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3 Reasons to Start with a Small, Expandable Home Solar System

May 10, 2018

When most people think of adding solar power to their home, they think big. They think a sea of solar panels covering the roof, soaking up enough sun to power the whole house day after day. They think full replacement of grid power on a daily basis, a greener home, and a smaller carbon footprint. And they think thousands of dollars up front.

But there’s another way to think: small.

Like dipping your toe into a pool, you can start with a small solar system. For some, that means only getting enough solar for a portion of their home, and for others, it’s a first step in building up a full system, using smaller increments over a long period of time.  

Here are a three great reasons for starting with a small solar system:

1. Small solar = less thinking

When you’re installing a full residential or commercial solar system, you have a lot of work to do up front. You have to collect energy usage records, make sure you know the exact size of your home and your roof, and figure out how much energy your system will need to produce each day to meet all your needs. Plus, you have to research installers and find the best price. But if you’re starting small — adding just a few panels at the outset — the planning really comes down to finding who you want to install it, and what price you’re comfortable paying.

2. Reduce the cost of solar to meet your budget

Start with just a few solar panels, and you may find it easier to keep costs under control. If you don’t feel comfortable with the financing options or simply don’t feel like putting down thousands of dollars for a full system, starting with a small solar panel array and building it up as you go may make sense, and save you cents.

3. Think beyond the roof

Small solar systems don’t have to be just for offsetting part of your home’s solar production. With just one or two panels, you can pick and choose what part(s) of your property to serve — from a standalone shed or greenhouse to a portion of or your entire home.

Small Solar — An Inspiration Gallery


Growing tomatoes in November using nothing but green thumbs and green energy — for many, it’s a cost-effective way to make make a beautiful addition to their backyard happen, without adding to their monthly utility bill.

Detached Workshop

Whether it’s filled with power tools or art supplies, a standalone workshop that needs good lighting may be a good candidate for a small solar system.

A Quiet Cabin

The perfect way to enjoy nature without cutting too big a footprint — a solar-powered cabin in the woods or even ice-fishing cabin can be a great retreat.

Part of the House

The most common application, on the roof of your home… just smaller. Be sure to install the first part in a way that makes for easy expansion of the system down the road.

Starting Small with Enphase

The Right Gear

Enphase builds microinverters that connect solar panels together — so, rather than one big string inverter that governs a whole bunch of panels, our microinverters can tie into as little as one panel — giving maximum flexibility to installers and homeowners. And with the new Enphase AC Module — which combines Enphase microinverters and high-quality solar modules into one truly integrated unit — small-load installations are faster and even more cost-effective.

Get Your Credit

You don’t have to purchase a whole-house solar energy system to take advantage of the tax credits for going solar. So be sure to talk to your installer about how to make sure you get the credit you deserve.

Ready to start small?

Do it the right way, with the new Enphase AC Module. Find an Enphase installer.

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