How To Connect Two Solar Panels To One Controller?

In the world today, homeowners are worried and yearning for a change from the roof breaking cost of electricity that they accumulate over time, during the course of their daily activities. Amazingly, solar panels have been the saving grace as it has literarily saved most people by reducing their bills and producing greener energy which is the ultimate goal especially in this 21st century where the benefit of green energy is enormous.

The modus operandi of the Solar Panel is not rocket science nor a complex one, but a very simple process which works as a result of the fact that some materials are able to produce electricity when light falls on them and this is termed as the photovoltaic effect. In this article, we shall be discussing and explaining: how to connect two solar panels to one controller. Before we delve into the procedures of connecting two solar panels to one charge controller, we must first understand what a controller is.

Charge Controller

A charge controller is also known as a charge regulator, it is simply a current and /or voltage regulator and its function is to prevent the batteries from over-charging i.e. it regulates the current and voltage coming from the solar panels which are going to the battery and ensures that the deep cycle batteries are not overcharged during the day making sure that the power doesn’t discharge to the solar panels overnight thereby draining the batteries. A controller is an essential part of all power systems that charge panels irrespective of whether it is a solar panel, fuel, hydro or wood.

How To Connect Two Solar Panels To One Controller? 

The first thing you need to know is that it is absolutely possible to connect two solar panels to one controller and this can be achieved by wiring the solar panels together in a couple of different ways which ultimately means that you connect the positive terminal to the negative terminal of each panel until you have just a single positive and negative connection which you then connect to your charge controller. This is an incredible way to increase your solar power capability and there are 3 easy ways to connect solar panels together.  It could be by connecting in series, parallel or a combination of both and be mindful that each connection method is designed for a specific purpose.

Connecting Solar Panels In Series

The series wiring is a method used to ultimately increase the total system voltage. They are generally implored when you have a grid-connected inverter or charge controller that requires 24volts or more. The total voltage output is invariably the addition of the voltage generated from each solar panel. Using this series wiring, you can connect solar panels in series with different nominal voltages either with identical current ratings or with different current ratings.  Connecting solar panels in series with different ratings should be used with caution because it is the solar panel with the lowest rated current that will determine the overall current output of the whole array.  If the solar panels are of different types and power rating, the individual panel voltage would all sum up but the amperage will be limited to the value of the lowest panel in the series string. Always remember that series wiring equals more voltage

Procedures/Steps of Connecting Solar Panels in Series

+ Step 1: Identify the positive and negative cables of the Solar panels.

The first step to take when connecting your solar panels in series is to first ascertain the cables to determine which is negative and which is positive. This can be done by looking at the cable indicator. Note that some manufacturers also produce the cables in red and black with red used to indicate positive and black for negative.

Step 2: Grab one negative cable and one positive cable from each panel.

After identifying the cables, the next step is to grab one positive cable of solar panel A and one negative cable of solar panel B then connect both of them together.

+ Step 3: Connect to the Adaptor Kit

After connecting the positive and negative cables together, there will be one negative and one positive cable left, pick the first positive cable left and connect an adaptor kit to it, then pick the other negative kit and also connect another adaptor kit to it. 

Step 4: Plug the kit to the charge controller

After connecting the cables to the adaptor kit, all you have to do next is to connect the two adaptors in which you have connected your positive and negative cable to, to your charge controller and you are ready to go.

Facts about Connecting Solar Panels in Series

  • Series connections are generally designed for small-scale use and it is very compatible with MPPT Controller.
  • Using series connection will proliferate the voltage while maintaining the same amperage
  • With the series connection, it is very easy to transfer over long expanses.

Connecting Solar Panels In Parallel

This is majorly used to increase the total system current and is the direct reverse of the series wiring discussed above. It works by connecting all the positive terminals together and then the negative terminals together resulting in a single positive and a single negative connection which you then connect to your battery and thereafter controller. It is important to note that when you connect solar panels together in parallel, the total voltage is unaffected as it would remain the same just as it would for a single panel and remember that it is the output current that changes as it becomes the sum of the output of each of the solar panels that are connected.  

Procedure in Connecting Solar Panels in Parallel

+ Step 1: Identify the positive and negative cables of the Solar panel.

The first step to take is to first ascertain the cables to determine which is negative and which is positive. This can be done by looking at the cable indicator.

Step 2: Grab the positive cable of the panels

After identifying the cables, the next step is to grab the positive cable of solar panel A and the positive cable of solar B then connect both to the MC4 connector(which is also known as Y Connector).

Step 3: Drop the MC4 Connector

After connecting the positive and negative cables to the MC4 Connector, the next step is that you should carefully place the MC4 connector down.

Step 4: Connect the other cable

After dropping the first connection, the next step is to grab the remaining negative and positive cable and plug them into another MC4 Connector.

Step 5: Plug the MC4 Connector to Adaptor Kit

After following steps three and four above, you will now have one negative and one positive connection. You will then plug each of the connections to an adaptor kit. Note that you can either use a 9inches or 10inches adaptor kit depending on the distance.

Step 6: Connect to the Charge controller

At this stage, you solar panel connection is ready and you now have combined power. All you have to do is connect the adaptor kit to your charge controller.

Facts about Connecting Solar Panels in Parallel Connection

  • Using the parallel connection increases amperage and such high amperage finds it tasking and tedious to travel over a large expanse without using thick cables.
  • A parallel system usually requires additional equipment which usually includes a branch connector and a combiner box.
  • Parallel connections are very effective for small and basic systems and are usually compatible with PWM Controllers.
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    Parallel connection increases the amperage while still maintaining same voltage.

Combination Of Both Series And Parallel Connection

This connection system is not as common as series or parallel connection. It involves using both in a way that helps to achieve efficiency and thus avoiding their individual cons. In a case where you need both a higher voltage and a higher current, it would be effective to apply both connection modes meaning that a part would be wired in series while the remaining would then be wired in parallel. This connection mode provides a higher wattage and you get the rare advantage of both parallel and series connection at the same time.

Conclusion

Over the years solar panels have become more affordable and accessible but the problem many people are still faced with is the problem associated with connecting the solar panels together in order to increase the voltage and power output. Connecting solar panels together is not as complicated as we have been erroneously made to believe. Connecting more than one solar panel in series, in parallel or both is really an effective and creative way not only to build an amazingly cost-effective solar panel system but it uniquely leaves room to add more solar panels if the need arises later in future in order to meet our increasing daily needs for electricity. In an instance where the power output of a solar panel is not adequate to sufficiently meet your daily electricity needs, you should immediately think of adding more control panels together. But don’t be overzealous because to get the maximum efficient solar panel system the major rules should be adhered to.

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