The population explosion has created immeasurable consequences, including the energy crises that are happening more and more frequently all around the world. The more people, the more demand for energy. We cannot live without water, electricity, gasoline, fire, etc. We need the energy to deal with them all. That is why people constantly explore energy sources, for both nonrenewable sources since the past and renewable sources for now.
The very outstanding candidate for renewable sources is solar energy. It’s so popular for us to use and to explore as an alternative source that is safe and environmentally friendly. You can easily see solar arrays on almost rooftops when standing high above. The thing behind managing these solar arrays’ work is a solar charge controller.
For the purchase of solar charge controllers, we have so many choices now. To help you avoid being fooled by cunning sellers, we would like to provide some useful tips for your concern about “how to select a solar charge controller”.
What is a solar charge controller?
As a great application of solar energy, solar power is generating electricity by converting the energy from sunlight. Thanks to the photovoltaic effect, people use photovoltaic cells to convert the light which is concentrated through a solar power system into electricity.
This system can be divided into 2 main parts. One is the solar photovoltaic system array (solar array) which is usually established on rooftops to receive sunlight. Another is the solar charger controller which tracks the performance of the solar array.
Solar charge controller
As mentioned above, the solar charge controllers manage the received power from solar arrays which go into the battery system. Playing a role like its name, the controller takes responsibility for the charging status of these batteries.
Bad performance of the controller can make a series of overcharged batteries in the daytime, leading to an abnormal condition of solar power afterward. In some cases concentrated power did not run back to solar arrays in the nighttime making the batteries become drained. Therefore, managing solar power is the most important job of solar charge controllers
Up to now, we have two techniques to develop a solar charge controller including Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) and Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT). The PWM solar charge controller operates by connecting the energy from solar arrays to batteries.
The MPPT solar charge controller measures the voltage of solar arrays and converts it into electricity. The MPPT controller is more welcomed by customers, despite not being as cheap as the PWM.
The main features
Every solar charge controller has main features as below:
- Multi-charging batteries through solar arrays respectively with the batteries charge level
- Protecting the batteries from being drained at nighttime
- Disconnecting or Turning off in low voltage situations when batteries are low and turning on when the batteries are charged back up.
- Controlling the light depended on dusk and dawn time.
- Displaying the voltage of the battery system, charging status, energy from solar arrays.
Selecting a solar charge controller
Starting from amazing uses of solar power in your house. Imagine that you are taking a shower in the freezing winter but the hot water suddenly runs out. Or recall the memories of local power cuttings in the summer. Finally, think about the hundreds of bills you must pay when using other renewable energy sources instead of solar power. You will see that using solar power is the wisest decision you have ever made!
Nowadays, we have so many countries using solar power. Renewable sources like fossil fuel are supposed to be exhausted rapidly. The big countries are stopping their exploration and buying the raw materials from other countries instead. Some even plan to build artificial fields for future storage. It’s the time people mind most about renewable energy sources most.
We can have no mention to Thailand where people were so familiar with rotating power cuts, or Africa where electricity was so luxurious. They made significant revolutions in energy utilization.
You may wonder why selecting a good solar charge controller is important. Here is the answer. Once you choose solar power, you should use it effectively. Therefore, selecting a true solar charge controller is the very first thing on your “to-do list”. Any poor performance of the solar charge controller may lead to regrettable risks that not only waste your time and money but also influence your life safely!
How to get a true controller?
Select target type
Starting with the 2 types of solar charge controllers mentioned above, they have some significant differences that affect your solar system much. From a professional’s point of view, the MPPT solar charge controller performances are better than the PWM, which offers more than 30% of power, allows higher voltages and lower amperages. This is also the reason why the MPPT is more popular for long-term uses.
Choose controller’s size and features
After finding out the suitable type of target solar charge controller, you should consider the size and features as well. The size of the controller depends on your current solar array system. A big solar charge controller is appreciated due to the ability to produce power at any time.
Not easy as the size, selecting good features is more difficult. You should choose a solar charge controller containing 3 factors: reliability, endurable, and efficiency. Remember that the price does not play an important role in these situations. You get what you pay for so that a low-cost controller could not respond to all your needs and wants.
Focus on voltage selection
Selecting suitable voltage is an essential action when considering the features of your target solar charge controller. If you have the desired voltage, you must choose a compatible device to control the activities of your solar arrays.
The normal configurations asked by many customers are 12 and 24 volts. In case you do not understand clearly, a 12 volts solar charge controller is required for a 12 volts battery bank. Some complicated controllers can detect voltage automatically, then permit running with different voltages.
Pay attention to specific features
You should have an eye on a sophisticated solar charge controller even when your target controller is a simple one. Doing a thousand surveys for customer’s experiences, we realize that many people feel regret due to ignoring the unique features of sophisticated controllers so that they have been cost twice for what they passed. You may refer to the following features:
- Advanced microprocessor allowing to detect and adjust voltage level automatically
- A buck regulator to explore solar harnessing systems better.
- System protection feature whenever happening error due to reversed polarity.
- Prevent the battery from overcharging or discharging.
Useful tips for a good deal
You must have certain knowledge about a solar charge controller now. However, it’s still underestimated by experienced sellers. They are so smart to see your unstable emotions when standing in front of thousands of solar controllers. Therefore, we would like to provide some tricks to help you look more professional.
- Reading the voltage first, normal controllers range from 150 V to 600 V
- Spending a little time on product’s manuals
- Preferring to MPPT solar charge controller
To sum up
Using solar power is truly a good choice. It not only satisfies your energy needs but also reduces the use of nonrenewable energy sources. Whenever using solar power, you know you are protecting the environment in some ways.
However, using solar power is not an easy task either. Unless you choose the right solar charge controller, you are wasting energy. If you are looking for a true solar charge controller, then any of the information we suggested above can help. Let us know your great experiences with your controller. We are very pleased to hear from you!