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  • Solar panels in series or parallel?

    Hi,

    Recently i obtained two 180 Watt solar panels. They will be mounted on the roof of truck. What's are the pro's / con's of series or parallel solar panel connections.

    Only from a reliability / redundancy point of view the best option seems parallel. In the past years i had a few near misses - almost loosing one panel while driving in the mountains while stones came rushing down. These panels were connected in series.

    Anyone?
    Cheers
    LaptopNomad
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    Extreme laptop travel in Asia, Middle-East and Africa
    www.laptop-junction.com

  • #2
    Assuming you have a shunt or PWM controller on a 12 volt system you only have 1 choice; parallel.
    MSEE, PE

    Comment


    • #3
      It's a 24 volt system based on two 230Ah AGM batteries. Solar panels will be connected to MPPT controller, probably an IVT again but looking around if there's anything better on the block.

      So Series or parallel setup? The solar panels are identical from the same source. Also need to think about the bypass diodes - since the panels have none at the moment.
      Cheers
      LaptopNomad
      ------------------------------------------------------------
      Extreme laptop travel in Asia, Middle-East and Africa
      www.laptop-junction.com

      Comment


      • #4
        I never knew that solar panels could be connected in series or parallel.

        I am now educated =).
        good read.
        But what if you use 12% and only get 8% energy return not filling a battery completely off the solar array- is this considered a cycle? Mmmmmmm mauh brain's sizzling
        [/QUOTE]
        If a pigeon had his brains it would fly sideways

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by LaptopNomad View Post
          It's a 24 volt system based on two 230Ah AGM batteries. Solar panels will be connected to MPPT controller, probably an IVT again but looking around if there's anything better on the block.

          So Series or parallel setup?
          Series is the right way to go with a MPPT charge controller. Besides it is about the only option you have assuming your panels are made for 12 volt system you have to wire them in series.

          Originally posted by LaptopNomad View Post
          The solar panels are identical from the same source. Also need to think about the bypass diodes - since the panels have none at the moment.
          Bypass diodes I hope not, the panels should have them built in already.
          MSEE, PE

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Sunking View Post

            Bypass diodes I hope not, the panels should have them built in already.
            There are no diodes in the junction box, while the current BP solar panels have those
            installed by default

            See here for an impression of the panels; Panel spec suggests 12 Amp bypass diodes.

            Solar panels from China.
            Cheers
            LaptopNomad
            ------------------------------------------------------------
            Extreme laptop travel in Asia, Middle-East and Africa
            www.laptop-junction.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by LaptopNomad View Post
              There are no diodes in the junction box, while the current BP solar panels have those
              installed by default

              See here for an impression of the panels; Panel spec suggests 12 Amp bypass diodes.

              Solar panels from China.
              One more reason not to buy communist products :becky:
              MSEE, PE

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sunking View Post
                One more reason not to buy communist products :becky:
                pretty much but for the price, is it worth the risk?
                Now who wants to play Russian roulette with a slide action hand gun?
                But what if you use 12% and only get 8% energy return not filling a battery completely off the solar array- is this considered a cycle? Mmmmmmm mauh brain's sizzling
                [/QUOTE]
                If a pigeon had his brains it would fly sideways

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by SpaceOddacy View Post
                  pretty much but for the price, is it worth the risk?
                  You have to answer that for yourself.

                  What I advise clients is stick with names you know and trust that have been around for decades, and will be around for many more. Choose manufactures where solar panels are a very small fraction of their market,like BP, Kyocera, Sharp, and Sanyo. These companies will be around tomorrow to honor warranty replacements and future expansions.
                  MSEE, PE

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sunking View Post
                    One more reason not to buy communist products :becky:


                    Had an peculiar experience with communist solar panels in Nepal - were most electronics are hauled over the Nepali Himalayas to the bottomless cheap electronics pit - the Indian and Pakistani market.

                    A couple from Swiss decided to change their $$$$$$ expensive Swiss solar panels on their RV in Pokhara, Nepal with cheaper and more powerfull ones with communist origins for a bargain price. (relatively speaking)

                    Although the communist solar panels were flimsy compared to the robust Swiss ones, the output was much higher. With the same PWM charger / battery, they got amp ratings higher than ever before. As a bystander i could only think - the swiss panels were probably badly matched with the PWM / battery or had thicker glass to sustain heaps of snow?

                    Anyhow - solar electricity is growing rapidly in these regions - with china as the main player - not as a green alternative but because the grid is so unreliable.
                    Cheers
                    LaptopNomad
                    ------------------------------------------------------------
                    Extreme laptop travel in Asia, Middle-East and Africa
                    www.laptop-junction.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sunking View Post
                      You have to answer that for yourself.

                      What I advise clients is stick with names you know and trust that have been around for decades, and will be around for many more. Choose manufactures where solar panels are a very small fraction of their market,like BP, Kyocera, Sharp, and Sanyo. These companies will be around tomorrow to honor warranty replacements and future expansions.
                      Have BP solar panels that proved to be reliable over the past years of trucking in Asia and the Middle-East. But even in one of the biggest PV Solar markets in Europe - Germany - A-brand solar panels are (still) painfully expensive. Unless heavily subsidized by the German government - many houses have roof tops covered with PV panels.

                      Anyhow, the communist panels will be trucked out of the Euro zone southwards - closer to the sun. Way to cold here!
                      Cheers
                      LaptopNomad
                      ------------------------------------------------------------
                      Extreme laptop travel in Asia, Middle-East and Africa
                      www.laptop-junction.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        LaptopNomad what can I say except we are dumb Yankees the whole world is laughing at for financing all our manufacturing to be moved out of the USA to other countries. It will not be long before the USA realizes we already lost the war and ask China for TERMS of SURRENDER.
                        MSEE, PE

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sunking View Post
                          LaptopNomad what can I say except we are dumb Yankees the whole world is laughing at for financing all our manufacturing to be moved out of the USA to other countries. It will not be long before the USA realizes we already lost the war and ask China for TERMS of SURRENDER.
                          Add the Europeans too - the same is happening in this region with 'east block' countries nearby. The thing is - there is a huge Asian (chinese) manufacturing industry for low priced nearby markets (India/Pakistan) . It's just 1 step away to export the stuff. But European/US brands are highly valued because of reliability, they simply can't afford them.

                          Experienced crazy situations where Mercedes Benz workshops in the Gulf region service trucks with genuine / expensive European parts with skilled / trained mechanics so cheap, making labor a tiny fraction of the total bill.

                          The solar panels will go in series with a small mod to easily 'switch out' 1 broken panel out of the loop without having to disassemble wiring on the roof.
                          Last edited by LaptopNomad; 11-06-2010, 05:01 AM. Reason: typo
                          Cheers
                          LaptopNomad
                          ------------------------------------------------------------
                          Extreme laptop travel in Asia, Middle-East and Africa
                          www.laptop-junction.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            advantages of solar series/parallel connections

                            In series, the voltage adds up, so you'll have increased voltage. This is the advantage of hooking up cells in series.

                            In parallel, the current adds up from each of the cells, so you'll have increased current output. This is the advantage of hooking up cells in parallel.

                            For more details on solar series/parallel connections, check out:
                            http://www.learningaboutelectronics....s-and-parallel

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