With our increased dependence on appliances and gadgets, our electricity bills are increasing by the day. Not everyone can afford to pay high electricity bills every month. That’s why commercial and personal establishments are now switching to solar energy.
Even though individuals are beginning to recognize the high potential of solar energy, and are welcoming solar systems into their lives, the most common question at the back of their minds is still this – is a solar system even safe?
The answer is yes. A solar system is a safe option, given that you have a solar charge controller installed.
Today, we’ll be knowing everything there is to know about a solar charge controller.
What is a Solar Charge Controller?
A solar charge controller is an essential component of a solar panel system. A solar charge controller acts as a charge regulator; controlling the electricity entering the battery bank from a solar array. It keeps the battery from overcharging by maintaining the voltage and current.
How Does a Solar Charge Controller Work?
One key point to note is that electricity flows from high voltage to low voltage. So, when solar panels produce high amount of energy during the day, their voltage is high. As for the battery bank, its voltage is low. The electricity produced in excess is then sent to the battery for storage.
But at night, when there’s no exposure to sunlight, the battery has a higher voltage as against the solar panels as they are all charged up from the day. To prevent this high voltage from flowing to the solar panels, the solar charge controller comes in to hold the electricity in place.
When the battery charger is empty or has limited power stored in it, the charge controller sends an immense amount of power to the battery and at the same time charges it quickly. If the battery is full or is in use, the charge controller directs a smaller amount of power to the battery via a trickle charge to ensure the solar battery stays ready to supply power.
In addition to that, a solar charge controller automatically disconnects non-essential loads from the battery bank when the voltage drops below a particular limit. The process is known as Low Voltage Disconnect (LVD) and it keeps the battery’s energy from overcharging.
Types of Solar Charge Controllers
There are two varieties of solar charge controllers available in the market:
- Pulse Width Modulation Solar Controller:
A PWM charge controller links your solar array with a battery directly. The voltage of a battery increases when it charges, consequently leading to an increase in the solar panel voltage as well. A solar panel can only be used if it is built to work with the voltage of the charge controller and battery.
The PMW solar charge controller features a two-stage regulation. In the first stage, the controller charges the battery with a higher voltage to ensure a charge of 100%. In the latter stage, it will decrease the voltage from the solar array to ensure the battery maintains a charge of 100% charge level, consequently minimizing water loss and overcharging of the battery.
A PMW charge controller might be less efficient but has the upper hand on the pricing front. On the plus side, this type of solar charge controller is ideal for home power systems.
- Maximum Power Point Tracking or MPPT Solar Controller:
An MPPT solar charge controller works by calculating the VMP input voltage of the solar panel; following which it then down-converts the voltage to complement the battery voltage.
In this type of system, the complete power of solar panels can be utilized by balancing between current and voltage according to the P = V x A equation.
MPPT solar charge controller is well-reputed for its efficiency. However, it does belong to the higher end of the price range.
A solar charge controller is a step towards safety. Now that you understand the device and it’s working, you would be able to make a wise purchasing decision. While you are at it, ensure that you are buying yours from reputable brands.
When it comes to reputation and trust, Luminous is the go-to brand for all your power needs. Their products are a blend of excellence and innovation. Picking them would be a decision you would never regret.