Considerations For Upgrading Your System Without Exploring Energy Storage

Existing Solar Owners, there are many considerations in upgrading your system (without exploring options for energy storage).
If your system is not supporting your current energy usage, here are few suggestions to consider:
  1. Add on – Install additional and independent new panels and inverter
  2. Integrate – Try and include existing panels into a larger overall system using an existing inverter (not recommended)
  3. Replace – Take down existing panels and put up an entirely new system

The Property

This family home is a five-bedroom home with a pool and an automatic garage along with fridges, freezers, and air-conditioners.  It uses approximately 40 kilowatt-hours of electricity per day. The client had a 5-year-old 5kWp system with 250w panels and a reliable inverter on the north side of the home.

The client wanted to make sure that any new investment went onto the north to take advantage of the sun, however, the extra roof space was facing east and west.

We had our CEC Accredited Designer review the site and make recommendations to remove the existing 5kWp system and provide a proposal to utilise the east and west roof areas in conjunction with the north.

We provided modeling and pricing for the following 3 options:

  1. Keep existing system on north and add a 2nd system on the east and west-facing roof;
  2. Relocate the existing north-facing system to east and west and install a new system on the north-facing roof;
  3. Remove the current system and Install a New System on North, East & West Roofs, maximising the solar generation potential for the site.

In the end, the 3rd option was the most cost-effective mostly due to labour costs and that our install included a whole new lifetime warranty.

Typically, Solar Installers don’t want to interfere with an existing system as they are liable for the whole system, even if they only adjust a few things. Existing warranties are supported by the founding installer.

The irony was the original Solar Installation company who had installed the system 5 years ago was no longer trading (insolvent), therefore, the warranty would be difficult to pursue, meaning, less coverage in the event of a fault or failure.

Conclusion

  1. Consulting with an experienced installer and exploring options is always recommended.
  2. Reviewing how Energy Usage can be improved, in line with the proposed energy profile, is very important. 

In simple terms, if you install all your solar on the east, but run all your appliances in the afternoon, there is a mismatch, and you won’t get the savings (unless you invest in a battery).

Lastly, buying solar from a company that provides maintenance services is really important. Warranties are only as good as the business remaining solvent. Many install businesses only install and do not provide after-sales services.

You wouldn’t buy a car with this logic, so ensuring you have tested the after-sales support is always recommended.

“We were unsure where to start with Solar, and after talking to Solar Service Guys it was clear they knew what they were doing. We’ve been very happy with the outcome.”

— Daman and Tina,  Homeowners