Rooftop solar

Expanding an existing solar system with more panels and/or batteries? Know your options

by James Martin II on 7 March, 2018

in Installation advice,Useful solar tools and resources,Solar & battery tips

There are nearly 2 million Australian households with solar panels installed on their roofs. Many of these households would like to add more solar and/or batteries to their systems, but the best path to accomplishing this is unclear, as there are a number of technical approaches that they could potentially take. If you’re in this situation, it may be difficult for you to sort through various sales pitches and conflicting pieces of information/advice to determine exactly what your options are for you.

We get questions about this sort of thing all the time, and depending on the customer’s circumstances, the answers are different. Through these conversations, however, we’ve managed to hone in on the three main variables that influence the options available to a given customer. Namely:

  • a) the age of the existing system;
  • b) the size of the existing system; and
  • c) the goals of the household (i.e. whether they want to add more solar, add batteries, or add both).

Also see: Solar Choice’s 8-point Guide to Solar & Batteries (plus FAQs)

Check out our Home Solar & Battery Guide

Expanding an existing solar system: Decision-making helper tool

This is a complicated topic, so we decided to put together a tool to assist you in knowing your range of options – and being better-positioned to make a decision.

By selecting different options in the tool below, the results (‘Your options’) will change accordingly, providing guidelines appropriate to the most common situations. While everyone’s circumstances are unique, we hope that this tool will help you to narrow down your choices to a manageable number of approaches (2-4).

Got feedback on this tool? Shoot us an email at communications@solarchoice.net.au.

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© 2018 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

James Martin II

James Martin II

Communications Manager at Solar Choice
James has been Solar Choice's primary writer & researcher since 2010. He lives in Newcastle in a house with a weird solar system.
James Martin II

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

David Collier 10 March, 2018 at 10:17 am

Hi James, we have a 20 panel system made by Tindo in South Aus. Each panel has a micro inverter which was great when the system was new as we were able to monitor each panel with software called “enecsys.” This is not working now and Tindo don’t seem to have anything in place to replace the enecsys system. Reading the article explaining options for adding panels and or batteries didn’t seem to cover my situation. I want to get back to being able to monitor the system initially and then add a battery storage system and perhaps more panels. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks, David

Solar Choice Staff 12 March, 2018 at 5:18 pm

Hi David,

We came across this retrofit monitoring solution for Enecsys systems a while back. Perhaps it will be of some use to you?

Yahya Abdal-Aziz 9 March, 2018 at 7:24 pm

Thanks for this new tool – it clearly outlined 3 options for me to pursue. :-)

Although, on first reading the title “Expanding an existing solar system”, I had thought that maybe your target audience was, oh, some galactic Empire or other …!

Dave 9 March, 2018 at 1:50 pm

What could possibly need upgrading on a 2011 1.9kW system to add an additional array and new dual tracking inverter?

Solar Choice Staff 12 March, 2018 at 5:20 pm

Hi Dave,

The details are a bit technical (and I’m not overly familiar with them), but from what installers have told us, it involves changes to wiring and (less importantly) signage. You might be better off leaving the existing system as it is and adding on a brand new, separate solar system alongside it. I recommend speaking with some installers and getting some quotes to get a clearer idea of what your best options are. Good luck.

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