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Want more solar? Here’s what you need to know

If you’re considering adding more solar panels to your existing solar system, you don’t necessarily need to look into expensive modifications.

It could be as easy as installing a new second system right alongside the old one. It might seem a little counterintuitive but, with the ever-lowering cost of solar, it is often a simpler, more straightforward, and cost-effective way to add more solar capacity to your home, without needing to interfere with your existing system.

With a new solar power system sitting side-by-side with your current system, you’ll get additional panels and a new inverter that will work together with your existing system to power your home, reduce your bills, and get you ready for battery storage.

Why might I need to increase my solar?

There are a variety of reasons why you might be looking to upgrade your solar. You might be aiming to finally match your solar capacity to your energy needs, you could be adapting your system to your changing energy usage patterns, or you could be increasing your solar capacity to support a battery and become almost fully self-sufficient.

Your current system is an older, smaller system

Smaller systems of 1 to 3 kW were quite common in the early days of domestic solar installations when prices were high and many couldn’t afford a system suited to their actual energy needs. If you were an early adopter of solar, you might have one of these smaller systems – and you might now be thinking about increasing your kilowatt size to finally match your actual energy needs. The average Australian household typically needs around 5kW of solar just to cover their daytime energy needs, and many early adopters could find that the price of such a system today is much cheaper than the price of their original 1 to 2kW system.

If you fall into this category, one important factor to consider is how any new solar systems will affect your current feed-in tariff. If you currently receive a premium feed-in tariff for your solar, you can learn about what to consider in our blog post “Could You Be Saving More With Your Solar?

Your energy needs have changed over the years

When you first installed solar, you might have had it sized perfectly for your needs at the time. Since then, if you’ve upgraded your electrical appliances, installed a new air-conditioning system, expanded your family or even purchased a new electric vehicle, you might find that your electricity needs now exceed what your solar system is able to produce.

You want to install a battery to save more on your energy bills

With low feed-in tariffs now applying to all but a lucky few, many solar owners are looking at ways to make the most of the solar energy they produce and use it themselves rather than sending it out to the grid. This is where battery storage really shines.

To make a battery worthwhile, you’ll need to make sure you’re generating enough solar energy to “load-shift” – that is, you’ll need to be generating enough solar energy to cover your daytime needs, along with excess energy to fill a battery and cover off some or all of your night-time needs as well. If you’re not currently generating enough energy to offset your night-time needs, you’ll need to look at expanding your solar.

Solar panels on a house

Why should I add an entirely new solar power system instead of just adding new solar panels to my existing system?

Adding new solar panels to an existing system can be complex, even if your system is only a few years old. You’ll need to find the same, or at least compatible, solar panels to your existing ones, and your installer will be required to bring all wiring and electricals up to date with today’s with no real benefit. Further, if you use a different installer, this could void any warranties your existing system had – which could still have up to 10 years remaining on them – or at the very least make it incredibly unclear about who covers what in the event of any issues.

Because of this, it’s often more economical and simpler to install a new system alongside the existing one. 

By installing an entirely new system alongside your existing one, you’ll get an entirely new set of warranties for the new system, and your other system is left untouched. The two systems will work together to either generate more power for your home during the day, or give you excess energy to feed into a battery to power your home at night.

Read more about upgrading your solar system for battery storage.

Are there any incentives or rebates available?

If you install a new system alongside your existing one, you’ll still be eligible for the STC program that will provide you with an upfront, point-of-sale discount on your purchase. You might also be eligible for other incentives – it’s always worthwhile to check with your retailer and with your state or territory energy authority. And if you decide to install a battery, you could qualify for the South Australian Government’s Home Battery Scheme.


Ready to upgrade your solar?

Request a quote from our expert team today, or browse our solar power systems, and save even more on your energy bills.

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Zen Energy PTY LTD

Sustainable Industries Education
Centre TAFE SA
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Adelaide, South Australia

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