Do I Need to Upgrade My Electrical Panel When Going Solar?

Dec. 08, 2022

Going solar is a smart investment that can help you save money on your energy bills for decades to come. But before you can install home solar panels, you need to make sure your electrical panel is ready to support them. 

In many cases, you won’t need a home electric panel upgrade for solar. But there are also many cases where an electric panel upgrade is necessary, especially if you live in an older home or you’re thinking about expanding your photovoltaic (PV) system down the road with battery storage or an EV charger

What Is the Best Electrical Panel for Solar? 

When thinking about electrical panel requirements for solar, amperage is the main factor to consider. Electrical panel breakers are rated by the amount of power they can handle, in amperage (or amps). 
To be ready for solar, your panel’s main breaker needs to be rated for at least 200 amps, in most cases. (Larger homes will require a larger breaker for solar, while some smaller homes may be able to manage with less amperage.) If your main breaker is rated for less than 200 amps, it will not be able to handle the power load your solar panels feed into it. This can lead to many issues, including electrical fires. 

How Do You Know If You Need a New Electrical Panel for Solar? 

Evaluating your electrical panel before installing solar panels will help ensure safe, reliable operation. Common signs that you will need to replace your electrical panel before installing solar panels include: 

  • Your main breaker is rated for less than 200 amps 
  • You plan to install solar battery storage and/or an EV charger now or in the future 
  • You plan to install more electric appliances like a heat pump or heat pump water heater 
  • You plan to install a pool or hot tub now or in the future 
  • You are experiencing issues with your current electrical panel, like tripped breakers or flickering lights 

Is It Worth it to Upgrade Your Electrical Panel Before Going Solar? 

You might not have to upgrade your electrical panel to go solar, but it usually makes sense to do so anyway. The cost of upgrading your electrical panel is relatively low, and installing a solar-ready breaker will ensure you get the maximum value from your investment in solar panels. With a new electrical panel, you’ll get the peace of mind that comes with knowing your home’s electrical system is operating as safely and efficiently as possible. And, if you decide to make any electrification upgrades in the future or expand your solar energy system, you’ll be able to take on those projects confidently, knowing your breaker box can handle the increased load. 

Get a Free Solar Consultation in Massachusetts

The best way to find out if your house is ready for solar panels is to have it evaluated by a professional. Boston Solar is the leading solar company in Massachusetts with over a decade of experience installing solar energy systems. We can help you determine whether a residential electrical panel upgrade is needed for your solar project, based on your home’s current electrical panel and your current and future energy needs.  

Find out if your house is ready for solar. Call 617-858-1645 or contact us to schedule a free consultation. 

Do I Need to Upgrade My Electrical Panel When Going Solar?

Find out if solar makes sense for your home. 
Schedule a free consultation today. 

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