As the world shifts towards more sustainable and eco-friendly energy sources, many homeowners are turning to solar power to reduce their carbon footprint and save on energy costs. If you already have a solar system in place, adding solar panels to an existing system can further enhance the benefits of using solar energy.
However, knowing how to add solar panels to a proper system can be challenging. In this blog, we’ll cover everything you need to know about adding solar panels to your current setup, including the benefits, challenges, and factors to consider before upgrading.
Common Challenges of Adding Solar Panels to an Existing System
These are some common concerns you have to resolve to add more solar panels to the existing system:
Most Australians have a 5kW system that consists of roughly 14 panels. This system can generate up to 20 kWh of energy on a nice sunny day. If you want to increase this limit by adding new panels, you will need to take permission from the grid to install a high-power inverter.
Moreover, you will have to upgrade the entire solar panel system according to Australia Photovoltaic Standards after adding new solar panels.
Solar Panel Compatibility
Mixing solar panels is prohibited according to the new Australian standards. Therefore, you cannot upsize a solar panel system that is older than two years, as older technology will not be compatible with current standards. Therefore, you will have to completely replace the wiring of the existing system to add more solar panels.
Electrical System Upgrade
Most residential solar panel systems are not designed for upgrading. Therefore, your system may not be electrically equipped to integrate the power generated from new panels properly. As a result, you will not be able to access the total amount of produced power. To deal with this issue, you must change the entire electrical structure and get more inverters to improve energy integration.
Your building structure plays a major role in whether you can add solar panels to the house. Installing new panels increases the dead load on a building, especially if you live in regions with high snowfall. Therefore, before adding more panels, you must consult with professionals about the safety of your house structure.
A solar panel installation service will review your home’s construction documents and blueprints to decide if the building is safe for the upgrade. In the case the load-carrying capacity does not meet the safety criteria, you can install roof joists or reinforce existing beams to strengthen the structural system.
Why Add Solar Panels to Existing System?
Increase Energy Production
If you have bought new electrical appliances, such as an air fryer, or switched your gas-powered appliances to electric, you will need more energy to power these items. You can meet new energy consumption needs by adding new solar panels.
Unreliable Local Utility Grid
Localised power outages in Australia are frequent due to lightning, floods, high winds, and storms. Depending on the weather condition, the outages can last for days. Solar panel systems come with backup batteries, so you can store energy and use this supply during outages.
Reduced Electricity Bill
If you have extra space on the roof, you can install more panels to increase solar energy production. This will lower your electricity bill, making you independent of the electrical grid. Moreover, you can sell extra solar energy back to your energy provider to earn extra money.
Solar panel systems are quite reliable and can last more than 25 years. However, panels start to lose their production capacity over time. So, if you installed a solar panel system a decade ago, it may not be performing with the same efficiency.
Factors to Consider Before A Solar Panel System Upgrade
There are two factors you must consider when adding solar panels to an existing system.
Check Feed-In Tariffs Rules
After upgrading your solar panel system, you may have to forfeit your old system’s feed-in tariffs (FiT). However, some rules and policies may allow you to keep the old FiT even after an upgrade. Calculate whether you will profit more on current or new tariffs and then decide the shift.
Inspect the Solar Panels System Size Limit
Some cities have a limit on solar panel size and energy production. If you exceed this limit, the power companies will charge you extra fees depending on how much your upgrade impacts their network. Therefore, consult with your power network operator and learn the expanding limit of your solar panel system.
How to Add Solar Panels to an Existing System
Select the Solar Panel System
There are different types of solar panels available, including polycrystalline, monocrystalline, and thin film. Consider which type is best suited for your system based on efficiency, cost, and space requirements
Consider the Location of The New Panels
The location of your new panels is crucial to their efficiency. Ensure that they are installed at a region that receives maximum sunlight and is free from shade and obstructions.
Connect the New Panels to Your Existing System
Once you’ve installed your new solar panels, you’ll need to connect them to your existing system. This process involves wiring the new panels to your existing inverter and ensuring that the system is properly configured to handle the additional energy output.
Monitor Your System’s Performance
After you’ve added the new panels, it’s important to monitor your system’s performance to ensure that it’s generating the expected amount of energy. Keep an eye on your energy bills and usage to track the system’s performance.
A solar panel system is the perfect solution to lower electricity bills and enjoy electricity even during power outages.
However, if your system is underperforming or not equipped to meet your energy needs, you can add more solar panels to the existing system. Before making this transition, make sure to check that the new panels are compatible with the old ones. You should also find out if your house structure is strong enough to bear the new weight without compromising the house’s safety.
You can consult an expert solar panel installation service to learn more about your upgrade options. Solaire Connect has experienced professionals that can guide you at every stage of the process.