Overloading your system makes financial sense
As the cost of solar panels continues to decrease, so too has the cost of adding capacity to your solar PV system. By adding extra panels to your system when it is first installed, you are benefiting from increased production straight away and lower installation costs compared with adding the extra panels at a later date.
With panels facing multiple orientations, you can achieve even greater savings as your system is capable of producing more electricity over a longer period of time each day, pumping out power earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon compared with conventional set-ups. When you take into account time-of-use tariffs, you have the potential to save even more money as your system can produce more electricity at a time when it is most valuable.
With help from the experienced team from Solargain who’ll tailor a system to your requirements and will position your panels in the most productive location possible, you really can’t go wrong!
Adding 20% capacity equals the best bang for your buck
There are a whole swag of reasons why we recommend adding at least 20% more panel capacity to your system. If we use a 5kW inverter as an example and if we add 20% capacity, that’s another 1kW worth of panels. Here’s why this is such a great value system:
- The first 5kW worth of panels on a Q.PRO system with a Fronius Primo inverter is $6490, so $1298 per kW. If we add on another 20% (1kW), it’s only going to cost $800 more, which is nearly 40% less than each of the first 5kW. Such good value!
- Adding extra panels is not going to adversely affect a good quality inverter (like a Fronius or SMA). Fronius inverters are warranted to double the DC capacity (so the Primo 5 could handle up to 10kW if the Clean Energy Council would let us). Plus, as you’ll see in the first case study below, it’s never doing its rated work anyway.
- When you position your panels in an east/west orientation, you’re not going to get any clipping. Plus, having a nice array on the west will suit many families, as it is producing power later in the day when cooking appliances start up and kids come home from school.
- We really can’t recall many Solargain customers calling to say ‘we’ve put too many panels up, can you take some off’, however we’ve had plenty of people do the opposite, wishing they’d added extra panels at the start.
- Even if you feed all your extra power back onto the grid, at $800 for the extra kW, the payback of this kW is less than 7 years.
Proof this approach makes sense
The following case studies are real-world examples of how other Solargain customers are benefiting from this approach.
Case Study One – 5.3kW Q.PRO 265W system with 10 panels facing north and 10 panels facing west and a 5kW inverter.
This is a good example of overloading, but based on the data here, had these clients installed even more panels, their production would be even better.
Even in summer, you can clearly see that the inverter never reaches its maximum capacity. More panels could have been added and the inverter would have operated at maximum.
The western panels push the production out nice and late. Notice that, at 3pm in summer, it is still pumping out 4kW and, at 5pm, it’s pushing out 2.3kW. Great for families – but why not put on more!
By adding just one more kW, March production would have been perfect as it would have just touched 5kW without clipping and it would have produced till really late in the day.
Case Study Two – 6.36kW system with all panels facing north.
With a system this size, you’re always going to experience clipping in summer. However, had the clients considered adding even ten panels on the west, there would be next to no clipping outside of summer and more production later in the day.
Even in summer, the clipping would have been minimal and afternoon production would have been higher.
Case Study Three – 3.975kW system with eight panels facing east and 7 panels facing west with a 3kW inverter – PERFECTION!
This is a fantastic set up which has actually managed to achieve a 32% increase in capacity, yet because of the east/west orientation of the panels. Clipping has still been minimised and only occurs around the peak months (Nov, Dec and Jan).
Even if this system clipped for 60 days, 3 hours each for 300W (which is an extremely high assumption), that’s less than 60kWh per year, which is a tiny sacrifice, as the extra 900W capacity will generate over 1200kWh a year!
Look at how early this system starts producing – in summer, it’s awake at 6am pumping out 300W. Plus, it keeps working until late in the day, still producing 660W at 6pm.
Case Study Four – 6.36kW system with 11 panels facing north-east and 13 panels facing north-west.
The roof design on this house allowed us to make the best of ‘all’ worlds with north-east and north-west panel orientation. This set-up means the system can make an early start and late finish (although not quite as early and late as true east- and west-facing systems), while still only being 45 degrees off north. Had they chosen to favour the west a little more (say with 10 panels facing north-east and 14 panels facing north-west), they could have increased their production at a time when it’s needed most – later in the afternoon.
This is where Solargain’s design expertise really pays off
As you can tell from the examples we’ve provided above, every situation is different. This is why it pays to work with a company that treats every customer as an individual so you’ll have the peace of mind that your solar installation has been specifically tailored to your situation. Let us crunch the numbers to determine exactly what size system you need and the perfect position for your panels to achieve maximum productivity. To speak with one of our experienced solar designers, please call 1300 73 93 55 or contact us via our website.