A solar charge controller is an essential component of any solar electric system. It’s responsible for regulating the voltage and current coming from the solar panels. In this blog post, we’ll give a basic explanation of what a solar charge controller does, and why you need one for your system. We’ll also provide some tips on how to select a good charge controller for your needs.

What Does a Solar Charge Controller Do?

A charge controller is a device that regulates the voltage and current coming from your solar panels. It helps to ensure that your batteries are never overcharged, which can damage them or shorten their lifespan. In addition, a good solar charge controller will also protect your batteries from reverse polarity and low-voltage conditions.

Why Do You Need One for Your Solar Electric System?

If you’re using a solar electric system to power your home or business, then you definitely need a solar charge controller. Without one, your batteries could be overcharged and damaged, which would significantly reduce the lifespan of your system. More info is available here: https://youtu.be/yECgD9Mg1PI

What is the difference between a solar charge controller and an inverter?

An inverter is a device that converts direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). This is necessary in order to use solar electricity to power most appliances and devices in your home or business. A solar charge controller, on the other hand, regulates the voltage and current coming from your solar panels. 

A charge controller is installed between your solar panels and your battery bank, whereas an inverter is installed between your battery bank and wiring out to your home or AC appliances.

How to Pick the Right Controller

When selecting a solar charge controller, there are several factors to consider. The most important thing is to choose a model that’s compatible with the voltage and current of your solar panels. You’ll also need to decide what type of batteries you’re using, as different controllers are designed for lead acid, gel cell, or lithium ion batteries.

Finally, you’ll need to consider the features offered by each controller. Some models offer advanced features like temperature compensation, LCD displays, remote controls, and more.

If you have any questions about charge controllers or need help finding the right one for your needs, please contact us. We’re experts in renewable energy and have experience designing and installing solar electric systems in the Seattle and Puget Sound area. We can help you too!

Types of Solar Charge Controllers

There are two main types of solar charge controllers: PWM and MPPT.

Pulse Width Modulation (PWM)

This type is the most common and cost-effective option for solar panels under 150 watts. It controls the amount of current that can be delivered to your batteries while they are charging, in order to prevent overcharging. They are usually rated for 12V or 24V systems, with a lower price tag than MPPT charge controllers because of their simpler design and construction. 

Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT)

MPPT controllers are more efficient than PWM, and they allow you to connect panels at different voltages (e.g., 24V and 48V) in order to optimize performance. MPPT controllers work best when the voltage of your solar array is higher than that of your battery bank, as it can convert excess power from high-voltage arrays into charging current for your batteries. They are also more efficient in cloudy weather or when the panels are partially shaded, making them a better option for systems with partial shading.

Choosing a Solar Charge Controller: The Bottom Line

When choosing the best charge controller for your needs, it is important to consider both how much power you need as well as what type of system will work best with your existing equipment. For example, if you are using a PWM controller with a 12V battery bank, you may want to consider upgrading to an MPPT controller if you are adding more solar panels to your system.

Working with an experienced solar installer can help make the process easier and ensure that you select the right components for your needs. We at OHM are experts in solar energy in the Seattle area, and we’re standing by to help. Contact us to get started!