Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Can You Add More Solar Panels To An Existing System

How Much Additional Power Do You Need

Adding More Solar Panels: Can I Add Panels to My Solar System? Upgrade Existing Solar System!

If you have increased your electrical usage since you first installed your solar, then you can calculate how much additional power youll need by looking at your utility bill. Your solar installer will use information from your utility bill to determine how much extra power you need. Your solar installer will also be able to advise you if there are any restrictions on the amount of power you can generate. Your utility company may restrict the maximum amount of power you can generate.

Incentives In Adding Solar Panels To Existing System

If you want to add more panels to your home, you may not be eligible for the same incentives you claimed when installing your first solar panel system. This can include rebates and tax credits, such as the federal solar tax credit. This is because many incentives can only be claimed once per property or person.

It is also complicated to deal with performance-based incentives with additional solar panel projects. Many such incentives are based on how much electricity the solar energy system in your home generates. It is possible to run into issues if you purchase a new inverter or file for another permit.

That said, do not hesitate to speak with your installer. It will know the incentives you will still be eligible for if you add additional panels to your solar system. You can even seek help from a tax advisor or accountant to explore your situation in greater detail.

Ways To Add Solar Panels To An Existing System

It may be more complicated to add solar panels to a leased system in your current home or a house you just bought. But its easy to do if you own your solar system.

You have many options to choose from if you want to add solar panels to your existing system. Your decision should be based on your electricity output goal, as well as your unique situation.

Weve gathered some of the best options so you can see which one suits you best.

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Solar Battery More Than Protection From Power Outages

Getting a solar battery may be a more efficient option than adding additional solar panels to your current system. When you add solar panels to your existing solar panel system, you may have to upgrade the inverter to handle the increased size. A solar inverter is an essential piece to your solar system since it converts the direct current power that is generated when your solar panel converts sunlight into alternating current power that can power your household appliances. Should you choose to add solar batteries to your current solar power system, you will also have to replace your existing inverter. So, if you are considering adding more solar panels to your existing solar power system, adding a home battery at the same time may allow you to fully maximize how much electricity you can offset and gain protection from power outages.

Can I Add More Solar Panels To Produce More Power

Can I just add more solar panels to my roof to upgrade my ...

Yes you can, though there are some things youll want to keep in mind when thinking about adding more solar panels on your roof. To ensure youre making the right decision for your household, consider the following:

  • A bigger system doesnt necessarily equal more savings. If you monitor your bill and have a clear understanding of when and how much your utility charges you for energy, its possible that paying for a larger system may actually negate the cost savings brought in by your solar energy system. For more information, check out What are Time of Use Rates?
  • You may be consuming more energy than you realize. There are a lot of factors that influence solar savings . Be sure to carefully consider all of them before deciding to add more panels to your solar energy system. Some of the big ones are: time of use rates, seasonality the time of year, the size of your household, etc.
  • Adding more panels may impact your tax rebate. If you signed a Loan or Cash Purchase Agreement, you may be eligible for Federal solar tax credits or incentives. In some areas, adding additional panels could mean forfeiting your rebate. Be sure to check out the website for your State Energy Office to determine whether or not more panels will impact your tax rebate and how.

Recommended Reading: How Many Solar Panels For 30 Amps

Youve Just Lost A Premium Feed

Most of the solar systems installed under the generous solar feed-in tariffs of yesteryear were small because solar PV systems were expensive, and premium FiTs were necessary for them to make financial sense. Fortunately, this is no longer the case PV system prices have come down to a point where going solar makes sense even without a strong feed-in tariff.

But most state-backed feed-in tariff programs stipulated that system owners could not expand their existing solar systems at the risk of losing their feed-in benefits. Two of these programs the Solar Bonus Scheme in NSW and the Transitional Feed-in Tariff in South Australia recently concluded payments, leaving the formerly size-constrained system owners at liberty to add more solar capacity. Other state programs will end in the coming years .

In this situation, there are several options:

If You Are Thinking About Adding Solar Panels To Your Existing System This Blog Post Is For You

Are you becoming obsessed with solar power? Good!

At SunEnergy we love seeing everyday Australians make a commitment to renewable energy. If you are one of the enthusiastic solar power-consumers who just cant get enough of the suns power, you might be considering adding extra solar panels to your system.

Adding solar panels is a great way to increase the amount of power you are receiving from the sun. In many cases, this is possible, and there are a few different variant options for doing so.

