still have the metering and monitoring as an independent system which is also Qld dynamic exports compliant.

      Chat to your installer about compatibility between Solis & Catch

  16. Benjamin says

    Hi Dr Syed,

    If you would like to use Catch Power devices, we would be happy to support your installer.

    Please let me know who your installer is, and we can guide them through the process with Catch Power devices.

    Please email your installer details over to [email protected]

  17. Hi Finn,

    I’m on three phase power and have a 10kw PV system. I want to get a Catch Relay to put on my hot water storage system (on Phase 1). I understand I’ll only be able to utilize the incoming solar energy from the Phase 1 (1/3 of the whole solar generation). For instance, the hot water storage system load is 3kw. Currently each of my three phases has 1kw incoming solar energy. So I need to buy 2kw from the grid on Phase 1 and export the the 2kw from Phase 2 &3.

    My solar sales man told me in South Australia we have net meters. This means buying 2kw and exporting 2kw at the same time means they’ll just cancel each other out. I don’t have to pay anything extra. So being on a three phase power doesn’t put me in disadvantage compared with single phase.

    My electrician told me a different thing that I still have to pay the difference between the grid power and feed in tariff. So to draw 2kw and export 2kw at the same time I need to pay 2x(28c-6c)=44c

    Who is right?

    • Anthony Bennett says

      Hi Han,

      It might be worth waiting for the 3phase CatchControl, we’ve been promised it’ll be here any minute now.

      Is your hot water service a single phase unit or 3 phase?

      Net metering means that the retailer will sum up your total consumption & export and you’ll only pay for the balance, so the salesman is correct.

      Hope that helps

      • Thanks Anthony,

        My hot water tank is single phase.

        If the salesman is right, does it mean I don’t need 3-phase Catch Relay? Because drawing and exporting equal amount of power doesn’t cost extra, I can set the single phase Relay to boil water when surplus on phase 1 reaches 1/3 or 1/2 of the hot water load. I know appliances on the other two phases also use power, but I only use dishwasher when it’s very sunny say when we have 8-9kw solar coming in.

        • Anthony Bennett says

          Hi Han,

          You’ll probably be right with a single phase CatchControl (ie relay) but the 3 phase unit will obviously have comprehensive monitoring.

          Maybe investigate the GreenCatch diverter, as it’ll offer very refined dynamic control and the choice between off peak and day tariff.

  18. Unfortunately our electrician said we don’t have controlled load in our meter box, which means the cheapest rate we pay is shoulder rate 28c per kw from 10am-3pm. We are with origin and it’s a newly built house. I don’t know why it’s like this. Our old house has controlled load at 22.5c per kw from midnight to 6am.

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