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I have an old solar system, what are my options?

1) If your existing system has stopped working because panels or inverters have failed, then you are allowed to keep the system going again by exchanging like for like. Meaning if you had a 1.5 kWh inverter you can replace the old 1.5 kWh inverter with a similar one.

The same applies to panels, if your existing panels have water ingress or other issues. In most cases those panels would need to be replaced with 2nd hand panels.

In this case the new fire rating rule for new panels does not apply to the older 2nd hand ones as long as you do not change the system.

2) Many owners of older systems keep their old system running as is, or if it has failed decide to remove the old system and start again.

So the option is either get a brand new quality system, such as one from LG installers and have it run together with the old one, or have a much bigger new LG panel system installed, after the old one has been removed.

While PV systems and especially panels have come down in price significantly, the Australian market has attracted the cheapest of the cheap and quality at the bottom end is actually reduced compared to the quality of the solar panels in the earlier panel systems.

They are designed to be cheap, not for a long life. We recommend you read the Beginners Guide for Solar to give you some clear guidelines of the best options available today, and how to avoid the many pitfalls of cheap solar today.


Transcript

If you have a solar system of 1, 2, 3 kilowatt and it was installed somewhere between 2007 and 2012 in those days, the sales guys would have told you, well if you want to have an extra longer and larger system you just whack some panels on.

Unfortunately the technology has moved so fast and so quickly that the current panels are now not compatible anymore with the ones that you may have bought in 2010 - 2011.

So if you want to add to those systems even if you have a big inverter capacity you can't just wack a couple of extra panels on of the panels that are in the market now.

You will have to have a separate system self-contained sitting next to your existing system to overall get a bigger system that's how it works, so thank you very much for joining us here at the LG Energy website.

We have frequently asked questions and all the answers. We have beginners guides, videos from dealers we have output calculators so you can actually see what happens in your area with the solar system and how much it will generate so please go onto the website do your research if you're looking into solar LG is the way to go.

Transcript

There was a big boom in Australia between 2010-2011. The government gave $8,000 rebate and a lot of people put a 1/2 kilowatt system on they got a good feed-in tariff but those feed-in tariffs have finished in many places.

So the customer is now not getting really the big advantage for their bill anymore. They often wonder what they should do. My personal advice if it was a good quality system and the installer didn't just whack it on right in the middle of the roof then I actually let that run as an independent unit and add an additional system to it and basically start fresh. If on the other hand the system now shows really wear and tear and the inverter is getting towards the end of its life.

Then in some instances especially if it occupies a strategic spot on the roof unfortunately the best is really to remove it and then buy a high-quality system. A lot of these systems actually offered good quality in those days so these customers have experienced that a high-quality system over time actually gives you the best financial return. So in a lot of cases, those customers then will say ok I'm now going for what is really the right size which is six point six kilowatts and that should look after family comfortably


Can I add to my old solar system?

At the time the 1.5 kWh solar systems were sold, many solar sales persons indicated that there would be opportunities to add panels to the small system in future years.

The reality today is somewhat different. Some of the key reasons homeowners look at adding panels and capacity to an older system are:

  1. Customers are looking to realise the potential of an “oversized inverter” often sold to them as “expandable” or “upgradable” as the sales person indicated in the future it would be with the promise it would be easy to add more panels.Unfortunately this promise is almost impossible to keep, as Governments changed installation standards and generally old solar panels from that period are not compatible with modern modules (more on this later).

  2. With generous feed-in-tariffs ending, the financial benefits of small solar systems are much reduced and owners, looking at bigger bills, want a larger solar system capacity to compensate.

  3. There is plenty of spare roof space available to expand the system.

  4. The owner’s circumstances change and they now have a higher electricity consumption.

  5. The inverter recently died and the owner is looking for the best option to move forward with solar.

  6. The homeowner is exploring batteries and realises the existing system size is not adequate.


Solar and Batteries

Solar and Batteries

For most households the older, smaller solar systems common 5+ years ago are usually not big enough in kW size to supply the household and a battery with sufficient renewable energy to create an efficient outcome, meaning keep the battery appropriately charged during the day, to have the full battery capacity available at night.

The most applied solution is to add a 2nd solar system with batteries. This 2nd system would then include a hybrid inverter which can charge the battery.

In some instances the new hybrid inverter can also take the solar power from your old smaller system to charge the battery.

Please note: If you change an older system’s inverter with anything other than like for like the solar system installer will have to change the whole solar system to the new Australian standard – as per legal requirement.

Often the cost of this upgrade is more than the remaining value of the solar system. Also the installer via this upgrade, then takes on the legal liability of your older system, and some installers do not wish to have that responsibility; therefore getting older systems upgraded can be a difficult endeavour.

Talk to your LG Authorised solar installation specialist about the potential solutions. Please check here for the closest installer near you.

And when considering a purchase consider this old home truth – buy quality buy once, buy cheap by twice. Happy solar researching from your LG Electronics Solar Team


Why choose LG Solar Panels?

Not all solar panels are built the same. When you purchase solar panels from LG Solar you are investing in a product backed by years of experience and manufactured with the help of stringent research and testing standards.

FAQs

Q. In the future, can I add more LG solar panels to my renewable energy system?

Yes, you can add more panels to your original system, as long as the new panels are a close match in output to the original panels and as long as your inverter still has capacity to accommodate more panels.

You can also add a new, larger multi-string inverter to an older system, without breaking the bank as inverters over the past 5 years have dropped over 60% in price. You can then add more panels up to the capacity of the new inverter. As solar panel prices have reduced by over 500% since 2008 most people nowadays buy the best suited solar power system for their needs outright.

If you think of increasing the size of your existing system please contact your local LG solar dealer, so he/she can advise you of the most cost effective way to increase your system size.


Q. I am on an existing high feed–in tariff and would like to increase my solar power system. How does this affect my feed-in tariff payment?

Before altering your system, we strongly suggest you contact your energy retailer and research the website of your local state based Department of Energy, as rules can vary from State to State and by energy retailer.

Increasing generation by adding panels can in many circumstances void all existing arrangements of your feed-in tariff and you could be significantly out of pocket. A good solar dealer or installer should be able to guide you.


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