How solar charge controllers prolong the lifetime of your battery – IMC Grupo
Solar technology is gradually replacing traditional energy sources. Industries and individuals are recognizing the benefits of using a renewable energy source over expensive non-renewable energy sources. Most solar systems are equipped with inverters and batteries to store excess energy generated during the day for later use. However, batteries can become overcharged if not monitored.
A solar charge controller addresses the above challenge and is responsible for managing the current that flows into the batteries. It ensures that the deep cycle batteries do not become overcharged or that the current does not flow back to the panels at night. Now that we know what solar charge controllers do, let’s find out some details like their types and solar charge controllers price.
Chargers come in many varieties based on ratings, features, and prices. However, the variants can still be roughly divided into pulse width modulation (PWM) and maximum power point tracking (MPPT).
PWM solar charger
A PWM solar charger connects the solar array directly to the battery bank. During bulk charging, the array output voltage is switched down to the battery voltage. The voltage of the battery increases with charging. As a result, the voltage output of the panel increases and uses more solar energy. It must therefore be ensured that the voltage of the battery bank corresponds to the nominal voltage of the solar system.
A higher voltage is required to charge a battery. If the solar panel and the battery have the same voltage, the battery will not be charged. The PWM solar chargers are cheap and are widely used in households and for commercial applications. Additionally, the PWM chargers have been used for a long time and are still a popular choice for many. However, a PWM controller works even with a little voltage field below the maximum mains voltage.
Ideal panel for a PWM controller
An ideal panel for a PWM controller has a voltage above the mark, which is needed to charge the battery. For example, a panel with a maximum line voltage (Vmp) of around 18 V requires a 12 V battery for charging.
An MPPT controller is an efficient DC / DC converter that maximizes the performance of a panel. Compared to PWM controllers, MPPT controllers are more sophisticated. You can set both the input voltage and the current of the PV generator so that they adapt to the optimal operating voltage and guarantee maximum power generation at all times.
Interestingly, MPPT controllers can also be coupled to higher voltage PV arrays that are above the rated voltage. The user can choose one of the many types of solar PV modules. This can cost less or offer more flexibility in terms of size. Higher voltage arrays also mean fewer parallel strings, which causes lower array current, fewer fuses in the combo box, and less voltage drop. This allows smaller wires to be used, saving the MPPT controllers money by reducing costly copper wiring.
Ideal panel for an MPPT controller
It is recommended that you check the following while selecting a match for an MPPT controller:
- Make sure the open circuit voltage (VOC) of the panel is below the allowable voltage.
- In order for the controller to trigger, the VOC must be above the threshold or the start voltage.
- The maximum panel short circuit current (ISC) must be within the specified range.
- The maximum array performance must also be kept under control.
Note, however, that while MPPT technology is more expensive than PWM, it may not always be the best or better choice between the two. Choosing a PWM or MPPT solar charge controller depends on the user’s location and application.