An electric service panel is responsible for distributing electricity from a solar energy system to the various outlets in a home. It contains a series of circuit breakers that act as switches to control the flow of electricity to household appliances. The panel also provides a safe way to shut off power to the entire system in case of an emergency.
To maximize the efficiency of your solar energy system, you may need to upgrade your service panel. An upgrade will ensure that the system has the appropriate power capacity to handle an increased electrical load. Upgrading your electric panel before going solar is an important step toward providing safe, reliable and efficient energy for your home.
What Does an Electric Panel Do?
An electric service panel is the main power distribution center in a home’s electrical system. It’s responsible for distributing power from the utility company or renewable energy system to circuits throughout the home. The panel contains circuit breakers that protect individual circuits from overloading. A new service panel will maximize the performance of your electrical system and save you money on energy bills.
The breakers in a service panel come in various sizes and serve different purposes. A standard breaker is designed to trip at a predetermined amperage and may protect a single circuit. A double-pole breaker has two switches in the same housing and provides protection for two separate circuits. As their names suggest, ground-fault circuit interrupters protect against ground faults while arc-fault circuit interrupters protect against arc faults. You should always match the breaker size to the intended application because using the wrong size can result in inadequate protection.
The service panel is the main hub for a home’s electric circuits, providing a safe way to distribute power to outlets, appliances and light fixtures. Circuit breakers help protect the home from hazards such as power surges and overloads.They also make it possible to shut off power to specific areas in the home in case of an emergency. Without an electric service panel, it would be impossible to have a functional electrical system. It’s an essential part of any home’s energy system and requires regular maintenance and inspections to continue functioning properly.
How to Tell If You Should Upgrade Your Electric Panel
You may need an upgrade if your panel uses fuse boxes instead of circuit breakers, if it’s more than 15 years old or isn’t rated for the right amount of power. You should also check to see if your panel has enough room for additional circuits or breakers required for a solar energy system.
There are several factors to consider when deciding whether to upgrade. First, your home must have enough roof space to install solar panels. A solar energy system will require extensive space both on the roof and in the attic. Second, the electric panel should have enough expansion slots to accommodate the new solar energy system. The more slots available in your panel, the more solar panels you can add to the system in the future.
Finally, the electric panel must have the right amperage rating to handle the additional power load. A standard panel typically has a capacity of 100 amps whereas a solar energy system upgrade typically requires 200 amps or more. The difference is due to the larger energy demands of the solar panels and other components of the system.
To ensure your solar energy system is efficient and reliable, your electric panel must be able to handle the increased wattage and voltage. It must be able to manage the higher amps and ohms of the system to effectively regulate the flow of electricity. A qualified electrician can advise you on the best type of panel to meet your home’s energy needs.
The Benefits of Upgrading Your Electric Panel Before Installing Solar
Newer panels are typically more capable of handling the greater demands of a solar system. A new panel will help prevent overloads and reduce the chances of power outages. Plus, a new panel will provide more protection from lightning strikes and power surges by quickly breaking the connection and preventing damage to the system.
Plus, with a new electric panel, you’ll be able to enjoy a more reliable and powerful source of electricity while increasing the lifespan of your system. A new panel will support more devices and circuits, providing more power and better distribution of electricity. By reducing the risk of overloading and power surges, it will ensure that your solar system runs smoothly for years. Upgrading your electric panel can ultimately provide a more reliable, efficient and versatile source of electricity.
A new panel can also eliminate wasted energy, helping reduce your energy bills and maximizing the amount of power coming into your home. An upgraded panel also helps protect your home from hazards and improves the overall safety of your system. Depending on your current panel’s age, an upgrade could give you access to newer technologies and help you save even more money on energy bills.
Common Situations Where an Upgrade May Be Necessary
If you have an outdated panel, it may not support the higher amperage of a solar system. This is especially relevant if you plan to add additional circuits in the future. Higher amperage means more power, and if your panel isn’t up to the task, it can cause power outages, short-circuits and even electrical fires. An upgraded panel can provide the necessary capacity to support a higher amperage and additional circuits for major appliances.
When it comes to future upgrades, such as adding a charger for an electric vehicle, an older panel may simply be inadequate. If the existing panel can’t handle the extra load, it will add stress to the circuit and lead to safety hazards. Upgrading your panel before adding major loads to your circuits will ensure that the system has the latest safety standards and won’t short out or cause a fire. In most cases, an upgrade is the best way to keep your electrical system safe and up to date.
You should also consider upgrading if your current panel works with fuses instead of circuit breakers. Fuses are an outdated technology that can’t always sense sudden changes in load or current. When you overload a fuse, you’ll need to replace it right away, but you can simply reset a tripped circuit breaker. Upgrading to a panel with breakers will ensure the safety of your solar system while providing the ideal amount of power to your home. It will also provide better protection in the event of an electrical overload.
An electric panel upgrade has numerous benefits, not only for the environment, but also for the value of your home. A new panel will increase the efficiency and reliability of any building. It could also increase the value of your home by reducing the number of repairs a new owner would have to make as well as supplying more power to household appliances and devices. A newer panel will also make future solar upgrades much easier, further increasing the value of a home by providing renewable, clean energy.
The Cost of Upgrading an Electric Panel
On average, the cost of a new electric panel can range from $1,000 to $4,000, depending on the panel’s size and the complexity of the installation. You may have to spend a bit more to upgrade outdated wiring or install a new breaker box. The cost of the upgrade will include the cost of materials and labor as well as any necessary permits or inspections. The final cost can vary depending on specific circumstances and the scope of the project.
When it comes to amperage, panels at the lower end will typically cost around $1,000 to $2,500 while a higher-end 200-amp model can range from $2,000 to $4,000. Prices can also vary depending on the brand and model. Higher amperage panels may cost even more, depending on the features and wiring complexity. For a solar system, you’ll need a panel that supports at least 200 amps. The upgrade will also require professional installation, especially if you plan to add new circuits or outlets for major appliances in the future.
What Is Involved in a Service Panel Upgrade?
During the installation, an electrician will first inspect the existing electrical system, then recommend the best panel for the job. The project may include adding additional circuits, upgrading existing breakers or replacing outdated components. Next, the electrician will install the new panel, connecting it to the main power source and running the necessary wiring. After installing wiring throughout the house, the electrician will check for any potential safety issues, such as exposed wiring or poor connections.
Throughout the life of your new panel, an electrician should perform yearly inspections to ensure that it remains in good working order. During an inspection, the electrician will check for signs of damage, wear and tear, loose connections or improper wiring. Regular maintenance will help identify any issues before they become serious. Also, it’s essential for complex, high-amperage panels at the center of solar energy systems.
Be Sure Your Panel Will Safely Support Your New Solar System
When selecting a new electric panel, consider the system’s power draw. You’ll want to choose a panel with an amperage rating that’s greater than the total draw of your solar system. This will ensure that the panel will safely support the system without constantly tripping breakers. It’s also important to consider the number of breakers needed for your new panel. Solar systems typically require multiple breakers, and you’ll need to ensure that the panel can accommodate them.
At Impact Energy, we offer full-service electric panel upgrades for homeowners throughout Colorado, Our electricians have the training and expertise to ensure a flawless installation that will stand the test of time. Call us today to learn more: (888) 240-1131