Can You Add Solar Panels to an Existing Solar System?

Yes, it is possible to expand most residential solar energy systems and commercial solar systems by adding new panels but it may not be cost-effective and could be a very complicated process. A solar energy system should be sized according to the needs of the home or business.

An existing solar system’s capacity is determined by various factors such as the number of panels, the installation location, climate, and equipment efficiency. These things must be taken into consideration so that the energy output is ideally matched to the necessary energy consumption at the property. If the energy consumption increases, it might be appropriate to up-size the solar system so that it can meet the increased demand for energy.

Compatible Solar Panels

Ideally, you will be adding panels that are the same as the ones that the solar array is already composed of. This way, the panels will integrate with the existing system both technically and aesthetically. Technically, factors like open circuit voltage and amperage will be crucial to ensure that the new panels are compatible with the existing ones. Physically, you will likely want your panels to match in terms of size and thickness, as well as frame type.

Installation and Integration of the New Solar Panels

A solar array produces direct current that is transformed into alternating current via a solar inverter. Traditional string inverters require that panels are sequenced and arranged in a certain way in order to generate energy in series.

This means that it’s a lot more complicated than just piecing together additional panels. Your solar panels will likely require re-stringing to work effectively. This depends upon the specifications of the panels and the inverter.

If the existing inverter cannot accommodate the necessary additional wattage, it may also be necessary (and easier, if cost allows) to simply install a second inverter and dedicate all of the new panels to that inverter, thereby avoiding the need to tinker with the existing panels at all.

Looking to Expand Your System? We Can Help.

Peninsula Solar can help you expand your solar panel system with ease and you may qualify for tax incentives.

Testing and Monitoring the Expanded Solar System

It’s important to keep an eye on how the system is performing once your new panels are tied into your existing solar setup. Monitoring tools like current transformers and voltage meters allow a system owner to keep track of how the system is functioning. 

Any erratic fluctuations or other warning signs will indicate that there is an issue that needs to be addressed by a licensed professional. Such issues may arise when the system expansion is carried out by an inexperienced installer who uses the wrong type of panels or wires the new panels incorrectly.

Bottom Line

When adding solar panels to an existing system, consistency is key. New panels should match the existing panels as much as possible. Voltage or current differences can be disastrous. A fully licensed solar installer will have the necessary electrical knowledge to ensure that an expansion is properly installed and integrated with the existing solar system.

These days, most people are gradually increasing the amount of energy that they consume. Take EV chargers, for instance. This technology is becoming more ubiquitous, and will almost certainly continue to do so over the coming decade. This means higher electrical consumption at the residential level. Changes like this mean that people will be looking to expand their solar systems over time, and with proper knowledge of the process, these expansions can be carried out without stress or uncertainty.