Can I just add more solar panels to my roof to upgrade my existing solar system?

You’ve purchased a solar panel system that’s too small for your home. Either it’s not providing enough power for your home, or you want to be able to sell more energy to the grid. Can you add more solar panels to the roof to upgrade the existing system? 

The answer is a little complex, and you should consult with a professional before making any decisions. But here are the basics that you should be aware of first.

Did You Buy Your System from 2007 through 2012?

If you purchased your system during this period, it’s likely that you’ve been told you can add panels to your existing system. But that was something that people were told regarding the technology of the time. Instead of a complete installation, people were told that they could expand their existing infrastructure, and immediately start gathering solar energy.

It’s technically possible, but actually unlikely. Though it was true at the time, solar panel technology has improved since then. The solar panels that are available today aren’t going to be able to be integrated with older systems. So even though theoretically you can expand your installation this way, on a practical level it isn’t possible. 

You can create an entirely new system and then augment your older system, and that will work. But it isn’t going to be a single system, it’s going to be two systems creating the same pool of energy. That’s still useful and usable, it’s just something that you’re going to need to consider, in terms of the installation cost. Usually you’re better off getting a right-sized solar panel system from the beginning.

Australian Standards for Solar Panel Installations Have Changed

Consider the fact that Australian standards for solar panel installations have changed over time. Though you may be able to add more solar panels to your installation, the new panels may make it so that your installation isn’t up to code. Your entire installation would need to be updated.

In general, these issues are “grandfathered in” for people who already have installations. If your current installation doesn’t meet code, it’s not going to be an issue until you try to modify it. But once you modify it, you are going to need to concern yourself with the new codes. Your solar panel company can help you explore the changes that you might need to make to your existing installation.

You Will Need to Get Another Inverter

Inverters are able to oversize at approximately 133% of their original rating, but no more. If your inverter can’t support the new panels, you’re going to need to replace it. This is expensive, usually prohibitively so.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t change your installation, it just means that you’re going to need to find another way. The better thing to do is install another inverter and a completely separate system, and then tie those systems together. 

Malfunctioning Systems Can Be Changed Out

What if your current system has stopped working? Can you add new panels then? If your system has stopped working, you can exchange a like-for-like product. If your inverter or panels need to be replaced, they can be exchanged. This is a better solution than trying to add onto a damaged network, and an expert in solar panel technology can help.

Are you wondering how you can upgrade your existing solar installation? You don’t necessarily need to replace the entirety of the installation, but it’s also not as simple as just adding on new solar panels. Because new solar panels are unlikely to be compatible with the system that you have now, and because it may blow you past peak capacity, it’s better to create a secondary system that will connect to the original system.

In general, creating and tying in a second solar panel system is going to be the ideal solution, because it allows both panel systems to work together to create a single pool of usable energy, which can either power your home or be sold elsewhere.

If you’re looking to add more solar panels, we can help. Contact us today to find out more about how to improve your energy output.