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Discussion Starter #1
Many members charge on home solar or install solar systems and it would be great if we could have a forum to post details :)
 

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I've got solar and have questions for installing more solar so would love to see a sub-forum on the off topic forum.
Not that I fully understand it for one minute but I have recently had a second array installed two years after first set so may have some info but don't expect too much as I still think the roof faeries have something to do with it.
 

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My best guess is yes complete new system and wires and boxes but both go through first installed meter
into the grid which meant taking readings from the new meter and subtracting that from original meter to find out true reading for both to enable FIT payments to be made at different rates. BUT after filling in the additional forms declaring the additional system and trying several times to explain it including photos of meters they seemed to give up and appear to be paying old rate for combined reading. It got quite bizarre as they realised the readings were almost double previous amounts so stopped payments but resumed after I resubmitted the same earlier paperwork.

So in a nutshell 2 separate systems and expect to get two different rates but you may get lucky.
 

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Yes separate meters is needed to get the FIT and almost certainly a new inverter for the new bit.

The FIT would be different so it would need to be metered separately.

Also, it is very likely that if you are adding panels then the inverter would then be too small for the new installed kWp. It is possible I suppose that you might be able to keep the same inverter if you were only adding a panel or two and the total kWp was still within the spec of the existing inverter but then you couldn't get the FIT on either the existing or the new... unless you got luck as @Mike From Manchester says :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Did you have to have a separate inverter and meter installed for the second array
We have one export meter for our two inverters.

We have two identical systems installed, one on each roof elevation. Each system has fourteen panels wired in two strings of seven. The panels generate 3500W (peak) and feed a 3000W inverter.

In total the system generates 7000W (peak) although it can only deliver 6000W to the grid.

Given that we only max out the inverters for a couple of hours on a few days a year, one obvious upgrade is to fit another one or two panel to each string which would not require any inverter upgrades. This would be a cheap and easy upgrade and would improve performance during the majority of the year.

A more expensive upgrade would be to replace the existing inverters for larger versions or adding more inverters... maybe even adding panels with individual micro inverters like those @Thephoenixworks install. So long as we remain below the 10000W (peak) FIT band we will receive the same payments as today.

If you can use the electricity to charge a EV during the day or for local energy storage then IMO this is worthwhile investment even without the FIT payments :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Seeing as the FIT rate has now dropped, how would things work if I added another 1.6 taking me up to 4?

Would I

a) need a separate inverter and meter to claim at the lower rate for the 1.6?
b) get the old rate and just plug the new panels into the old inverter?
Take a look at the FIT paperwork that you signed... ours has no issues with system upgrades so long as we don't cross a FIT payment boundary.

My understanding is that certainly old panels are dumb in that if you get significant shading they aren't as efficient as micro panels, which are loads of little circuits all bolted together. Anyone know more on this?
talk to @Thephoenixworks @Matthew Morgan who are the micro-inverter experts :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
In the first two months of 2014 our system produced 316 kWh which is much more than we produced in the same period last year (253 kWh)... this is despite local floods and the wettest winter for 250 years. Going forward we will add ~53kWh energy storage system (also called a VW camper van) :)

BoA_Solar.jpg
 
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