Solar Optimizer

Hi, I have been quoted 6.6KW Solar panel system to be installed at my place. I currently have 1.5KW installed. The installer recommended adding Solar Optimizer to the new Solar panel system. This is due to shading issue. My next door neighbour is two-story house and some trees around the house. The installer said if I don’t want to pay more for the solar optimizer, they can remove the old Solar Panel system (1.5KW) and install the new solar panel on the current location. I will save more because I don’t need to buy more solar optimizer.
Is it really worth adding the Solar Optimizer to reduce the impact on shading?
My old Solar Panel system (1.5KW) is about 7 years old. How long does an average inverter last?

Thank you.
Hen

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Hi @ht1299

That’s an interesting choice. It is hard to tell the best move without more details of your system and roof setup. If there is a lot of shading optimisers will certainly help, although, they aren’t magic, so if the shade is too much it might not be worth getting the solar. Do you have more details (satellite images or something) of the shading situation?

Removing the old system and installing a new one seems quite drastic, although it could be worth it depending on the circumstances. What is the reason for you wanting to get more solar? Where are you based? How much electricity do you use a day on average?

Cheers
Marty

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Shade on solar panels is a bit like standing on a hose pipe - nothing comes out the other end!
No idea re Optimisers.

Hi Marty,

Thank you for your response. The reason I want to add more solar panel to reduce the cost of our electricity bill. We are based in Sydney NSW. We use almost 25KW/day. I have attached the photo of the house.

Neighbour’s house is two-story. Mine is single story. There’s trees on the border between mine and neighbour. The trees are in my property

The optimizer the installer recommend is Tigo. There’s an article about Solar Optimizer using Tigo

Another great article from MC Electrical, very insightful.

Hen, it’s a tricky one. Would be good to get the installer to give you actual figures of the expected output based on reduction from shade. You could still produce quite a lot of solar, especially in summer months when the sun is higher in the sky. You are going to get a lot of shading in winter though. The installer should be able to give you an estimated payback period, then you can decide if it’s worth it. The shade will impact significantly either way, but depending on the extra cost of the optimisers, I would have thought they would be worth the investment. Again, really depends on the actual pricing and payback. I would suggest getting the installer to provide that info, share it if you like so we can help review, and consider getting multiple quotes as well so you can get a varied opinion on the shade impact and payback period.

Cheers
Marty

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The quote I got for Tigo Optimizer is $100 per panel. The price includes installation. The installer said I will need 9 optimizer. I’m still waiting to hear back from the installer re payback period

The other reason the installer maybe recommending optisers before replacing all the panels, is to match the old panels with new ones. Personally I would look at a solaredge system with an inverter with a large enough capacity to move the existing panels across at a later date when your current inverter dies. So initially you would have 2 separate systems. But this would depend on the size and age of your existing panels. I would also recommend someone actually climb on your roof and measure the north face and load it up first and avoid shading from your neighbors.

No, the new system is separate from the old system. it will be two solar panel systems running after the installation. The current system is 1.5KW. It’s about 8 years old.

Interesting option, but why wouldn’t you just put them all on the new inverter from the start?

Once you alter an existing system you would have to make it comply to current Australian standards which could lead to additional cost. By being prepared for the inverter failure (which will happen before end of panel life) with a suitably sized inverter you are at least giving yourself options for the future and delaying the additional expense. To upgrade to the next inverter size is not that much more. But as I mentioned, it is a case by case scenario as there are many factors to concider.