Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Solar Controllers
A solar power system consists of several components, with the solar controller being a crucial one. It is an electronic device used to manage and regulate the energy being transmitted from the photovoltaic (PV) modules to the solar battery. While this may not seem like an important function, a solar charge controller is crucial for enhancing the PV plant’s efficiency and maximizing power production – which is done by two simple processes.
First, the solar controller ensures that the solar battery is not being overcharged during the day when energy production is at its peak. Second, it makes sure that power from the solar battery does not travel back to the solar PV panels during the night as it can lead to drainage. Additionally, some solar controllers carry out more functions like lighting control and load control, but the primary role is to regulate the electricity. Now that we know how solar controllers work and their uses, here’s everything else you need to know:
The Essential Features of a Solar Controller
While all solar controllers are built differently, they have some standard essential features, such as:
- Battery overcharge protection to increase performance and service life
- Prevent and monitor reverse current flow from the battery to the photovoltaic (PV) panels at night
- Help reduce the solar power plant’s maintenance requirements
- Automatic low-voltage disconnection
- Lighting control, depending on the time of day
- Multilevel charging capabilities
- A user-friendly and informative display showcasing key information like voltage level, charging status, and much more
Common Applications of Solar Controllers
Since a solar controller is used with solar power systems, it has the same applications as solar energy. Moreover, as the adoption of solar is rising significantly, its uses have also diversified. Some common examples include:
- Home solar PV systems, including on-grid and off-grid
- Hybrid solar systems for backup supply
- Water heating equipment
- Streetlights, where the solar controller is used to store Direct Current (DC)
- Distillation and pumping
- Solar heating
While solar controllers are usually manufactured and sold as individual devices, some also come built-in with solar inverters. However, it largely depends on your requirements and the type of solar power system.
Types of Solar Controllers
In the Indian market, a solar controller is available in two technologies, including Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) and Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT). So, before you invest in a solar controller, it is crucial to understand its types. Let’s take a look:
- Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) Solar Controller: A PWM solar controller operates through a direct connection between the solar modules and the battery bank. It has a standard efficiency of up to 65% and has been in the market for decades. Additionally, PWM solar controllers are not high-capacity and are best suited for small-sized PV panels and systems. However, they are relatively cheaper compared to their counterparts.
- Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) Solar Controller: An MPPT solar controller is based on recent technology and is fairly new in the market. However, it has high efficiency of up to 95% and is ideal for large-scale PV panels and systems. But one minor drawback is that MPPT solar controllers are comparatively expensive, which makes PWM solar controllers a preferred choice for customers.
All in all, the choice between the two depends on several factors, such as your budget, power needs, and the size of the panels/power plant.
However, it is essential to buy solar controllers from reliable brands like Luminous as they are nothing short of an investment. Luminous offers a range of high-performance and efficient solar controllers with stand-out features that are also budget-friendly. So, don’t forget to visit Luminous’ website and explore their collection of solar controllers now!