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Old 01-01-2009, 19:47   #1
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How to wire solar panels?

My solar panels have arrived in St John, USVI! Now, what are the pluses and minuses of parallel or series wiring them? Thanks

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Old 01-01-2009, 20:08   #2
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Are they 12 volt panels? Assuming they are, and you have 12 volt batteries, you should wire them in parralel unless you have a charge controller capable of stepping down from 24+ volts to 12

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Old 01-01-2009, 23:49   #3
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If you have shading issues it is probably better to wire them in parallel. In a series-connected systen if one panel is shaded not only will it deliver less than full power, it will also block the output of the unshaded one. In a parallel system only the shaded panel will be affected.

Bypass diodes (these are different than blocking diodes) will to some extent fix the "shaded panel in a series string" problem.
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Old 02-01-2009, 06:05   #4
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You'll want them to have a regulator to provide the proper charge to the batts. If you have a 12v electrical system, you'll probably want to wire them in parallel and get a regulator. Batts can discharge to a solar panel at night when it acts like a small load. To prevent that you need to install a shotkey diode though most regulators contain one.
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Old 02-01-2009, 07:55   #5
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How to wire solar panels ?

Ahoy mate :
Your question is a bit too basic to get the answers you probably expect.
I suggest you look at the manufacturers installation/application notes for ideas on how you might proceed for your installation.
Series or parallel connection of the solar panels affords you either increasing the voltage (series) output or the current (parallel) output, depends on what you want/need. Series connections are used to get higher voltages to work with a charging circuit (regulator etc) that controls the charge (current & voltage) rate for your battery system state needs. Series connection is used to get higher charging current capability. You will need extra voltage to make up for the voltage drop across the regulator/charger circuit that will occur if used. You also need blocking diodes (high current, low voltage drop) to avoid battery discharge (current reversal flow) through the panels when there is not enough sun to balance the back EMF of the batteries. Here are some links to other areas that may help :

Solar charger for lead-acid batteries
A solar battery charger

Installing a Solar Panel to Maintain Batteries
by Don Casey

Installing a solar panel system with PWM charge controller on your boat
and keep your deep cycle batteries charged at all times.
by Adrian Biffen
Website-Main - Solar panel with PWM charge controller for sailboat

Remember, is your search friend, seek and ye shall find.
Hope this helps.

-- Best of luck & Have a g'day mate ;-)
- Chesapeake
- Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional
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