How to Figure out If You Can Expand Your Solar Panel Array

If you have an existing solar panel installation on your roof, you may be pleased with the result that you're getting from it and may be wondering about some expansion. Is it possible to add additional panels to your existing array and in what different situations does this make sense?

Utilising Your Current Equipment

It's likely that you installed a solar system in the first place to lower your carbon footprint and to take advantage of cheaper electricity. When everything was installed, a technician may have given you a large inverter that allowed you to upgrade in the future should you wish.

Firstly, you need to check to see how many "maximum power point tracker" inputs you have. These inputs allow you to get as much energy as possible out of your solar panel array. Ideally, the inverter will have more than one of these inputs and this means that you can add a new set of solar panels to expand the system towards its fullest capacity. If the inverter only has one input, however, you have to make sure that you add panels that have the same specifications as the existing ones, so that you can maintain the energy production yield properly.

Freedom to Expand

You may also find that government "feed in" tariffs are no longer applicable in your situation. These were introduced when solar systems were relatively expensive and are being phased out in many locations. This may withdraw any restrictions that the government may have imposed on expansion and allow you to consider those extra panels.

Utilising the Space

Of course, you may just have some additional space on your roof and want to take advantage of it. In this case, you could add a brand-new system alongside the current one, utilising the existing inverter. Or, you could take out the old inverter and put another one in its place.

Battery Power

Furthermore, you may decide that you want to install some batteries from a storage perspective. You may need a hybrid inverter for this purpose, which will allow you to add additional panels and batteries. Alternatively, you could introduce a dedicated battery inverter, or choose from a variety of additional options. These include the installation of panels that sit behind a battery inverter, or the introduction of micro-inverters, where each panel has its own small inverter built-in.

Examining the Options

As you can see, there are a number of different options available but you should consult with an installation expert first, to see which would be best in your specific situation.