Adding new solar panels to your solar energy system
If you already have a solar energy system on your property. You may be thinking about adding new panels to your existing system. This could be for a variety of reasons; the existing panels are getting old or underperforming. You might also want to increase your system’s energy generation for new additions or appliances on your property. However, adding new panels to your existing system won’t be the same as starting from scratch. There will be several things to consider when doing so.
Your current electrical usage
Your current energy usage is an important consideration. You will have to know how much energy your property uses monthly. Along with your solar energy system’s average energy output. You can use your electricity bills to find both figures. This information will help you understand how many additional panels you could add to your system. Figuring out how many panels you need based on your electricity bills can be tricky. Our articles on understanding your utility bill and calculating potential solar power can help. You can also contact us directly to help you figure out how many additional panels you would need for your system.
Your existing solar energy system
You will have to consider the existing components of your solar energy system. Knowing the specifications of your existing solar panels and inverter will be helpful.
Your existing solar panels can last over 25 years before seeing any dip in performance. You would want to look into getting the same solar panels, or ones with the same power output and efficiency specifications. This is to ensure compatibility and also keep your existing aesthetic. Adding new panels with different specifications can damage your existing array. It would be good to also check on your existing solar panels, racking, and wiring for maintenance.
You will also have to check the inverter in your current system. Your inverter may not have the capacity to support the additional solar panels. Generally, converters tend to have a slightly lower power rating than the output of your solar panels. This is because energy is lost during the DC to AC power conversion process. If you are running a system with a string inverter, you may have to look into replacing your inverter. If your system has microinverters, it is much easier as each panel has its inverter. It’s simply a matter of adding a new inverter with each new panel.
The available space on your property
When installing a solar energy system from scratch, every component is set up and arranged to maximize its power output and efficiency. If your solar panels are mounted on your rooftop, you might have used up most of the available space with your existing panels. If your system is ground-mounted, you might not be as concerned about space. Although this comes with the possible issue of having to construct another foundation for your solar panels. Additional trenching will need to be done for new lines to your electrical system. Alternatives for solar panel locations can include solar carports, sheds, or gazebos.
Permitting and interconnection
When adding new solar panels to your solar energy system, you may have to apply for permits depending on the additions to your solar energy system. This will depend on your location and local municipality. There is also the matter of interconnection. Your utility company may ask for another interconnection application if your upgrades include; adding more than a few kilowatts (KW) of additional panels to your system and replacing your inverter. These permits and interconnection requirements filing will be handled along with your upgrades.
Adding on additional panels to your system may not be eligible for incentives like tax credits and rebates. This is because incentives tend to be valid for the original installation for your solar energy system and can only be claimed once whether for your property or per person. Meanwhile, Performance-based incentives (PBIs) can be affected by getting a new inverter and having a re-file for interconnection. They can also vary as they are relative to the performance of your solar energy system. When installing a system, we run our customers through the incentives they can take advantage of when installing their solar energy system.
Get started with solar energy today
If you are looking to start your transition to solar energy, we are here to help. Our website also has a free online estimate tool that generates a personalized report for you from a simplified questionnaire. That report will contain the potential savings you can net, and the cost of a solar energy system installed on your property. You can also contact us directly via phone at +1 (602) 363-8919 or via email at Scott@elitesolarenergy.org for more information regarding solar energy for your property.