Are you a homeowner who just installed a solar panel system and is wondering about the dos and don'ts, especially when connecting your solar panel to a battery?
We have some experience dealing with this dilemma and would like to share our answer to the question: "Can I connect a solar panel directly to a battery?" based on research and experience.
Let's get started!
Connecting a big or small solar panel to a battery directly is a situation that only applies to extra-low voltage solar panels (those with a battery maintainer) connected to an electric battery or car battery.
It will not work for long when connected to lead acid or lithium batteries.
However, if you decide to connect solar panels directly to a car battery, you will need to be aware of the following risks:
The mentioned circumstances can happen because rechargeable batteries store energy beyond their capacity.
To regulate the flow of solar power that solar PV panel produces, you need to mediate the panel and the battery using a solar charge regulator, which will be explained more in the following sections.
FACT: PV stands for the photovoltaic system.
Like any other electrical connection, connecting a solar panel directly to a battery has its pros and cons. To help you weigh things out, we listed all of them in this section.
When you connect a solar PV panel directly to a battery, you can experience some of the perks of a complete solar power system. The pros are listed below; read through!
As with every solar system, an efficient solar battery charging stores excess electricity with or without a solar regulator.
With this, even during nighttime, when there is no direct sunlight or during unscheduled power outages due to unlikely weather, you can still have as much energy as you need to generate power throughout your appliances.
Since you are using renewable energy, you will be helping the environment by reducing your carbon footprint.
Experts from the United Nations have pointed out that using solar energy will not produce any noticeable emissions that can be considered harmful to the environment.
Here are the disadvantages that come when a solar PV panel is directly connected to a solar battery:
It is apparent that once you connect a solar panel that is not low-voltage directly to a solar battery, it can damage the latter through overcharging, which also creates overheating.
The main products of the direct connection of solar panels to the batteries are the following:
Given that the flow of electricity from your solar PV panel to your battery is too much, the disproportion can also manifest in the appliances, gadgets, and electric vehicles you connect with the battery.
It can stress the loads, which can result in the following:
An electrical accident is the worst that can happen when overcharging a solar battery by directly connecting a solar PV panel system to it.
Some of the electrical accidents you can experience are:
A solar charge controller acts as a voltage regulator that moderates the voltage and current from the solar PV panel to the battery.
With this function, a solar charge controller helps keep the solar battery voltage on maximum power while preventing it from overcharging and overheating.
It also has other essential roles in the solar panel system, such as:
Solar chargers also have two different algorithms that make them functional, which are:
The MPPT solar charge controller allows a slight difference in the battery and panel's voltage, while a PWM solar charger requires a constant voltage.
Some solar PV panel owners still wonder why they need an MPPT charge controller despite knowing what it does.
Here are the reasons why you must have a charge controller connected between your solar panels and batteries:
Now that you know that a charge controller is needed to connect a solar panel to the battery, here is a full guide for embedding it into the solar power system.
First, you need all the tools and materials essential to connect solar panels directly to a charge controller and the solar battery.
It is crucial that you have these things ready and arranged properly near your work setting as it involves the following perks:
Here is a list of what you will need:
After securing the necessary pieces of equipment, you can now follow this straightforward step-by-step guide when connecting your panel to your battery:
The first thing you need to do is wear your personal protective equipment (PPE). You must not skip this step as it secures you from potential hazards that come with the job.
As we have mentioned, the essential wearable pieces of equipment are gloves, rubber-soled shoes, and safety glasses. Here are their functions:
Once your PPE is secured, you can proceed with the next step.
The next step involves connecting the lithium or lead battery directly to the charge controller. This step is easy to perform, as all you have to do are the following:
You can also check the manual of your lead-acid battery (or other battery types) for more specific instructions unique to the brand and type of lead-acid batteries you're using.
After connecting the lead-acid battery (or lithium) to the battery charge controller, you must connect the solar panels directly to the charge controller.
It is easy to make this connection if you follow these specific steps:
Again, you can countercheck this step with the manual that comes with your lead acid batteries (or other types) to tailor-fit the process to your particular panel.
Once you finish steps one through three, you must take the final critical step, which involves checking and finalising.
This step entails ensuring that every connection is up and running. You will need to:
In our experience, faster installation and efficient use of charge controllers are achievable with the steps above and the tips and warnings listed below. Read on!
Safety considerations must always be observed and acted on in every installation process that includes electrical wiring.
To provide you with enough knowledge, here are the safety precautions you must take when you connect a solar panel to a solar battery.
Always remember that the solar panel voltage is preferably two voltages higher than the lead acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries, or other recharging batteries.
With this, you can ensure the battery charging is within normal limits. It also results in the prevention of overheating and overcharging of lithium batteries or deep cycle batteries (i.e., lead batteries).
Also, make sure to learn the wattage of your solar panels because it explains how well your panel generates solar power.
Similar to what we mentioned with the voltage, having a larger watt solar panel compared to the wattage of your solar battery may waste or give off too much energy.
Moreover, when the watt (solar panel) is lower than that of the battery, then it may result in a more extended time when charging batteries.
Either way, the solar panel will be inefficient for providing electricity to your solar-powered home.
Aside from the voltage and wattage of solar panels, it would help if you also considered the solar panels' amperage.
For the same reason, a solar panel amperage that suits the solar battery and your electric consumption needs can work better and is more energy-efficient.
Here are other important safety considerations you must be wary of when connecting a solar PV panel with solar charge controllers and batteries.
Observing the correct polarity when connecting solar panels directly to the charge controller and the batteries is essential.
The positive (female) connector must be connected to its positive solar panel counterpart, and the same goes for the negative (male) connector.
If you do it incorrectly or through reverse polarity, it can cause you to experience the following disadvantages:
To ensure the correct polarity between the solar panel, solar controller, and battery, you can observe what the volt meter shows. If it is a negative number, it means it possesses an incorrect polarity.
Observe the following practices in your work environment:
You can also bank on the following safety considerations for a smooth-sailing solar panel, controller, and battery installation:
You may have questions in mind that you want answered. We have addressed some of your solar panel and battery-related FAQs in this section.
The solar panel produces electricity that can fill a solar battery in five to eight hours, depending on whether the battery charging is fully drained.
Yes, you can use a solar panel without having an inverter for your solar system.
Yet, it will depend on what type of current your appliances need. Inverters are unnecessary if your appliances mainly use direct current (i.e., DC electricity or DC power).
There are four types of batteries that you can use for storage of your excess solar energy, and these are:
Of these four, solar PV installers and owners usually use and prefer lead and lithium batteries, as they are efficient and cheap in terms of solar battery price.
A solar system connecting solar panels directly to the battery is possible, especially when connecting it with a car battery or RV.
However, this connection with car batteries or RV batteries can lead to adverse effects, such as damaged solar PV batteries, appliances and electrical accidents due to overheating and overcharging.With this, connecting a solar charger controller between the panel and the battery is much safer and allows you to regulate energy flow and the blocking diode. This can be accomplished by following the steps above.