A solar controller – AKA to many as a solar charge controller – is a key piece of equipment to ensure solar panels and a solar battery interact correctly. It’s also a significant device for its capacity to improve energy efficiency. But finding the right solar controller for a business may feel like a confronting task at the start given all the information that is out there. So let’s go through now what you should know and understand about solar controllers.
What Does a Solar Controller Do Exactly?
A solar controller, like those available from RS Components, assists in regulating the flow of the current between the solar panels and the battery. Looking at it from a technical perspective exclusively, not every installation may actually require a solar installer. However, usually it’s indeed the case an installation will. For any solar installation of 5 watts or higher, there can be the expectation a solar controller will be required.
Factoring in Safety
A solar controller assists in moderating the flow of the current between the solar panels and battery, and this accordingly avoids the danger of overcharging. This is especially important as given the particular nature of solar energy generation – as there can be a potential oversupply of power available each and every day via sunshine – an overload could easily occur in absence of a piece of equipment being present that regulated the current.
How Solar Controllers Can Differ
Currently there’s two main types of solar controllers in existence. There’s the Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPP) solar controller, and the Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) solar controller. Each device has their own advantages and drawbacks respectively. However, just as one may be preferable for an installation over the other depending upon many factors, it’s prudent to understand the differences between them regardless of which one is ultimately selected from one installation to another.
With an MPP solar controller an energy transfer of up to 97% from panel to battery can be achieved. By contrast, a PWM solar controller will be more affordable, but can perform this same task at a rate of only around 70%. This said – whilst a MPP usually is ideal – in certain instances a PWM will be perfectly suitable. It’s just vital to ensure a selection is made with an understanding not only of the needs of a solar installation and its battery at the present time, but also how those needs may evolve in the future.
Lighting the Way
Finding the right solar controller for a business will always depend on many factors being considered. Each business has their own unique needs, and will formulate an opinion surrounding which solar controller is best for their use. But a business that has a solid understanding of solar controllers will be far better placed to make a good and informed decision when selecting a solar controller compared to a business that does not. By knowing how a solar controller works, it’s safety features, and the differences between an MPP solar controller and PWM solar controller, a business has a good foundation to pursue the ideal solar controller.