What is a Solar Charge Controller? Do you need it?

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Solar energy is a renewable energy, obtained from the use of electromagnetic radiation from the sun. Solar radiation has reached the land used by people since ancient times, through different advanced techniques. And one of those ways to control it is by using solar charge controllers.


What is a Solar Charge Controller?

The solar charge controller is an electronic device located between the solar panels and the battery. Its role is to regulate the flow of energy from the panels to the battery. It controls both the amperage and the voltage they receive to recharge in optimal conditions and without damaging the battery. The goal is to extend its useful life. Battery charging consists of three stages: volumetric, absorption and buoyancy, depending on the level of charge. This device ensures that these steps are balanced and timely so that the battery, a sensitive component, does not fail prematurely.

The other functions of the controller are:

  • Prevent batteries from discharging at night, when not powered by the panels
  • Provide information on the entire photovoltaic system (battery voltage, energy generated, charge level, etc.)
  • They act as deep discharge protection when you have cells drawing direct current from the battery.

Types of controllers and their advantages

It modulates the pulse and only serves to prevent the flow of energy between the plates and the battery when fully charged. To work properly, it must have the same nominal voltage in the solar panel and in the battery, that is, if we have a 12V battery, we can only charge it with a 12V panel. Los panels solares están fabricados para funcionar con tension de batería during ese periodo de charge, punto de trabajo que no se correspond con la corriente eléctrica máxima que pueden proporcionar los panels, por lo que no se provecha al máximo la salida, el sol sale más cheap.

Also called maximizers because their operation uses the maximum power of the solar panels to charge the batteries. In addition to cutting off current from the battery during charging, this type of regulator also draws the highest output from the panel, allowing it to operate at its maximum. Internally adjusts the voltage which is always higher than the battery voltage to the necessary voltage, with high conversion efficiency, gaining strength and saving total production energy. It’s the best option for getting the most out of your solar panel, where the added cost more than makes up for its superior production capabilities. Although they can work with panels and cells at the same nominal voltage, they work more efficiently if we increase the voltage of the photovoltaic field.

The PWM regulator provides several numbers: operating voltage (12, 24, 48) and current (10, 20, 30… amps). We can only charge a 12V system with panels at this voltage, and we must never exceed the current and the nominal power indicated by the regulators which produce our panels in parallel. An MPPT controller provides 3 numbers: the battery’s operating voltage, the panel’s maximum operating voltage, and the battery’s charging strength. In no case should we exceed the operating voltage of the panel, which will allow us to organize its connections so that it is always higher than the voltage of the battery and looking at the VOC numbers on the plug panel technology. On the other hand, the battery charge strength will indicate the total power in the panel that the regulator can handle, if it is 200W in 12V it will be 400W in 24V. Installed powers can be exceeded, limiting the regulator to the maximum power it can load.

Finally, it should be pointed out that there are boards that will only charge the battery correctly if we use an MPPT regulator and connect them in pairs or in trios, since in certain conditions they will not generate enough voltage to charge completely the battery, damaging it prematurely. . . Our recommendation is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and consult with us if you have any questions, as many failures in solar systems are caused by poor contact between panels and charge controllers.

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