Thank goodness I uploaded the photos before the camera app on my phone broke some of them! I think I've fixed the phone, but I completely forgot to post an update here. I hope you'll forgive this late post!!
It all started when we purchased a pressure pump to get water from our tank into the house. With Winter well on it's way, Marty was mindful of the effect running even this small pump would have on our even smaller solar system. We looked into options locally, and yes, we could upgrade our panels from about 500W to nearly 1000W given our limiting factor - roof space. However, we could get 4 commercial 400W panels to fit, and it'd give us a whopping 1600W of power instead. The only thing is we had to get them from Newcastle. It was either arrange delivery or take a little holiday there ourselves. We opted for the latter!
Of course it rained and rained, but it was beautiful! Driving for over 6 hours from the very dry inland, it wasn't disappointing to us at all. As you can see, we enjoyed the water, all the green, the moisture in the air, everything!
We brought the panels back home with the use of a borrowed trailer, and a couple of weeks later, our friendly solar installer did the hard work of getting them on the roof, complete with a proper racking system. The original racks were Z purlins and bits of old signage screwed down to hold the panels in place. We might have considered it dodgy, but they did hold up to the weather for over 5 years!
The system has been much happier since the arrival of the panels. The batteries get to float much more often now, even in poor weather. It's amazing to see them perform the same on overcast drizzly days as our old panels would on sunny clear ones! There's so much power, the batteries have all they want with more to spare, giving us power to to use other electrical appliances more often too.
So, we had a little mini-holiday to Newcastle, experienced staying in an AirBnb host's home, had sourdough pizza and spent hours with our feet dangling in the water.. and brought back enough power to make our new water pump run. Excellent!