Why is the installer telling me I can't add panels to my existing system / Why is the installer telling me to remove my old PV and install a whole new system?
Question from Courtney:
"I installed a Solar System about 10-Years ago. I want to increase the panels on the system which I believe our inverter will do. I have contacted a local Solar Provider but they told me to get rid of the old system and replace it. My preference is to utilise the old system and just add to it so I'd like to get a qualified opinion on the possibilities...I got the feeling that replacement was just easier for the Solar Provider but the gear we have in place should still have something to give!"
"Unfortunately, the installer is not entirely wrong. Australian standards for solar panel installations have changed since you installed your system. Though you may be able to add more solar panels to your installation, the new panels may make it so that your installation isn’t up to code (as in because you installed your current system in a while ago, the code is not an issue, but as soon as you try to modify it, it might become in violation of code and your entire installation would need to be updated). In addition to this, the technology has also changed, and it's likely that the solar panels that are available today aren’t going to be able to be integrated with your older systems.
That said it may still be possible to get another system without getting rid of your old system, and hook them up to create a pool of energy to power your home. You'd probably need to get a new inverter because they can usually only oversize at approximately 133% of their original rating. Note that this is usually pretty expensive.
If I were you I'd push back to ask whether it's possible to install another inverter and a separate system, and then tie those systems together instead of getting rid of the old one (so you can get all the juice you can out of the old one until it retires)."