There are a number of reasons why upgrading your existing solar system might be necessary, regardless of whether it’s an older system or if it’s been recently installed—including bringing your electricity bills down even further, enhancing solar generation, as well as increasing the energy efficiency of the entire system. Given the life expectancy of solar panels—which tends to be around 25 years or even more—it pays to invest in these necessary upgrades in order to maximize return on your investment. If updating your solar system is on the agenda, here are the best upgrades to consider.
- Add Solar Panels to Your Existing System
- Replacing or Adding to Your Inverter Setup
- Upgrade Your Solar Installation With a Battery Storage System
- Add an Energy Management System
Add Solar Panels to Your Existing System
There are several factors you want to consider when shopping for additional solar panels for your existing solar system. First, you’ll need to think about the number of additional panels that need to be installed. Depending on where you live, your solar system design, and your electricity bill after going solar, your installer should be able to calculate how many solar panels you should add.
Secondly, think about the available space for additional solar panels. If you have a ground mount system, expanding with another array or two may be possible. In the case of the more common rooftop solar system, you can utilize other surfaces such as a shed or a gazebo to install additional solar arrays.
Finally, you’ll have to think about solar panel compatibility, permitting, and interconnection, as well as the company that will tackle the project. If the original installer can’t do the work, you’ll want to find another installer that specializes in these add-on projects.
Replacing or Adding to Your Inverter Setup
Speaking of adding solar panels to your existing solar system, you should determine whether your central string inverter or array of microinverters can handle the increased amount of electricity that will be generated.
If not, you may need to upgrade your inverter setup in order to accommodate the new capacity that is being added. Consider taking advantage of the new features of the latest central string inverters from Sunny Boy, which are made by German maker SMA. These inverters arrive with a manufacturers warranty and benefit from a convection cooling design to keep the power flowing. In doing so, these grid-tied inverters can help optimize your solar system’s efficiency while also keeping it safe from hazards such as system overloads and electrical fires.
While most solar inverters come with a warranty, some companies such as Enphase offer extended warranties of up to 25 years on their microinverters. Therefore, before purchasing and installing new inverters, be sure to check with your installer to see if they can be repaired or replaced while under warranty as a way of ensuring the optimal performance of your solar system—while keeping costs to a minimum.
Upgrade Your Solar Installation With a Battery Storage System
Part of increasing your solar system’s energy efficiency can be accomplished with a residential energy storage system. Enter Tesla Powerwall, one of the top solar energy storage solutions available on the market at the moment.
A single Powerwall system allows you to store up to 14 kWh of energy, out of which 13.5 kWh are usable. This can enable you to use the stored energy to run your household during the night while also acting as reliable backup power in case of a grid outage. And if you need more storage capacity, additional Powerwalls can be added to work in unison.
Most consumers are surprised to find out their grid-tied solar system becomes useless during a power outage since they are required to automatically switch off to prevent electrocutions of utility service providers servicing the grid. With a Powerwall, the system is able to automatically isolate itself in the event of a power outage, thus providing power for your home until the grid comes back online.
Furthermore, the Powerwall can provide long-term energy cost savings by storing energy while the sun shines during the day and then using it at night from its battery banks when the energy cost per kilowatt hour is often higher.
Add an Energy Management System
Another way of maximizing payback from your existing solar system involves adding an energy management system. A combination of software and hardware, an energy management system (EMS) allows you to monitor your real-time energy consumption, analyze the collected data, and identify any trends that affect the deviations from targets.
Energy management systems such as eGauge system, Sense Solar as well as systems from Enphase can include different sensors, smart energy meters, and devices that give you an insight into all electrical usage in your household while also providing you with realtime information on solar generation.
If the analyzed data is properly utilized, this could lead to reduction of energy consumption up to 30%, resulting in not only financial but also significant environmental benefits.
Going solar is a big investment, so you should do everything in your power to ensure that your solar system is performing at an optimal level. With these upgrades, you’re sure to boost your solar system energy efficiency while at the same time extending its lifespan.
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