While most of us largely associate solar power plants with solar panels, there are several other components that complete the setup. These include an inverter, battery, cables, connectors, and most importantly, a solar charge controller. So, if you’re planning to switch to solar energy, you might have come across solar charge controllers.
But what are they? How do they function? Do you really need one? Which technology should you prefer? Well, if these questions are bothering you, then you’re at the right place, as this A-Z guide on solar charge controllers is here to help you out, so keep reading to know more!
What Is A Solar Charge Controller?
A solar charge controller is an electronic device that is used to manage the electricity being transferred from the solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to the solar battery bank. In simple terms, a solar charge controller has two primary functions:
1. First, the solar charge controller ensures that the solar battery, which is usually a deep-cycle battery, is not overcharged during the day. This is a crucial function as it prevents battery damage and safety hazards, extending the solar battery’s service life. And it is also known as multi-stage battery charging.
2. Second, the solar charge controller ensures that stored electricity does not travel back to the solar panels overnight, as it can cause excessive battery damage and drainage. And it is also known as Reverse Current Protection.
While these are the two main roles of a solar charge controller, today, many come with advanced capabilities like lighting control and load control; however, it mainly depends on the type of solar charge controller you invest in, plus the brand.
Additionally, solar charge controllers have other features, such as low voltage disconnect and a user-friendly display for remote monitoring. Again, this varies based on the type of device, but the more the features, the better, as it enhances battery life and performance.
Types of Solar Charge Controllers
Now that we’ve understood the basic functioning and features of solar charge controllers let’s look at the types of solar charge controllers available in the Indian market. While the variations depend on the device’s technology, it is important to know the difference before you invest in either of the two.
1. PWM Solar Charge Controllers
Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) solar charge controllers have been in the market for over a decade, they are comparatively smaller in size, and they operate through a direct connection between the battery bank and the solar panels. They have an average efficiency of 65%, which means that the solar charge controller may not be compatible with large-sized solar panels. However, most people still prefer investing in PWM solar charge controllers as they are tried and tested and because they are budget-friendly.
2. MPPT Solar Charge Controllers
Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) solar charge controllers are relatively new in the Indian market and have an average efficiency of 95%, which is much higher compared to PWM solar charge controllers. Additionally, MPPT controllers are better suited for large-sized solar PV panels and systems, and they are usually bulkier in size. However, even though MPPT solar charge controllers are gaining popularity across customers, many people are hesitant to buy them because of their high cost.
Thus, it is best to choose the solar charge controller’s type after assessing your requirements, budget, and the type of solar plant. Also, while you can buy stand-alone solar charge controllers, some brands offer solar inverters with built-in charge controllers, which can help save both space and money.
Lastly, make sure you buy a solar charge controller from reliable and trusted solar solution providers like Luminous, as they offer value for money products. So, visit their website and explore their collection of solar charge controllers today!