Expanding an existing solar carport

How do you expand an existing solar installation?  Simply put, you just hook up more solar panels!

In the real world, however, there may be challenges to address when considering a system expansion.  Both rooftop solar installations and solar carport installations have the same typical challenges.

The 3 primary components to consider when expanding an existing solar electric installation:

  1. Solar Inverters
  2. Combiner equipment & grid interconnection
  3. Utility requirements

Solar Inverters

What inverters were used for the original solar project?  Was the solar system designed around large central inverters or were smaller string inverters or micro inverters?  Where are the inverters located?

When expanding an existing solar installation, there is a good chance that you will not be changing existing inverters but simply adding new inverters for your system expansion.  To do this effectively and intelligently you will want to understand the existing inverters.  This should result in simpler maintenance for the system owner and a smoothly operating solar expansion.

One important reminder: you will want to make sure the new inverters will operate at the desired voltage, whether it needs to match existing inverters or the utility service.

Combiner Equipment

To expand a solar system you will need to figure out a plan to combine the solar electric production and interconnect with the utility grid.  There are many ways to do this, from using an existing solar combiner panel to a completely new utility meter and service entrance.  It is important to understand the utility’s requirements, to ensure that they will approve your plan for interconnection, before making decisions about combiner equipment.

Assuming you can use an existing combiner panel from the previously installed solar system, you need to ensure that the additional solar loads will not exceed the equipment’s Amperage limits.  You will also need to verify that the existing wire sizes and grid interconnection equipment can safely handle the increased load.

Utility Requirements

Expanding an existing solar system may also affect the agreements currently in place with the utility company.  If the existing system owner has any net metering or performance based incentive agreements in place, it is important to ensure that a solar carport expansion wouldn’t negatively alter the existing agreements.  The utility may allow a solar system change but require specific metering equipment to separate the original from the expansion system.

Solar Carport Expansions by Royal Solar

Royal Solar has installed many commercial solar system expansions in the Phoenix area, and has worked with the major utilities to get the required approvals.

Royal Solar of Arizona is a solar covered parking design and install company headquartered in Mesa, Arizona.  Royal Solar’s product The Smart Carport is a turnkey solar product designed to provide covered parking while paying for itself with the resulting solar electric incentives and savings.

Do you want to know if solar carports make sense at your Arizona property?  Request a free solar carport analysis online from Royal Solar of Arizona.

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