Your current power output is basically what enough for you was at the time of installation. Over time, you will need to increase your electricity production. Maybe you’ve had a few people move in with you, bought new appliances, or the latest EV!
The current system doesn’t meet your demand
As long as your current system does not meet your electricity needs, you can upgrade your existing solar system. If you are currently producing lower power kilo-wattage than you need, you can add more panels to your system.
Also, you can replace the old panels with more efficient brands that will convert more sunlight to electricity. Before you expand your production, consider your consumption, size of your roof, and budget.
How to Know if Your Solar System Meets Your Power Demands
Sometimes, you could be consuming more power than your solar panels are producing. The information on your application or utility bill receipts should guide you appropriately.
The solar installation company should show how your system should ideally perform. If you notice a sharp difference between the estimated and current system performance, there could be a problem.
Lower performance than state guidelines
The performance of your solar system depends on your city. Cities that experience more sunlight hours have higher energy generation.
Of course, you have to tilt the angles at the optimum inclination and remove any shadowing. The Clean Energy Council recommends that panels in Australia are inclined at 30 degrees north.
If your system’s average daily output is lower than the ideal city production, you are running an underperforming solar array. See the ideal average daily output production for different cities in Australia (6.6 kW solar system)
How many additional solar panels do you need?
This is going to be the first question to address, as it will affect both your system design and the cost for the add-on project. The number of panels you need to add to your system will depend on a number of factors, including your electricity bill post-solar, where you live, the equipment, and your system design. If you have your electric bill information since going solar and can provide it to your installer, they should be able to determine how many additional panels you will need given your unique situation. If you’d like to start calculating this number on your own, check out our guide to calculating how many solar panels you need.
Space for solar panel installation
Do you have enough space to install additional solar panels? If you have a rooftop system with constrained space, the answer may be no. Ground mount systems can be a bit easier to add onto because property owners with ground mounts typically have a lot of sunny lands available for installation. That being said, if you’ve run out of roof space to install additional panels, that doesn’t mean you should give up. You can always investigate installing supplemental solar arrays on other structures on your property, such as carports, sheds, or gazebos.
Panel upgrade and compatibility
What panels were used in your original installation, and does any component require an upgrade? Your solar panels will continue to generate electricity for more than 25 years, at which point you might see more significant dips in production, so it’s unlikely you’ll need to replace the panels of the original system. But still ask your installer to check everything, including the racking and wiring.
When adding new panels, it’s a good idea to install the same type as your original array if possible. This ensures everything will match aesthetically, and has the same power outputs and efficiencies as your other panels. If you’re unable to install the exact same panels, you should still look to install new panels with the same or similar power output – otherwise, you could damage your existing array.
Inverter replacement or upgrade
Inverter upgrade is an important while solar system upgrade process. Electrical items will lag or fails when they age. It is not an isolated case that after 10 years solar inverters fail. Is your inverter good enough to handle the energy load? Is your inverter large enough for the additional panels? Depending on how much more new capacity you add to your system, you may need to replace your inverter.
When an installer sizes your inverter, it’s based on the power output of your panels. Because the direct current (DC) electricity being produced by your panels is being converted to alternating current (AC) at the inverter, the power rating of that inverter can be a bit smaller than the panels because of the energy loss that occurs during the conversion process.
If you’re adding quite a few panels and your entire solar panel system is much larger than the original size, it may generate more electricity than your pre-existing inverter can handle. Add-on projects are a bit easier if your original solar panel system uses microinverters as opposed to a power optimizer or string inverter system. Because microinverters are located at each individual panel, you don’t have to worry about inverter capacity issues and can just install additional microinverters with the new panels.
How Regen Power can help you with the solar system upgrade
Regen Power is a leading solar installer in Western Australia. The company has installed 35,000 solar systems throughout Western Australia. Let our team review your current system size against your current usage to make a recommendation for your panel upgrade or system addition.