Solar panels aren’t fun until they produce electricity for your home. The moment you connect your panel you need to figure out how to get your system working as efficiently as possible. To do this, there are a number of different things that need to be managed in order for your system to operate effectively. One of the most important pieces of management is with your solar charge controller.
A solar charge controller is essentially a device that limits the amount of current that flows from your panels into your house or yard. It does this by monitoring the battery level and output voltage, and then automatically limiting the current going into it so that it doesn’t overload and damage the house wiring or cause other harm.
In this post, we will explore everything you need to know about what a solar charge controller is and why you should have one installed on every single bank of solar panels in your home or business.
How Does A Solar Charge Controller Work?
When a solar charge controller is connected to the main wire of your solar panels, it will monitor the battery level and output voltage. Once it detects that the battery is at a certain point it will then automatically limit the current going into it so that it doesn’t overload and damage the house wiring or cause other harm.
The solar charge controllers are also able to track how much power you’re using from your panels and how much power you’ve put back into the grid, which makes them great for both homes and businesses.
Why do I need a solar charge controller?
You need a solar charge controller to make your solar panels work at their maximum efficiency. You might be thinking, “I know my panel is working well enough because I see the power meter on my panel.” Well, that’s true but it only shows you what is happening out in the open view of your system. The solar charge controller monitors all the power going into and out of your home or business and then adjusts how much current goes into each individual bank of panels based on how much power you are actually using. If you don’t have one installed, you could end up with more power than your system can handle and it will overheat and potentially blow a fuse or trip a breaker.
Types Of Solar Charge Controllers
There are two main kinds of solar charge controllers: PWM controllers and MPPT controllers.
Maximum Performance Point Tracking (MPPT), or Maximum Current Point Tracking (MCPT), is a method used to maximize the output current of solar panels, thus increasing efficiency. A PWM controller tends to be smaller and operates at the battery level; an MPPT controller uses new technology to run at the maximum panel output level. This increases the output of the system, which is important in cold climates where the batteries get progressively weaker as the temperature drops. An MPPT controller can also work with high voltages and low arrays, meaning fewer strings in parallel and thinner wires.
What is the difference between a charge controller and an inverter?
A charge controller is a device that limits the amount of current going into an electrical system. For example, it would monitor the battery level and output voltage, and then automatically limit the current going into it so that it doesn’t overload and damage the house wiring or cause other harm.
An inverter, on the other hand, will convert DC power from your solar panels to AC power for use in your home or office. It will also maintain a constant voltage throughout your entire system.
You can have one type of device or both installed depending on what you need.
Do I need a charge controller with an inverter?
The most common question we hear is: do I need a charge controller with an inverter? The answer to that is yes. An inverter is a device that converts direct current (DC) from your solar panels into alternating current (AC) so that it can be used by the rest of your house. If you don’t have a separate charge controller and an inverter, then you need two devices because one just wouldn’t work on its own.
What happens to solar power when batteries are full?
When the battery bank is full, the solar panels can no longer keep up with the charge. This is where a solar charge controller comes in handy. The controller will monitor the output voltage and battery voltage and then automatically limit the current going into it so that it doesn’t overload and damage the house wiring or cause other harm.
If you want to maximize your solar power production, you need to have your batteries charged properly. If they are overcharged, they could get damaged. This could lead to reduced battery life and not enough power for your home needs, which is why having a solar charge controller is important.
Can You Use More Than One Charge Controller?
If you want to charge multiple batteries at once using a single charge controller, you might need to set up multiple charge circuits. You could also choose to use multiple charge controller devices instead of a single device if they’re able to handle the total current load.
A charge controller prevents overcharging by managing the voltage coming from your solar panel and using that information to limit the amount of current flowing from each panel into your house or yard.