add more solar panels

Can I add solar panels to an existing system?

Yes, regardless of whether you purchased or leased solar, you have the option of adding more panels, as long as your rooftop still has room. Individual solar leases and most solar companies have a minimum number of solar panels that they will install. Most solar companies will have a required minimum because it doesn’t make sense for them nor the homeowner due to the price of the permitting process, and labor. That is why for most solar companies, the minimum number that you need to add to your solar energy system is typically 8 (eight) solar panels. It wouldn’t make much financial sense to have a solar installer come back to install one solar panel. You can also add a solar home battery to maximize your current solar energy system further. Adding a solar battery array will also require a permit, but this will allow you to store that excess solar energy making it so that you don’t need as large of a solar energy system. One consideration when you do consider adding solar batteries is that you may also need to upgrade your solar inverter to ensure that your solar energy system meets the requirements necessary to handle the additional energy.

3 Things to Consider before Adding Solar Panels

Before you consider adding more solar panels to your existing solar energy system, there are a few things you should know. Whether or not you are adding additional solar panels or a solar battery, you may need to upgrade your solar inverter as well. Therefore, if you are considering adding more solar panels to your system to help offset your increase in usage, it makes sense to consider adding a solar battery to your current solar energy system as well. If you wait and add a solar battery in the future, you may have to change your inverter more than once since solar energy systems with batteries require an inverter that can charge and manage the battery’s power flow.

1. How much additional electricity do you need?

If your energy consumption since you first installed your solar has increased substantially, then you can calculate how much additional power you’ll need to offset by looking at your NEM (Net Energy Metering) utility bill. Your solar installation company will use information from your utility bill to determine how much extra power you need. Based on the position and available rooftop, the number of solar panels that are required to offset the additional amount of energy that you’re consuming. A proper solar installer will be able to advise you on how to properly size your system based on factors like your city’s specific restrictions on the amount of power you can generate, and where you can place your solar panels. There are also restrictions around the size that your utility company like Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) will allow. Every utility company has a maximum amount of energy your solar energy system can be designed to produce.

2. How many additional solar panels can you add?

solar install los angeles

The number of solar panels you should add will depend on how much additional power you need to generate to offset your current usage adequately. When you add solar panels to your existing solar energy system, it is recommended that you use the same type of solar panels that your solar energy system already currently uses. If the exact solar panels that were initially used aren’t available, then you’ll want to use another solar panel that is rated to produce the same amount of power that your current solar panels are generating. 

3. Solar Battery – More than Protection from Power Outages

Getting a solar battery may be a more efficient option than adding additional solar panels to your current system. When you add solar panels to your existing solar panel system, you may have to upgrade the inverter to handle the increased size. A solar inverter is an essential piece to your solar system since it converts the direct current (DC) power that is generated when your solar panel converts sunlight into alternating current (AC) power that can power your household appliances. Should you choose to add solar batteries to your current solar power system, you will also have to replace your existing inverter. So, if you are considering adding more solar panels to your existing solar power system, adding a home battery at the same time may allow you to fully maximize how much electricity you can offset and gain protection from power outages.

Top 3 Reasons to Add a Solar Battery to Your Solar System

1. Power Outage Protection

To prevent the spread of wildfire, California homeowners have been subjected to frequent power outages, particularly during hot and windy days. Last year, some of these planned power outages lasted for multiple days. Unfortunately, a solar panel system alone cannot provide energy for your home when there is a power outage. Because your solar panel system is still connected to the grid, your system is taken ‘offline’ for the safety of the workers who may be working on the power lines. When there is a power outage, a solar energy system can’t provide power to your home unless it has an adequately sized battery.

2. Switch to Time-of-Use (ToU) Billing

Utility companies are moving homeowners to a billing system known as Time-of-Use (TOU). Utility companies are making electricity prices the highest when you use electricity the most, at night, typically from 4 pm – 9 pm or 5 pm – 8 pm. This peak rate also occurs after your solar energy system stops producing power. With a solar battery, you can use the energy stored in your battery when the prices of electricity are the highest. Truly maximizing how much electricity costs you can offset.

3. Take Advantage of the Tax Incentives

itc federal solar tax credit commercial

Some states, including California, have financial incentives like the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) for installing solar batteries. Solar batteries may also be eligible for the Federal Investment Tax Credit (Federal ITC) to offset your investment in renewable energy.

Forme Solar recommends that you contact a qualified tax expert and consult with them. A qualified tax professional best understands your situation and is certified to provide you the most relevant information that best suits your circumstances.

Adding Solar Panels Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will I need a new permit?

Most likely. Your local utility company will have its unique reinspection requirements. Also, your local municipality may require a reinspection if you modify your solar energy system. A proper solar installation company will go over the process, what permits, if any, are needed when you add solar panels or a solar battery to your existing solar energy system. 

Are solar panels required for my ADU?

As of January 1, 2020, all new construction, additions, and alterations to residential and commercial property buildings in California will be required to meet net-zero electricity guidelines. Title 24 also impacts residential homeowners because it applies to accessory dwelling units (ADUs). ADUs are often referred to as “secondary units,” “granny flats,” or “cottages” and are required to meet net-zero electricity guidelines. Read more about How Title 24 Impacts your ADU.

Can Forme Solar add solar panels to my solar panel system?

Yes! We can add solar panels to an existing system but depending on who installed your solar energy system and the solar financing company, our options may be limited. Give us a call, and we can figure out if adding more solar panels to your existing system makes sense for your goals.

Are you looking to add solar panels to your existing solar energy system? Give us a call at (714) 694-2262 or click below to request a quote.