Everything Homeowners Need to Know When Upgrading Solar Panels

We understand that your solar journey may involve making many important choices, which can lead to different routes to consider. You might be thinking about simply installing solar panels or perhaps adding a battery system as well. Questions like “How many panels do I need?” or “Is a more expensive battery worth it?” are common. Ultimately, the best option comes down to what fits your specific needs.

Let’s say you already have a solar panel system on your house and you run into the option of upgrading your panels. Whether you’re considering adding more panels to an existing system or upgrading your current setup, we’re here to help. Upgrading your solar panels is an important step in ensuring your home remains energy-efficient. We’ll walk you through solar panel upgrades, helping you make informed decisions that benefit both you and your family.

What Does Upgrading a Solar System Involve?

Upgrading your solar system can take various forms, each with its own advantages. Let’s break it down:

Solar Panel Repair

Solar panel repair is about fixing any issues your current panels might have. This could include replacing damaged cells or fixing connection problems. Keeping your panels in good shape ensures they continue to operate efficiently, extending their lifespan and maintaining your energy savings.

Adding Solar Panels to an Existing System

Adding solar panels to your existing system can boost your energy production. This involves integrating new panels with your current setup, which may require compatibility checks and possibly new equipment. It’s a great way to meet increasing energy demands and further reduce your utility bills.

Removal and Reinstallation of Solar Panels

Sometimes, solar panels need to be temporarily removed and reinstalled, such as during roof repairs or renovations. Solar panel removal and reinstall must be handled carefully to avoid damage and ensure optimal performance once reinstalled.

How Can You Tell If Your Solar Panels Need Updating?

Recognizing the signs that your solar panels need an upgrade can enhance your solar experience as a whole. Here are a few indicators to look out for:

Your Current System Doesn’t Fulfill Your Needs

If your energy needs have increased and your current system can’t keep up, it might be time to add more panels or upgrade to a more powerful system. Can you add solar panels to an existing system? Absolutely. Compare your energy consumption with your system’s output to determine if you need more power.

Changes in Your Utility Bills

Sudden increases in your utility bills could indicate that your solar panels aren’t performing as efficiently as they should. This decrease in efficiency might mean your system needs repairs, additional panels, or a complete upgrade.

Utilizing Your Solar Monitoring App

Your solar monitoring app is a valuable tool for tracking your system’s performance. If you notice a significant drop in power production compared to the kilowatts imported from the grid, it’s a sign that your system might need an upgrade.

When Is It Better to Buy a New Solar System Instead of Upgrading?

When Is It Better to Buy a New Solar System Instead of Upgrading?

Solar systems typically last about 25-30 years. If your system is over 20 years old, you might want to consider replacement solar panels rather than just upgrading. New systems offer improved efficiency and technology, providing better long-term savings and reliability.

What Happens to Your Old Panels If You Get New Ones?

When you replace your old panels, you have options: you can reuse them for other purposes, recycle them to reclaim valuable materials, or sell them if they’re still functional. Many companies, including ours, offer recycling programs to ensure old panels are disposed of responsibly. And if you’re a NEM Plus customer, there are specific benefits you might be eligible for.

Things to Look Out For When Upgrading Your Solar System

Upgrading your solar system involves several considerations to ensure you make the most of your investment.

Changes in Incentives

Upgrading your system could affect your eligibility for certain incentives, like feed-in tariffs. Check current policies to understand how changes to your system might impact your benefits.

Prepare for Changes

Adding new panels to your existing system might require different equipment and incur additional costs. Make sure your new panels are compatible with your current setup and plan for any necessary modifications.

Limitations of Roof Space

Assess your available roof space before adding more panels. If your only available space is on less effective areas, such as the northern part of your roof, you might not achieve the desired increase in energy production.

Additional Considerations

As discerning homeowners, you may also want to consider the warranty and support options available for new panels, the reputation of the installation company, and the potential impact on your property value.

Ready to upgrade your solar system? Independent Energy Hawaii is here to help you navigate the process with transparency and expertise. Contact us today for a consultation!

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Status: The program is capped at 50 megawatts (MW), as of right now we are at 6.2 MW.

  • Currently customers who are accepted into the program will receive $850 per kilowatt (kW).
  • After the first 15 MW is filled, the next 15 MW of committed capacity will receive $750 per kW.
  • After the next 15 MW is used the last 20 MW of committed capacity will receive $500 per kW.

Customers that are not currently enrolled in the company’s Net Energy Metering (NEM) Program will receive a fixed monthly bill credit for energy exported to the grid for three years. The credit is an amount equivalent to the respective retail rate for electricity exported during the two-hour period. After these three years are completed any underlying interconnection tariff export rates, if any, will apply.

Customers who wish to participate with an existing solar system and are presently enrolled in a customer energy program (such as Net Energy Metering, and Grid Supply or others) will continue to receive full benefits from these programs. Up to 5 kW of new panels may be added under existing programs. There is no limit on the size of an individual customer’s battery.

If you would like to add more than 5 kW of additional capacity of PV, it is possible as long as you still adhere to a 2:1 PV to battery output ratio. These apply to any interconnection tariff customers!


“We wholeheartedly recommend Independent Energy Hawaii for all your solar photovoltaic system needs. From our initial conversations with Desta to the final inspection with James, every interaction was extraordinarily positive. The team’s knowledge, honesty, and professionalism was exceptional. The whole process was done efficiently and reliably and we couldn’t be more appreciative. Every member of the team was professional, competent, and respectful in their dealings with us.”

– Sandy L


“Easily the most professional crew I ever had the pleasure of doing business with, and I never felt alone or in the dark thanks to Desta. He helped me with all my questions and I loved the fact that he was just a phone call away. Dedication to something like that is just hard to find nowadays. This company was a breath of fresh air for me and I wish I could do such an awesome crew justice with such a simple review. 10/10″

– Hank W


“Desta, Adam, Mike, Garrison and the rest of the Independent Energy Team are amazing. They were knowledgeable, responsive and helpful throughout our whole solar process. When issues came up (as they always do with projects), they went the extra mile to make sure everything worked properly.
Our panels and battery were installed on time as promised and are working great – just got our first ever $26 HECO bill!
This company cares about helping people and doing quality work, which is very rare these days. Hands down the best experience I’ve had with a company for home improvement/renovations. Highly recommend!”

– Matcha S.