Our world is in the midst of a historical transition from old to new energy sources. In Europe, where electricity prices are high and old energy sources are in short supply, many PV homeowners are looking to further expand their revenues, whether to meet the increasing demand for electricity or to capture the profits that come from selling electricity. Read this article and you will learn how to properly add PV panels to expand your existing system.
Before getting started, you need to assess whether your home has the space to accommodate more PV panels.
1. Do you have extra space on the roof?
Space is a major limiting factor for new PV panel installations. Many PV systems already use all the available roof space on a house, so adding more panels can be difficult.
But it may be possible to gain some additional space by adjusting the arrangement of the PV panels. It is recommended that you consider roof space first - after all, the roof is the best option for sunlight exposure.
2. If there is not enough roof space, look elsewhere
If your house doesn't have any suitable area to install new PV panels, then consider other options, such as spare land where you can build brackets to install PV panels.
And if you have a large balcony, or if you have recently had an extension and want to build a new gazebo or garage, then these spaces are also suitable options.
3. Ensure that the PV panels must be able to sunlight!
Although this is basic common sense, but still need to emphasize again and again. Adequate sunlight radiation is fundamental to obtaining the benefits of photovoltaic power generation. The longer your PV array receives sunlight every day, the more electricity the system produces and the more your home can save on electricity bills.
Once we have the installation space, the next step is to consider how to add more PV panels to the existing system.
PV modules typically have a working life of 20 years or more, while inverters and controllers typically last about 10 years. Therefore, we first need to determine if the equipment within the PV system needs to be replaced, especially the inverter!
Whether to replace the inverter
The inverter is one of the most important components of a PV system, converting the DC electricity produced by the PV panels into AC electricity that can be used in the home. There are two types of inverters on the market today: micro inverters and string inverters. The string inverter is commonly used in most PV systems installed 5 years ago. It has a maximum input/output capacity beyond which you cannot connect any more PV panels. Depending on the capacity of your inverter, you can add PV panels of the appropriate power and connect them to the existing inverter.
However, if the original inverter is already operating at maximum capacity, then you will need to purchase a second inverter or upgrade your existing inverter. If you continue to use string inverters, it is recommended that you choose a larger inverter with multiple MPPTs to potentially handle both the existing panels and the new solar panels.
Another more recommended option is the microinverter. Currently, the vast majority of residential PV modules use microinverters. First, microinverters are very flexible because they can be added to any solar system, even if your current system uses string inverters rather than microinverters. Second, there are different types of inverters - from 1-in-1 that connects to just one panel to 4-in-1 that converts energy from four solar panels at once - which means you can easily choose the type of inverter (or combination of inverter types) that is right for your system.
Choose the right installer
Give preference to your previous installer, as this may be your best choice. Chances are, these professionals are already familiar with your home's PV system. They are most capable of handling the expansion of your home's PV array.
However, if you have had a bad experience with your previous installer or if it has gone out of business, you will need to find a new installer. This is a whole new challenge and this extension of the system will be more complex compared to the initial installation of the PV panels. Therefore, you need to make a thorough assessment of the installer's qualifications, professionalism and after-sales service to ensure that you won't repeat your previous experience.
Applying for an installation permit
Whether you need a permit to install more PV panels depends on many factors, such as the size of the system and the power they output, but in most cases it is not required. However, if you want to add more than a few kilowatts and need to purchase an inverter, you will most likely have to submit an application for grid connection to the electricity authority.
Therefore, it is important to check with the local authorities before the official construction to avoid subsequent unnecessary troubles.
You may not be eligible for the same incentives, including rebates and tax credits, that you received when you installed your first PV system. This is because many incentives can only be claimed once for each household.
But Europe's new energy transition is accelerating and the possibility of additional incentives in the future cannot be ruled out. So keep in touch with your installer, who knows best about local policies on the subject. You will have the opportunity to apply for new incentives until the installation of new panels begins.
Maysun Solar has 9 sales offices and over 23 in-stock warehouses worldwide. Our associates are professionals with 5-10 years of industry experience who can also advise on the installation of a PV system for your home or recommend a reliable local installer. Click Contact Us to see the Maysun office nearest you.