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  • Melissa Deaver

Adding Solar Panels to an Existing System

There are so many questions that go into buying a new solar array for your home or business. A common one is about system size and adaptability - can the system grow if my energy needs grow? The great news is that, yes, adding panels to an existing system is completely possible and relatively easy!


Why Add More Panels


Common reasons for adding solar panels to an existing system include, adding square footage to your home, getting an electric vehicle, installing a battery system, moving from gas to electric or adding features like a pool. Whatever the reason for more power, we've got you covered!


Sizing an Addition


How many panels you'll need to add to cover your needs will depend upon what kind of upgrade you've completed. On average, a new electric vehicle charging station will require 5 panels. This number will vary, however, based on what kind of vehicle you have and how much you drive. Battery back up systems, again, will depend upon the size of the battery and how frequently you use it. These can range from 1-6 panels needed to cover the extra energy.


Electrification of your entire home is something many people are moving towards. Replacing gas-powered appliances and equipment (stoves, heat pumps, dryers, etc.) with electric ones can save you money in the long run. Extra panels will be required if it's a major system overhaul. These could require up to an additional 10 panels.


The Process


Adding panels to an existing system is a relatively easy process, as most of the framework is in place. It does, however, require a new interconnection application through your utility, new permits, new racking, potentially new inverter(s) and the installation labor. This could be quite a significant spend, depending on your needs.


If you're anticipating more energy consumption in the near future when installing your array, you may want to consider adding extra panels up front. This would save you a lot of money in the long run. There is only really one con to adding extra panels up front, and that's the fact that you won't get to use the extra energy produced. This power will be fed back into the grid-tied system and used by the utility company.


Incentives


The 30% Federal Tax Credit that you likely took advantage of with your first installation is still available. The additional panels must be added to the array which claimed the credit in order to qualify.


Summary


Adding panels is completely possible and highly recommended if you are in need! When your need for more power arises, contact your solar installer to discuss the process.

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