How Solar Charge Controllers Extend Battery Life – Guide

Solar power plants, wind power plants, tidal power plants, fuel cells, etc. used to generate electricity are intermittent in nature, which means that these energy sources do not produce electricity constantly and at all times of the day. Therefore, they need a battery to store electricity. The battery does not alter or transform the electrical current; it just saves you. When power is not available, the charge stored in the battery is used to power the loads. Batteries are almost always installed with a charge controller. As the name suggests, a charge controller is an electronic module that controls the amount of charge that enters and leaves the battery. Charge controllers are installed for optimal, more efficient battery performance and to protect the battery from over- and under-charging. Charge controllers include a variety of possible displays, from a single red light to digital displays for voltage and current. These indicators are important and useful. Imagine driving across the country without a dashboard in your car! A display system can show the current flow in and out of the system, the approximate state of charge of your battery, and when various thresholds are being reached.

PWM Solar Charger

A PWM solar charger connects the solar panel directly to the battery bank. In bulk charging, the matrix output voltage is reduced to the battery voltage. Battery voltage increases as it is charged. As a result, the output voltage of the panel also increases, which consumes more solar energy. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that the battery bank voltage matches the rated voltage of the solar system. A higher voltage is required to charge a battery. If the solar panel and battery have the same voltage, the battery will not charge. PWM solar chargers are inexpensive and widely used in homes and commercial applications. Also, PWM chargers have been around for a long time and are still a popular choice for many.

MPPT controller

An MPPT controller is an efficient DC-DC converter that maximizes the power output of a panel. Compared to PWM controllers, MPPT controllers are more sophisticated. You can manipulate the input voltage and current of the PV array to set the optimal operating voltage and ensure maximum power generation at all times. Interestingly, MPPT controllers can also be paired with higher voltage PV panels in excess of the rated voltage. Allows the user to choose one of several types of photovoltaic solar panels; that may cost less or offer more flexibility in terms of size. Higher voltage arrays also mean fewer strings connected in parallel, resulting in less array current, fewer fuses in the junction box, and less voltage drop. Thus, smaller cables can be used, allowing MPPT controllers to save money by reducing costly copper cables.

Ideal panel for an MPPT controller

It is recommended to check the following when choosing a match for an MPPT controller:

Final note

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