Adding Solar Panels To Existing System? Here’s What You Need To Know

Are you considering adding solar panels to an existing system? if the answer is yes, then I am going to share with you what you need to do in order to achieve that.

Can I add solar panels to an existing system?

Adding Solar Panels To Existing System? Here’s What You Need To Know

The simple answer is yes, In most cases, increasing the size of your solar array is a sensible and fairly straightforward thing to do. Having said that, adding just one or two more panels might be more trouble than it’s worth.

Most solar companies will have a required minimum because it doesn’t make sense for them nor the homeowner due to the price of the permitting process, and labor.

This is the reason that most of the companies out there have a minimum number of solar panels you need to install in your household in order to carry the project.

If you are going to add solar panels yourself you need to consider when the existing solar panel system was installed, if it is very old you might need some kind of an interface to connect the old solar panels to the new ones because the technologies have changed a lot and the new panels are not wired in the same way as the old one.

Reason to add more solar panels to an existing system

There are many reasons why you might want to add more solar panels to your system, I am going to list some of them here.

1) The existing system was designed to offset a percentage of your electricity bill

I have seen this many times, the customer wanted to offset 50% of the electricity bills, but after some time they want to offset 100% of the bill, if this is the case you will need to add some panels.

2) Use more electricity 

You could have a system that was providing 100% of the electricity but due to habit change in the usage of electricity, the energy produced can not offset the consumption, this can be because more people live in the house, more electrical appliances installed a hot tub, etc, in this case also you need to add more solar panels.

Things to Consider When Expanding Your Solar PV System

There are few things that you should consider before expanding the solar panel system.

Space and location

Do you have enough space to add new solar panels, for example, if the first system was installed on the roof of your house, is there a space to add new panels? depending on how much more solar panels you need this can be a big problem.

Desired additional capacity

You know that you need to add more solar panels, but what is the end goal of this? do you want the addition of solar panels to offset 100% of your bill? or do you just want to reduce the electricity bill?

Speak with the solar installer, share with them your goal and your current electricity bill they should be able to determine the number of solar panels you need to reach your desired goal.

Available incentive 

Incentives might be different for expanding your solar panel system from the ones you get when you install a new system. You need to check with local authorities you might qualify for some of those or any sort of tax rebates.

Adding Solar Panels To Existing System

When it comes to adding solar panels to an existing system you have three options:

1) Adding more panels to your existing system – using your original inverter.

2) Get a new, bigger inverter and add more panels too.

3) Get a whole new separate solar system installed next to the original.

Not let us examine each option and examine the good, the bad, and the ugly.

1) Adding more panels to your existing system – using your original inverter

For me, this is the easiest way to add more panels to the existing system, the reason for this is that you can add a panel array with peak power up to 133% of your inverter’s rated peak power.

So if you have a big inverter, this is the smart way to go.

The big issue with this method is that if your original solar installer does not perform the upgrade you might lose the warranty if any, this can not be good.

Another issue is that in order to make this work, you need to buy the same or very similar panels to your existing ones, if your installation is old (more than 10 years) it can be very difficult to find similar solar panels due to the change of technology.

2) Get a new, bigger inverter and add more panels too.

Another way to add panels to the existing system is to buy a new and bigger solar inverter, this is more expensive than the first method but in my opinion, it is more practical.

If you have a system that is connected to a battery, it is much easier to connect batteries to one inverter than to connect to a system that has two inveters.

3) Get a whole new separate solar system installed next to the original.

If you are not using a solar system with battery backup this is the way to go in order to upgrade your system.

You install a new system with a separate warranty, there is no need to integrate with the order system so the wiring is easier and more often this can be cheaper than the second option.

Final words

That is it, that is all you need to know when it comes to adding solar panels to an existing system, thank you for reading.