The simple answer is yes we can add more panels to your system. We recommend that you go a year with your solar system before installing additional panels to your system so that we can have a proper assessment of the annual consumption of your home. This annual consumption will determine how many more additional panels you will need. In this article, I will go over things to consider when wanting additional panels and how to start that process of adding additional panels.
What you need to know before adding new solar panels to your existing system
There are a few things to know before you add panels to an existing system. You will also most likely be replacing your system’s inverter. Because of that, it’s a good idea to consider adding home batteries to your system as well. If you decide to add batteries after adding solar panels to your system, you will have to replace the inverter a second time. Systems with batteries require inverters that also charge the batteries and manage their power output.
How much additional power do you need?
If you have increased your electrical usage since you first installed your solar, then you can calculate how much additional power you’ll need by looking at your utility bill. Your solar installer will use information from your utility bill to determine how much extra power you need. Your solar installer will also be able to advise you if there are any restrictions on the amount of power you can generate. Your utility company may restrict the maximum amount of power you can generate.
Other things to consider are the additions to the home like a pool, jacuzzi, electric car or truck, or a baby/family member. All of these things will increase your power consumption and spike your electric bill. So be forward in your thinking when thinking about adding panels. Think of it as the old saying "measure twice, cut once", you wanna make sure you add the proper amount of additional panels to meet your consumption.
How many additional solar panels will you need?
That will depend on how much power you need and how much power your existing panels generate. When you add panels to your system, you’ll want to use the same panels your system currently has. If those exact panels aren’t available, then you’ll want to use panels that are rated to produce the same amount of power that your existing panels generate.
Consider adding home batteries as well
An inverter is a device in your solar system that converts the DC power from your solar panels into AC power for your home and the grid. When you add panels to your existing system, you will have to replace the inverter. Should you choose to add home batteries to your system, you will also have to replace the inverter. Thus, if you are thinking about adding home batteries, adding them at the same time you add panels to your system is a smart move.
Reasons you may want to add batteries to your solar system
If you live in California, you may be subject to frequent blackouts in the fall during hot, windy days. A regular solar system can’t provide power to your home during blackouts, but a system with batteries can.
Time-of-Use billing (ToU)
If your utility company bills you using Time-of-Use (ToU) billing, then batteries can save you money. Peak rates are often charged in the evening after your solar system stops producing power. Batteries can power your home during those peak-rate hours, and then recharge the next day from your solar system.
Some states, including California, have financial incentives for installing batteries. Batteries are also eligible for the federal tax credit for renewable energy.
You should contact a qualified tax expert and consult with them. Lifestyle Solar itself can give you tax advice. A qualified tax professional will understand your situation and be able to give you the most relevant advice.
Will I need a new permit?
It depends. Your local municipality may require re-inspection if you modify your system. Your utility company may also have rein-spection requirements. Your solar installer will discuss what, if any, permits you may need when you add solar panels to your system.
Can I have Lifestyle Solar add solar panels to my existing system?
If you had your system installed by Lifestyle Solar, the answer is yes! Just give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss adding panels to your system with you. Again we ask that you have had your system for a minimum a year before checking on adding additional panels.