Adding solar panels to an existing system can be a great choice whether you own or lease your current solar system if you have enough available space to do so. This allows for better meeting your home energy needs, providing an excellent ROI, and increasing reliability.
While adding more solar panels to an existing solar panel system may sound hard, it’s probably easier than you think. It would help if you remembered that many solar companies have a minimum number of solar panels required for any installation project.
Compelling Reasons to Add Solar Panels to an Existing System
There are many reasons you may want to add more solar panels to different types of solar installations. For instance, your house members may have grown in number, and you need more electricity to power your needs.
Meet New Energy Requirements
Adding panels to an existing system will help you increase the energy your home can produce. This additional capacity can either meet your home energy needs or be sold back to your local grid.
Invest in Solar Production
In the face of rising electricity costs, you may find financial advantages in expanding your solar production system. The cost of producing electricity from the sun remains constant while the cost of fossil fuels fluctuates. You can capitalize on this by selling solar energy at higher prices to your electricity grid.
Increase Home Value
Producing solar energy can also increase the value of your home. And it can also lead to your home selling faster when placed on the market.
Installation Can Be Simple
Installation can be speedy and simple if you have extra space on your flat or slanted roof. There are often simple ways to increase your solar capacity by adding more solar panels.
Ways to Add Solar Panels to an Existing 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.
We’ve gathered some of the best options so you can see which one suits you best.
Simply Adding Panels With No Inverter
If you have extra room on your roof or your ground mount, adding extra solar panels without an inverter can be a great option. All you need is some extra racking. However, make sure to double-check because there are things you have to bear in mind to make this happen.
First, you need to make sure that all the panels are compatible. The easiest track you can take is to add the exact solar panels you already have to your solar system.
If your panels are no longer available, you can also use a panel with a similar capacity. Talk to your solar panel installer since they may have a better idea of the best panel options for you. Aside from that, you also need to make sure that your current inverter can support the capacity of the added solar panels.
Depending on your inverter size, you can add solar panels and connect them to your existing inverter. However, if the capacity is less than the DC size of the combined new and old solar panel system, you need to purchase a new inverter.
When going with this option, always keep the warranty of your system in mind. If you are satisfied with the job of your solar installer, you can stick with it when adding more solar panels to your existing solar system.
And this way, you can better negotiate warranty terms with your installation company. If you switch companies, you may void the warranty of the original system, and you’ll run into troubles if issues come up.
Add a New Inverter With the Panels
Your old inverter system may not support your new panels. If so, it’s a good idea to replace your inverter if you want to add to your existing solar energy system. Depending on the capacity of your new setup, you can add a large inverter that has a high peak capacity that can handle your solar energy system needs.
Replacing a perfectly working inverter with a new one can be a difficult decision. But remember that this is one of the most integral parts of your solar system. If you don’t replace your inverter, it may develop more serious issues in the future.
If the savings you’ve enjoyed from the old panel setup was significant, buying a new inverter may truly be the smartest decision for you.
Install a New System
If you want to increase the size of your solar energy system by a significant amount, your best option may be to install a new solar system. This means a new inverter and new panels. While this may sound expensive, it’s quite possibly the most affordable option for this goal.
Installing a separate system is very easy. And it may take less time compared to integrating new panels into your old solar panel system. Not only that, but you won’t have to deal with voiding the warranty of your previous solar system if you want to try a different brand or solar installer.
When you install a new system, it can also be space-saving. This is because you will not be limited by the location of your old solar panels.
If your roof doesn’t have enough space to fit new solar panels, a ground-mounted system may be a better option. Of course, the convenience of the location will also depend on your state or local municipality’s regulations. You may need to get a new permit.
What You Need to Consider When Adding Solar Panels to an Existing System
The process of getting additional solar panels won’t be the same as your first time getting a solar energy system for your home. We’ve rounded up some of the factors you must keep in mind when making this decision.
Your Energy Needs
How many panels do you need in addition to your current ones? This will be the first thing you need to figure out since it will affect not only the design of your project but also its total cost.
The number of panels you want to add to your existing solar energy systems will depend on many factors. This includes your electricity bill after adding a solar system, your location, your current solar energy system, and the design of your system.
Gather all your electric bills and bring them to your chosen installer. They are the best people to help determine how many more solar panels you need.
Components in Adding Solar Panels to Existing System
Can you remember the brand and model of the solar panels you used in your original installation? Do these components need an upgrade?
Your panel system will last for more than two decades. While you may see dips as time goes by in its production and efficiency, it’s doubtful you need to replace the entire system before its lifespan ends. However, do not hesitate to ask your installer for updates regarding your current panels. This includes the wiring and racking. If you want to add more solar panels, installing the same type as your old one will make way for consistency when it comes to looks.
Aside from this aesthetic benefit, it will also have the same efficiency and output as your old panels. If you install panels that don’t have the same efficiency as your old ones, this could damage your system.
Your Available Space
You can’t add more solar panels to your home if you do not have enough space. If you have a flat rooftop system or a sloped one that is already constrained, you will probably not be able to add more panels. It is important to note that solar systems mounted on the ground are easier to add new ones.
Considering this, if you have run out of space to install any more panels, that doesn’t mean there’s isn’t any hope for you. You can always install supplemental arrays in other places on your property, such as your gazebo or carports.
Choice of Installer
Ask your previous installer if they do additional projects since this may be the best option for you. Chances are, these professionals are already familiar with the solar panel system in your home. And they are best equipped to handle adding additional solar panels.
But if you have had a bad experience with your former installer or have gone out of business, you can look for a new installer. Be prepared, though, as it may be challenging to find a company that can add to your current array of panels.
This is because most companies do not do additional work for installations they did not do themselves. This is for a couple of reasons. First, the size of the project may be small, and second, they don’t want to get caught up in a web of conflicting warranties on the installation. When it comes to the size of a solar panel system, many installers have a minimum project size to maintain their profit margin.
If you want to add a couple of panels, the company will profit less than a standard installation. Depending on how busy the company is, they may want to focus more on larger residential installations. This can cause difficulty for anyone looking to expand an existing solar system.
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 (PBI) 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.
Permits in Adding Solar Panels to Existing System
If you want to add more panels to your system, will you need new permits? The answer can depend on many factors. First, it depends on how many panels you want to add. It is also important whether or not you need to get a new inverter. Lastly, the permitting requirements in your area are worth noting.
If you want to add more than a couple of kilowatts and you need to purchase an inverter, you most likely have to submit an interconnection application with your utility company.
Installation companies in your area should be aware of the permits required of you. And they can also typically help you file these as part of their services.
Consider Solar Batteries
If you have decided to go against getting additional panels, there are still many ways to increase the energy efficiency of your solar energy setup.
One cost-effective way to do this is to install solar batteries. These devices store the excess energy that is generated by your system when it is sunny. Therefore, you can use it during power interruptions, when it’s snowing heavily, or at night.
Solar batteries also enable grid trading so you can sell the excess energy back to the grid. This will allow you to earn money and save on your bills at the same time.
Adding New Panels Is Now Easier Than Ever
The cost of solar panels continues to drop. So more homeowners are thinking of adding new solar panels to their existing solar panel systems. Now that you know your different options, you can make a more informed decision about adding solar panels to your existing system.
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