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Solar Energy Systems

Supplier: R & J Batteries

Renewable energy is the ideal choice for Remote Area Power Systems (RAPS). Photovoltaic (PV) or “Solar Panels” are a reliable choice, as are wind and hydro turbines provided maintenance is regular and the site is well chosen.

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Solar Panels
All solar panels require regulation before connection to a battery. Some regulators are very basic, and nothing more than a simple electronic switch to turn the solar input ON and OFF at preset voltages. We recommend Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) regulation as it has a greater control of voltage, minimises losses and therefore extends battery life.

The latest generation of solar controllers have Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT). So what is it? MPPT is an electronic way (with no moving parts) of controlling the solar panel output to ensure the highest power is extracted by letting the voltage and current reach their highest values. IE: Highest Volts X Highest Amps = Highest Watts

Normal regulators effectively hold or “clamp” the solar panel output voltage down at the same voltage as the battery, meaning that the output is significantly less. See the individual datasheets for the “I-V” output curves of each panel for their Voltage (Vmp) VS Amps (Imp).

For example; A 120W panel supplying 13.8V to a battery will supply around 6 Amps. 13.8 x 7 = 96.6 Watts. Therefore by using a standard regulator you have effectively thrown 23W or 20% of the panel away (and around $200 of your money).

The problem only increases as the size of the array does. For example, on a remote house with 8 x 12V 120W panels = 960W, or so you would think, but on a 24V system, the panels will put out around 7A at 28V. Four strings of 12V panels = 4 x 28 x 7 = 784W. Again throwing 20% of the array away, or 176W and at $10 per watt = $1760 wasted!

By using a MPPT regulator you regain all of the power lost using a “normal” regulator PLUS due to the input being at a higher voltage (some allow over 100V) the loss in the wire from the solar panel array down to the controller are less, typically accounting for another 5-10% of power.

MPPT controllers do not magically gain power from your solar panels, they simply get all of the available power from them.

Regulators & MPPT
All solar panels require regulation before connection to a battery. Some regulators are very basic, and nothing more than a simple electronic switch to turn the solar input ON and OFF at preset voltages. We recommend Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) regulation as it has a greater control of voltage, minimises losses and therefore extends battery life.

The latest generation of solar controllers have Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT). So what is it? MPPT is an electronic way (with no moving parts) of controlling the solar panel output to ensure the highest power is extracted by letting the voltage and current reach their highest values. IE: Highest Volts X Highest Amps = Highest Watts

Normal regulators effectively hold or “clamp” the solar panel output voltage down at the same voltage as the battery, meaning that the output is significantly less. See the individual datasheets for the “I-V” output curves of each panel for their Voltage (Vmp) VS Amps (Imp).

For example; A 120W panel supplying 13.8V to a battery will supply around 6 Amps. 13.8 x 7 = 96.6 Watts. Therefore by using a standard regulator you have effectively thrown 23W or 20% of the panel away (and around $200 of your money).

The problem only increases as the size of the array does. For example, on a remote house with 8 x 12V 120W panels = 960W, or so you would think, but on a 24V system, the panels will put out around 7A at 28V. Four strings of 12V panels = 4 x 28 x 7 = 784W. Again throwing 20% of the array away, or 176W and at $10 per watt = $1760 wasted!

By using a MPPT regulator you regain all of the power lost using a “normal” regulator PLUS due to the input being at a higher voltage (some allow over 100V) the loss in the wire from the solar panel array down to the controller are less, typically accounting for another 5-10% of power.

MPPT controllers do not magically gain power from your solar panels, they simply get all of the available power from them.
 

Solar Panels

  • Projecta portable solar panel kits
    Ideal when travelling to keep the auxiliary batteries in your 4WD or Caravan fully charged when running lights and compressor fridges.

 

  • Kyocera  solar panels
    Premium products for the highest reliability and longest service life.
     
  • SolarFun  solar panels
    Economically priced and suitable for most applications.

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