A charge controller is a voltage or current regulator that keeps electric cells from overcharging. While most batteries need 12 to 14 volts to get fully charged, exceeding this voltage will damage the batteries. Thus, solar panels can be equipped with a charger controller to shunt the PV charging circuit, meaning charging stops when the battery voltage reaches a certain level.
Types Of Solar Charge Controllers
There are two categories of charge controllers — Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) and Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT). While PWM is basically the switch that connects a solar panel to the battery, the MPPT is more sophisticated, since it is able to convert the excess voltage into amperage.
PWM Solar Controllers
These controllers send pulses depending on the battery’s current status of the charge. For an almost fully charged battery, the pulses sent will be short and inconsistent, but for a discharged battery, they’ll be longer and more constant.
- These controllers are a good low-cost solution for small systems only
- They come in sizes up to 60 amps
- They have a longer lifespan
- They are built on a time tested technology, and have been used for many years
- Can’t be used efficiently with a 60-cell panel
- The Solar input voltage must match the battery bank voltage
MPPT Solar Controllers
The principle behind MPPT is squeezing maximum solar-generated power from a solar panel by enabling it to operate at a more efficient combination of voltage and current.
- They have the highest charging efficiency by up to 30%
- You can get sizes up to 80 amps
- Can be used on a higher volt grid connect module
- Offer the flexibility of having a solar panel with higher input voltage than the battery
- MPPT is the only way to standardize grid connect modules for charging batteries
- 2–3 times more expensive than a comparable PWM controller.
- Shorter expected lifespan due to more electronic components and greater thermal stress.
- MPPT units are usually larger in size
The Sunshine State can support steady solar power energy year-round. Whether you chose PWM controllers or MPPT controllers for your Off-Grid Solar System, you stand the benefit of being energy self-sufficient. These controllers will ensure optimum performance of your solar panel system for a cozy home.
Get a PES Solar Panel for Your Florida Home
Ever wonder what it takes to go solar? PES Solar has your answer. With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and zero-down financing pending credit approval, we’ve been helping satisfied Central Florida homeowners go solar for over 20 years. To receive a quality solar panel system that produces the energy and savings your home needs, contact PESolar for more information.