Can I Add Solar Panels to an Existing System?

Man installing solar panels

Solar panel systems on a home can go a long way towards reducing energy costs and consumption, while significantly shrinking a household’s carbon footprint. As the benefits of powering your home on solar energy become better known, more people are looking to jump on the solar energy bandwagon, while those who are already enjoying the benefits of renewable energy at home are looking for ways to expand their existing solar panel system. If you are in the latter group of people looking to add more solar panels to your existing system, there are some considerations you may want to take into account before beginning your expansion project.

There are three primary methods for enlarging your home solar panel system, each with its own advantages depending on your specific needs. Below is a concise overview of each method to augment your current solar setup, designed to assist you in deciding the most suitable option for your home moving forward.

Differents ways to add more solar panels to your existing Solar system

Keep your inverter and add more panels

Option one is probably the most straightforward option listed here. Depending on your specific situation, you can expand your solar panel system simply by having your original installer add more of the same PV panels that you already have to your existing system. In order to do this without adding an additional inverter, or one which has a higher energy capacity, you need to keep the Kilowatt total of your solar panels below a certain amount.

What many people don’t know about their inverter is the fact that it is capable of remaining connected to a system of panels with a peak power that exceeds the inverter’s rated peak power. In fact, a single inverter can efficiently function within normal safety parameters while connected to a panel array with a peak power of up to 133% of the inverter’s capacity. This is because when power is being transferred from the panel array to the inverter, there is a natural loss of kilowatts. For example, this means that a panel array that has a power capacity of 3kW will actually only produce 2.4kW. This means you have a little wiggle room when it comes to adding more panels to your system. You can actually help make up the difference in lost power with these extra PV panels! However, this option is only possible if you can hire your original installer to add the exact same panels to your existing system.

Replace your inverter with a larger one, then add more panels

Enhancing your current solar panel system doesn’t just mean adding more panels. Since there are new and better types of PV panels and inverters being introduced to the market practically every year, there’s a good chance you are due for an upgrade. By replacing your old inverter with a new one, you can do a lot to increase the overall efficiency of your solar energy system. For one thing, there are plenty of examples of inverters older than seven years that are likely on their last legs. If you have an inverter made by Sunny Roo, KLNE, JFY, JSI, Aerosharp, or Sharp, this is a good opportunity to make the switch to a larger, more reliable model.

Newer, larger inverters can also help you overcome possible issues finding compatible PV panels for your current system. As mentioned before, there are always newer, more efficient technologies being introduced to the solar energy industry, which means it can be difficult to find the same panels you purchased years ago. Thanks to newer, larger inverters with two or more inputs, you can easily combine your new array of PV panels with your existing one while having them connected to a single inverter.

Install a new system separately from your existing solar system

If you are most interested in the straightforward approach to expanding your solar panel system, then it is probably best to simply install an additional system with its own set of panels, inverter(s), and battery backups. Doing so gives you the added bonus of having a separate warranty that isn’t conditional on any compatibility with your old solar system. You can also claim an additional rebate on your new system, making it just as cost-effective as your existing solar panel system.

If you are interested in any of the options described above for expanding the solar panel system at your home, be sure to contact professional residential solar panel contractors to get started!