Are you using more energy than before? Are energy prices soaring in your area? If you already have a good solar energy system installed, you can always upgrade your system and bring your bills down. Older solar power models used different technology and different inverters, but thanks to great progress in the industry, now we have plenty of ways to upgrade our systems. In order to increase your power generation, here’s what you need to do:
Analyze your existing situation
What you currently have on your roof? Is your system performing well? What’s the condition of your equipment? If you had a good installer, you probably have a good system manual that contains information on equipment and energy generation. Well, grab your manual and examine it. Pick a cool yet sunny day and check all the data logged to see whether your system is performing well. All solar panel ratings are made under ideal conditions (clear day, 25 degrees C) but you always must expect some loss due to cabling and inverters. A 2kW system will never supply you with a full 2kW of energy. Generally, you should get anywhere between 60% and 80% of the rated output. If your system is underperforming, make sure to contact support and ask them to send someone to look at your system. Oftentimes, the issue is in a leaky junction box or dirty panels. In that case, some maintenance will do you a lot of good and allow you to come up with the best plan for upgrading your system.
Increase the size of your solar system
Do you have a good inverter that can handle more panels? Or do you have some unused space on your roof? Well, it’s time to install some additional panels and boost your energy generation. This move is definitely cheaper than adding a completely separate solar system to the mix. However, increasing the capacity of your system can change the terms and conditions of the contract you signed with your energy supplier. Your current Feed-in Tariff can change, so make sure to set up a meeting with your energy retailer and whip up a new contract if you want to increase your energy production.
Invest in a new inverter
While most people understand the role of solar panels and batteries, not many know about the important role of inverters. Inverters take electricity coming from the solar panel or battery (direct current—can’t be used for powering electronics and appliances) and turn it into alternating current your household can actually use. Additionally, your inverter also performs a number of other functions like data monitoring and utility controls that allow your solar system to function to its full potential. A good model like an efficient Sunny Boy inverter will keep your system running smoothly. Expect greater energy production and lower maintenance costs if you invest in a proper inverter.
How to know whether you need a better inverter? If your existing model is working at its full capacity (you have 3kW or 4kW system connected to 3kW inverter) then you should invest in something better. A quality 5kW inverter will support another 2 or 3kW of panels and supply you with clean and sustainable energy.
Add a battery
This is a great upgrade for all solar panel owners. By adding a battery to your system, you will gain the ability to store energy and save it for later. If you’re updating your solar panel system with additional panels and expect some energy surplus, a battery will come in handy. Once you manage to generate excess energy, you can easily fill your battery and use the energy when the days are less sunny. However, a battery is only a good solution if you’re planning to produce more energy than you can consume in your household. Batteries are very handy, but they don’t offer amazing returns. Expect your battery to pay for itself in about 15 years. However, as technology moves forward, we can expect lower prices in the future and better return on investment.
Upgrade your roof
While a single solar panel only weighs somewhere between 33-50 pounds (15-23 kilograms), over time, your roof can succumb to weight and end up sagging. If your roof is in a good condition now, if you choose to add a few solar panels to it, you might want to consider strengthening your roof construction and you can even explore the advantages of steel construction or some other new, sustainable methods in residential architecture. Additional security is also great if you often need to climb up the roof to inspect your panels.
A better and stronger solar panel system will allow you to be completely independent and green. So, if you love your smaller model so far, expect to truly fall in love with your upgraded version of home solar power system!