Also Check: Are Solar Panels Tax Deductible

G83 & G59 Solar Applications

The second thing to bear in mind is the size of the system.

Systems under 3.68kW are deemed small scale and can be installed and connected to the grid straight away. The system then needs to be registered by submitting a G83 form to the Distribution Network Operator after the install .

The reason for the 3.68kW is because there is a 16 Amps per phase limit so 16A multiplied by 230v = 3.68kW.

If you decide to install a system larger than 3.68kW, then you need to make a G59 application to the DNO this is a legal requirement they will decide whether this size system will operate within the existing grid framework i.e. an acceptable load will be exported on the grid. In most cases this application will be approved provided the proposed system is not deemed excessive. The process will however take approximately 8 weeks from start to finish, so it may delay the install.

The good news is that inverters are limited to 16 Amps, so in reality a 4kW system can be installed without the need to go through the G59 process, however if you are planning to install additional panels which will take your total installed capacity above the 4kW threshold , you will need to go through the G59 process.

How To Add Panels To Your Roof

Can I just add more solar panels on to my roof to upgrade my existing solar system?

If you have additional roof space with good sun exposure, its relatively simple to install more solar panels on a new section of rack. These additional panels can usually be tied into the existing string, giving you more solar capacity without any major changes to your current system. This is the ideal scenario for an upgrade, and customers who know theyll be expanding their system later can plan the initial design with an eventual upgrade in mind. However, upgrades arent always this simple. Roof space, inverter capacity, and sun exposure can all limit your ability to expand your system. With a little creativity, however, its still possible to increase your system size.

If youre expanding your system by a considerable amount, certain municipalities may impose limits or require further approval for extra panels, so talk to your solar installer about any additional permissions you may need before you proceed.

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Adding Solar Panels Frequently Asked Questions

Will I need a new permit?

Most likely. Your local utility company will have its unique reinspection requirements. Also, your local municipality may require a reinspection if you modify your solar energy system. A proper solar installation company will go over the process, what permits, if any, are needed when you add solar panels or a solar battery to your existing solar energy system.

Are solar panels required for my ADU?

As of January 1, 2020, all new construction, additions, and alterations to residential and commercial property buildings in California will be required to meet net-zero electricity guidelines. Title 24 also impacts residential homeowners because it applies to accessory dwelling units . ADUs are often referred to as secondary units, granny flats, or cottages and are required to meet net-zero electricity guidelines. Read more about How Title 24 Impacts your ADU.

Can Forme Solar add solar panels to my solar panel system?

Yes! We can add solar panels to an existing system but depending on who installed your solar energy system and the solar financing company, our options may be limited. Give us a call, and we can figure out if adding more solar panels to your existing system makes sense for your goals.

Should I Expand My Solar System

Sunshine Inc. installs a solar system that meets 100% of their electricity needs. Theyre thrilled with the initial tax savings, and theyre thrilled each month when they open up their low electricity bill. They watch from afar as their competitors electricity rates climb year after year, eating into their bottom line.

But then something funny starts to happen. One month, they notice their electric bill is quite a lot higher than months past. The weather has been nice as ever, and their solar system seems to be churning out as many kWhs as it should. So what happened?

Around the same time, Sunshine Inc. installed a new, energy-sucking machine to churn out more product. They extended their hours of operation to help meet the increase in demand, leaving their lights on hours longer than before. They increased their electricity consumption.

Sunshine Inc.s 100% now is very different from their 100% when they installed their solar system. But they miss those tiny electric bills, and they want them back.

What can Sunshine Inc. do?

In many situations, adding onto an existing solar system is a great way to wind electricity bills back down, for businesses and homeowners alike. Nothing stays the same for long. Whether its new technology for your business that helps your team work more efficiently or you treat yourself and your family to a new hot tub, the amount of electricity we use changes.

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Why You Should Expand Your Solar System

There are a few reasons homeowners may decide to expand their system after its installed. If any of these common reasons apply to you and your home, youre a good candidate for a solar upgrade.

  • Youd prefer several smaller installments.
    • Solar panels pay for themselves over time, so its sometimes easier to expand a system slowly to lessen the initial investment cost. In most cases, it makes sense to initially install a conservative system for financial or other reasons. Once your panels pay themselves off, youll be in a good financial position to invest in more panels.
  • Youve increased your electricity use. In many cases, you may see an increase in your electricity use after installing your solar panels. The thought of producing free electricity tends to make solar customers more relaxed about their energy use. If you start leaving your lights on more often, you may want to install more panels to account for the additional usage.
  • Youve expanded your home. If you add an extra room or two to your home or refinish a basement or garage, your electricity bill is likely to increase as well. Adding more solar panels can minimize the financial sting of your home expansion. Furthermore, additions often provide additional roof space for mounting another solar rack.

