It happens all the time: you installed a solar panel system and within a few years, you realize you need to produce a little more to offset increased usage. You need a bigger system!
Fortunately, most newer systems are sized with the capability to increase capacity. Older systems (10+ years or more) are a little harder to add onto since technology has changed, but you can always install a new system side-by-side with an older one as an option.
So how does more adding solar panels to an existing system work?
This all depends on how big your inverter is. If your system was oversized to accommodate adding to it, your inverter should be big enough to handle generating a little more power. If your inverter is too small to handle additional panels, you’ll need to have a larger capacity inverter installed along with the new panels.
Also, be space-conscious. More panels means you’ll need more available space, either on your roof or on the ground.
A couple of things to keep in mind
The first thing you should do when considering adding to your system is to contact the solar contractor that installed your solar panels originally and discuss with them upgrade options and what your goals are. This is an important step to remember since you can possibly void your system warranty if you hire another contractor to add to your existing system. If the original solar contractor is no longer in business, you should try contacting the manufacturer of your system and ask them to refer a local installer who can help you.
Mixing and matching components from different brands can be done if needed, as long as the voltage is compatible and can be balanced properly.
If you have not had your system installed yet and are just trying to plan ahead for future usage, you’ll want to do a few things:
- Choose a strong and established panel and inverter manufacturer, even if it might cost a little more than the others. Choosing a lesser-known manufacturer may cost less up-front but you could end up paying more in the long run if you need warranty work or assistance in the future.
- Discuss future usage with your solar contractor. Let them know your goals and the possibility of wanting to add to your system later. That way, you can have them design a system that will accommodate future expansion.
Microinverters: If you have panels installed with microinverters, it will be a little easier to add to your system down the line. Since each panel has its own inverter in the string, there will be less additional wiring needed.
Have questions about adding to your system? We’d be happy to help you out with whatever you need: Contact Us