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Old 05-06-2012, 14:14   #1
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Solar - series parallel

I am eventually about to fit my solar panels, albeit a bit late, I originally was going to fit 5x80w panels above the bimini, boom issues have made me revise my plans to an arch - the backstays in the way mean i can only fit four of the panels.

Since 5 made series impossible but with four i can do two in series with 2 lots parallel if that makes any sense, save a bit of voltage drop in the line, can anyone see any problems in doing this? or would I be better sticking to the 4 in parallel?
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Old 05-06-2012, 18:38   #2
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Hello,

Depending on the amp and voltage of the panels, connecting in parallel is good if you would have shadow issues. If a shadow would be on one panel it would not effect another panel as when in series with another panel.

Series will increase the voltage of the set up, while parallel will increase the amps. I have always connected in parallel due to my need for charging amps.

Alan
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Old 05-06-2012, 19:29   #3
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Re: Solar - series parallel

RTFM for your controller/regulator.

Also, you can make yourself downright MAD is you do a search on series/parallel. Lotsa reading.
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Old 05-06-2012, 19:37   #4
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Re: Solar - series parallel

I lean toward parallel also. Too many things that can shade a panel, which effects series panels more. You'll loose one set in series with one panel shaded, but only one panel in parallel. Only takes a small amount of shading (rear stay for example) to cut a panels capacity to 1/3 or less.

Different orientations (like I have) work better with parallel too.
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Old 05-06-2012, 19:44   #5
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Re: Solar - series parallel

Wiring in Series or Parallel or both with have little effect on your output, so just do whatever suites your installation and controller requirements.

Usually when the panels are close together it is easier wire them in Series.

If the panels were in two different locations, I would recommend Parallel wiring.
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Old 05-06-2012, 20:11   #6
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Re: Solar - series parallel

If they will all be in sun - no shade then series with an MPPT. If there is any shade possibility then series with bypassing diodes. Look up Handy Bob's blog. Very long and tedious read but it will help you avoid rookie errors.
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Old 06-06-2012, 00:19   #7
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Re: Solar - series parallel

I have a mppt controller capable of input up to 60v, the panels have 3 bypass diodes integral to them, i had heard there were gains to be made with series runs, don't know if it is just voltage drop or something else, what i was thinking was running the two port in series , the two starboard in series then linking both lots in parallel at the controller.

The controller has a data logging ability, maybe worth trying one set up for a couple of weeks then trying the other way, then check the data logger average?
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Old 06-06-2012, 06:17   #8
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Re: Solar - series parallel

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevensuf View Post
maybe worth trying one set up for a couple of weeks then trying the other way, then check the data logger average?
Sounds like the smart way to do it. I would also keep track of how much sun you have during your test periods, so that your results aren't skewed. It would be nice if you could set up a small, completely independent panel, somewhere that it cannot possibly be shaded, as a "control" for your other panels.
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Old 06-06-2012, 06:50   #9
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Re: Solar - series parallel

We have seen post after post where cruisers log every last detail of weather and sun with parallel and serial wiring, but in the end, could never come to decision on which method worked better.

Only a lab test of your installation in controlled conditions would give you the answer your looking for.

Hook it up the way that works for you and your installation and then go out sailing, enjoy your new free power.

In the end which ever way you wired it will work fine.
Ohms Law has been hard to beat, but everyone keeps on trying
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:07   #10
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Re: Solar - series parallel

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevensuf View Post

I originally was going to fit 5x80w panels above the bimini, boom issues have made me revise my plans to an arch -
Thread drift alert.

My arch covers a multitude of sins. My life would not go on without it. It's quite near the top of my list of things to be thankful for. Right under Novocaine.
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