Have you had your solar power system for a while? Does it feel like it’s not producing as much power as it used to? Maybe your household needs have changed and you now require more power. Now is a great time to consider an upgrade to enjoy more efficiency and bigger energy savings.
If you have a Federal Pacific panel, you may need a new electric panel anyway due to the current recall. That makes this the perfect time to upgrade to a modern, efficient panel system.
Upgrade Your Solar Array
Innovations are happening every year and you may need something that’s a bit more modern as well as efficient. You’ve already been saving money by switching to solar, but this could be even more savings in regard to your future energy bills.
But before you make any changes to your present system it’s best to run a few checks to make sure you are making the correct changes.
It’s crucial you perform a few simple tests on your solar system to get the information you need to make a decision on what your next step is in the process. Inclement weather and damage from the elements and wildlife can damage your system especially if it’s been damaged over time or it’s an older model. Check the solar panels to see what the physical condition of each panel looks like. They could be scratched or cracked and may have some discoloration.
Look underneath the panels with a flashlight to examine the connecting cables to ensure that there are no severed or worn connections. As incredible as this sounds, check to see that no birds or animals have created nests underneath your array. Also, examine the junction box to make sure that the seals aren’t broken or have suffered from weather damage. Take a look at the inverter as well. There could be some signs of corrosion or damage from wildlife.
What are the benefits of a Solar Panel Upgrade?
There are several benefits to a solar panel upgrade. Here are the two most substantial:
Enjoy Lower Installation Costs
Since you already have much of the foundation for your solar system, upgrading will in general be a much lower cost than an initial install. You’ll save significantly on labor costs.
Take Advantage of Increased Efficiency
Thanks to innovations in solar panel technology, you can cash in on greater efficiency by installing newer panels. They’ll produce more power and do it in less space.
Checking Solar Output
It’s important to see how much output your solar system is providing. When the sun is shining you should be receiving 80% of what your system’s total output is generating. If that number is anything less than 80%, your current system could be underperforming. Review how much your system has been generating over the last year or so, and compare these numbers against your current bills to see if it’s been consistent.
Solar System Upgrade
After checking your system and reviewing its output you may find that it’s working just fine and is performing efficiently. But your household circumstances and power needs may have changed and now you require more energy. You may even want to increase your green energy footprint and utilize as much solar energy on your property as possible. There could be more people living in your household or you may have added larger appliances to your home. Maybe you’ve recently acquired an electric automobile. All of these scenarios can mean you’ll benefit from a solar panel upgrade.
3 Ways to Upgrade Your System
You can upgrade your solar system in three ways. You can opt for only one of these options, but you may want to do all three based on the condition and age of your present system and your current and future power needs.
1. Panel additions
Adding more panels to your present system is the first way to upgrade your system. Available space on your property or improvements is an obvious factor when adding more panels to your array. Normally, solar panel systems are pretty flexible when it comes to setup, and you can add panels to your existing system as needed. Our experts will help you determine how much space you have for new panels and how much additional weight your roof can hold.
Solar panels usually weigh between 30 and 60 lbs. If you live in an older home or your roof has experienced some aging, you have to make sure your roof will support the additional panels. The team at Steel City will review the stress on the roof before they recommend a panel upgrade to your present system.
2. A New Inverter
If you’re adding more solar panels to your system you may want to look into purchasing a new inverter. (You’ll probably require it anyway) The least expensive inverters are string inverters. They usually last around a decade. U this type unless your original inverter was already powerful enough to handle the upgrade.
There are also micro-inverters and they’re actually connected right to the solar panels themselves. Unlike string inverters which operate with all of the panels, micro-inverters work independently. This is better than string inverters because if a panel isn’t operating properly and has less output than the rest of the array, it will cause the whole system to run at a lower level. Micro-inverters last around 25 years and normally have a higher price point upfront.
3. Adding More Battery Storage
Additional battery storage is the third piece to completing the upgrade puzzle. The great thing about adding battery storage is not only can it extend your backup reserves, but you can also utilize that storage if there’s a spike in energy rates for a short period of time. Your current solar system should be ready to add the additional storage, but we’re always happy to help you check. Adding more battery storage is an easy process. But especially with older solar systems, you should always consult with a professional rather than try to add the battery or replace the system yourself. Steel City is happy to review your system and make the best recommendations for your home.
Reach out to us at Steel City Solar today for all your system upgrades. We’re happy to assess your current solar system and make any upgrades to accommodate your current energy needs.
If you’d like to learn more, contact us today for a free assessment by phone, 719-569-5166 or online.