It is not at all unusual for me to be asked by existing and new clients if it is worthwhile upgrading their equipment after receiving telephone calls and letters from companies telling them their equipment may need "upgrading". Is there any truth to this?
For the vast majority of people the answer is that upgrading is completely unnecessary - unless you want the added functionality of a new inverter with built in monitoring. What most of these companies are recommending is a change to the inverter equipment. The reasoning is something along the lines of:
Your existing equipment is getting older
Your existing equipment is getting less efficient
It's close to the warranty period ending
You can dramatically improve performance by x - y percent
Improved online monitoring
So let's unpack this a little... Would you buy a new washing machine over the telephone if anyone came up with a spiel like this? I think not - at least I hope not. The only area that stands up to any scrutiny is the monitoring, and in some cases the performance. But we need more detail.
The panels degrade naturally, and over the 20 year life of the tariff will probably drop in performance by about 15%. But does that warrant putting up a scaffold and replacing them all? Probably not. The other recommended change is adding "optimisers" or "micro inverters" onto the panel which allows improved monitoring (good), but unless there are significant shading issues it will not translate into a big change in performance. Optimisers are good in some situations where there is shading from say trees or dormer roofs, but cannot help when there is no significant shading. There is also a downside to optimisers - you are left with 10 - 20 pieces of hardware with electronics on the roof, and if any of them fail you will need a scaffold up again to replace them!
Generally this is just a scam to get you to buy more equipment. There are no safety issues or any other reasons for changing panels or adding micro inverters / optimisers unless you have moderate to heavy shading that was not allowed for in the original design.
If you are concerned about safety or performance issues there are other avenues to explore first. Get in contact with us at Specialist Energy for FREE honest advice....