Adding Solar Panels To An Existing System

Can I add more solar panels to an existing system ...

The simple math says you need about 8.8 KW to generate 13,000 KWh/year. Your 6 x 370 Watt panels will bring you to ~8.7 KW. Looks like the right number.You may have to install a larger or second inverter if you aren’t using microinverters on each panel…

The simple math says you need about 8.8 KW to generate 13,000 KWh/year. Your 6 x 370 Watt panels will bring you to ~8.7 KW. Looks like the right number.You may have to install a larger or second inverter if you aren’t using microinverters on each panel…

This is why when I put in my solar, I told the folks I wanted the largest inverter I could buy, incase I wanted to put more panels on.In my case 47 panels, with a solaredge 11400 inverter. During certain peaks in summer, the inverter would hit its limit even though solar could produce more. If I get approval and put in batteries, I would have 2 gateways. So, I need to buy a second inverter and split up my solar. Just talked to the engr and said even though splitting my solar would say I only needed smaller inverters, I said I still wanted to put in the largest, 11400, since the cost difference is not that much. She said no problemo. Always need to plan for future changes.

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Australian Standards For Solar Panel Installations Have Changed

Consider the fact that Australian standards for solar panel installations have changed over time. Though you may be able to add more solar panels to your installation, the new panels may make it so that your installation isnt up to code. Your entire installation would need to be updated.

In general, these issues are grandfathered in for people who already have installations. If your current installation doesnt meet code, its not going to be an issue until you try to modify it. But once you modify it, you are going to need to concern yourself with the new codes.

If youre looking to explore the chances that you might need to make to your existing installation, talk to us today.

Planning For Additional Solar Panels

Increasing the amount of solar panels isnt solely determined by how much space you have remaining on your roof. The size of the panels you currently have installed will impact whether you can add more to your system. If your new installation means the energy your solar panel system generates stays below 3.68kW , you will be able to continue with no issue.

If adding your new solar panels generates more than 3.68kW of energy, youll need to submit a G59 application form to the Distribution Network Officer . This will determine whether the increased size of your system can operate within the existing grid framework. You will need confirmation of the permission ahead of any fitting. Be wary that this can be quite a lengthy process, and can take several months to receive a response.

How many additional solar panels do you need?

This will depend on the amount of additional power required and the amount of power your current solar panel system produces. Ideally, youll use the same panels as your current system, but if the exact panels arent available, aim to install panels with the same power rating that your existing panels generate.

Consider purchasing solar batteries

While adding more solar panels to your system, you can also increase your energy efficiency by purchasing solar batteries. Solar power batteries work by storing excess energy generated when its sunny and keep it available to use at night or during storms.

Check your figures

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You Will Need To Get Another Inverter

Inverters are able to oversize at approximately 133% of their original rating, but no more. If your inverter cant support the new panels, youre going to need to replace it. This is expensive, usually prohibitively so.

But that doesnt mean that you cant change your installation, it just means that youre going to need to find another way. The better thing to do is install another inverter and a completely separate system, and then tie those systems together.

Can I Add More Panels To My Existing Solar Energy System

Can You Add Batteries to an Existing Solar Energy System?

Interested in adding more panels to your roof? We can help with that. Well explain how many solar panels you need to power your home, why your solar energy system may not produce 100% of your solar energy needs, what you need to know when adding additional panels, and a few other things that will help clarify the solar panel additions.

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Can Your Roof Withstand The New Solar Panels Weight

Before you can even think about adding more solar panels, the first thing that must be evaluated is whether or not your roof can handle a new addition to it.

After all, if your roof cant support any more weight from another panel installation then how can we expect it to hold up?

Luckily modern solar panels are quite light and can be installed without too much of an issue.

The heaviest solar panel the average homeowner can expect to have on his or her roof is around 30 pounds, which can be easily handled by most residential roofs.

However, before you go ahead and order more panels online, its important to check if your home can support them first!

Most roofs can support a few new panels, however, some homes that suffer from too much heat or are already under stress cant handle any addition.

So before you get ahead of yourself and start installing more panels on your home, make sure to consult an expert to see whether your roof will be able to withstand the new weight or not.

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