Solar Panels                  

The World's #1 Source For Renewable Energy Products

 

 

Learn About Wiring Solar Panels And Batteries

 

There are three types of wiring configurations that are relatively easy to learn. Once mastered, the job of wiring batteries or solar modules becomes easy as pie. The three configurations are: 

 

Series wiring

 

Parallel wiring

 

And a combination of the two known simply as series/parallel wiring.

 

In any DC generating device such as a battery or solar module, you will always have a negative (-) terminal and a positive (+). Electrons or (current) flows from the negative terminal through a load to the positive terminal. 

 

For ease of explanation we shall refer to a solar module or battery as a "Device"

 

Series Wiring

 

To wire any device in series you must connect the positive terminal of one device to the negative terminal of the next device

 

       

 

Important: When you wire devices in series the individual voltages of each device is additive. In other words if each device in the above example had the potential of producing 12 volts, then 12 + 12 + 12 + 12 = 48 volts. If these devices were batteries then the total voltage of the battery pack would be 48 volts. If they were solar modules that produced 17 Volts each then the total voltage of the solar array would be 68 volts.

 

The second important rule to remember about series circuits is that the current or amperage in a series circuit stays the same. So if these devices were batteries and each battery had a rating of 12 Volts @ 220 Amp hours then the total value of this series circuit would be 48 Volts @ 220 Amp hours. If they were solar modules and each solar module had a rating of 17 volts and were rated at 5 amps each then the total circuit value would be 68 volts @ 5 amps.

 

In the example below two 6 Volt 350 Amp hour batteries were wired in series which yields 6 Volts + 6 Volts = 12 Volts @ 350 Amp hours.

 

 

If the above devices were solar modules which were rated at 17 volts each @ 4.4 amps then this series circuit would yield 34 volts at 4.4 amps.

 

Remember the Voltage in a series circuit is additive and the Current stays the same.

 

 

Parallel Circuits

 

To wire any device in parallel you must connect the positive terminal of the first device to the positive terminal of the next device and negative terminal of the first device to the negative terminal of the next device.

 

 

Important: When you wire devices in parallel the resulting Voltage and Current is just the opposite of a series circuit. Instead the Voltage in a parallel circuit stays the same and the Current is additive. If each device in the above example had the potential of producing 350 Amp hours then 350 + 350  = 700 Amp hours, the Voltage would stay the same. 

 

If these devices were batteries then this parallel circuit would yield total voltage of 12 volts @ 700 Amp hours. If these devices were solar modules that produced 17 Volts @ 4.4 amps each then the this parallel circuit would yield 17 Volts @ 8.8 amps.

 

In the example below four 17 Volt @ 4.4 Amp solar panels were wired in parallel which yields 4.4 Amps + 4.4 Amps + 4.4 Amps + 4.4 Amps = 17.6 amps total @ 17 volts

 

 

if the above devices were batteries which were rated at 12 volts each @ 220 Amps hours then this parallel circuit would yield 12 volts @ 880 Amp hours.

 

Remember the Voltage in a parallel circuit stays the same and the Current is additive.

 

Series/Parallel Circuits

 

Hold on to your hats because here's where it gets a little wild. Actually you've already learned all you need to know to under stand series/parallel circuits.

 

A Series/parallel circuit is simply two or more series circuits that are wired together in parallel.

 

 

 

 

 

In the above example two separate pairs of 6 Volt batteries have been wired in series and each of these series pairs have been wired together in parallel. 

 

You might be asking why in the world would someone want to put them self through this ? Well lets say that you want to increase the Amp hour rating of a battery pack so that you could run your appliances longer but you needed to wire the pack in such a way as to keep the battery pack at 12 volts, or you want to increase the charging capacity of your solar array but you needed to wire the solar modules in such a way as to keep the solar array at 34 volts, well, series/parallel is the only way to do that. 

 

Remember in parallel circuits the current is additive so thus you increase your run time or Amp hour capacity or in the case of solar modules, you increase your charging current by wiring the batteries or solar modules in parallel. Since we need 12 volts and have 6 volt batteries or in the case of solar modules we need 34 Volts and have 17 Volt modules on hand on hand, wiring the batteries or solar modules in series allows us to get the 12 Volts or 34 Volts that we need. 

 

An easy way to visualize it would be to start by wiring the batteries in individual sets that will give you the voltage that you need. Lets say that you need 24 volts but have six volt batteries on hand. First wire four of the batteries in series to get 24 volts. (Remember wire in series to increase the voltage) and continue to wire additional sets of four batteries until the batteries are used up. 

 

Next wire each series set of four batteries in parallel to each other (Positive to positive to positive and so on and then negative to negative to negative and so on) until each series set is wired together in parallel. If each series set of batteries equals 24 Volts at 350 Amp hours then five series sets wired to each other in parallel would give you a 24 Volt @ 1750 Amp hour battery pack.

 

Remember: In a series circuit the current stays the same but the voltage is additive. In a parallel circuit the voltage stays the same but the current is additive.

 

If you need any assistance in wiring your system together, remember we're just a phone call away. We can provide you with diagrams or any sort of assistance that you might need to complete your installation. Give a a call, we're here to help 1-888-955-3471

 

 

Click here to learn more about alternative energy

     

 

 

 

horizontal rule

Sales Policy

14268 Valley Center Drive, Victorville, CA 92395
Copyright 1997-2003 Solar Home, Inc.