The Solar Charge Controller is one of the key components in any Photo Voltaic Generator configuration. This component regulates the power coming from the Solar panel(s) to the battery bank. Today we will go over the two main types of charge controllers, take a look at how they operate, and determine which option is best based on the type of project.
What is the purpose of a Solar Charge Controller?
The Charge Controller is a piece of technology that limits the rate at which an electric current is added to or drawn from a battery source. This component is crucial in solar generator systems, as it will prevent your batteries from over charging and helps maintain and preserve the life of your battery.
Utilizing an efficient charge controller for your application will ensure the batteries are charged at the correct voltage and rate. Lets take a look at the different types of charge controllers.
PWM Charge Controller
PWM stands for Pulse Width Modulation, meaning the electronic switches are programmed to only allow a pre-determined current into the battery. The controller will then slowly reduce the amount of power going into your battery as it approaches max capacity.
PWM Charge Controllers do not adjust voltage, meaning your batteries and panels must have compatible voltages in order to operate properly. This makes this type of charge controller suitable for smaller solar applications, that feature lower voltage panels and limited size battery banks. This is a more affordable option and will result in a lower power production from your PV array.
MPPT Charge Controller
MPPT or Maximum Power Point Tracking, is a more efficient means of power regulation. This type of controller reviews the output of your panel, and it compares it to the battery voltage; determining the best voltage to get the maximum current to your battery bank. This type of power tracking allows for better power production under cloud coverage and variant temperatures.
While more expensive upfront; the MPPT Charge Controller will give you more power and extend the lifespan of your batteries down the road. Certain controllers even allow you to connect to your smart devices for remote control and monitoring.
While PWM Charge Controllers are more affordable, the performance increase seen with MPPT Charge Controllers is most certainly worth the investment. Not only will you see faster, more efficient charge rates, but your batteries will last longer resulting in less out of pocket expenses down the road.
If you have any questions pertaining to Solar Charge Controllers feel free to leave a comment below. As always, we are just a phone call away (877-548-3387) and are happy to offer our expertise on all of your Solar Power needs!