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Connecting Solar Panels Together


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How to Connect Solar Panels Together

solar powerConnecting solar panels together is a simple and effective way of increasing your solar power capabilities. Going green is a great idea, and as the sun is our ultimate power source, it makes sense to utilize this energy to power our homes. As solar power becomes more accessible, more and more homeowners are buying photovoltaic solar panels.

However, these photovoltaic solar panels can be very costly so buying them over time helps to spread the cost. But the problem then becomes how do we connect these extra solar panels together to increase the voltage and power output of what’s already there.

The trick here when connecting solar panels together is to choose a connection method that is going to give you the most energy efficient configuration for your particular requirements. Connecting solar panels together can seem like a daunting task when you first start to look at how it should be done, but connecting multiple solar panels together is not that hard with a little thought. Wiring solar panels together in either parallel or series combinations to make larger arrays is an often overlooked, yet completely essential part of any well designed solar power system.

There are three basic but very different ways of connecting solar panels together and each connection method is designed for a specific purpose. For example, to produce more output voltage or to produce more current. Solar panels can be wired in a series or parallel combination to increase the voltage or amperage respectively, or they can be wired together in both series and parallel to increase both the voltage and current output producing a higher wattage array.

Whether you are connecting two solar panels more more, as long as you understand the basic principles of how connecting multiple solar panels together increases power and how each of these wiring methods works, you can easily decide on how to wire your own panels together. After all connecting solar panels together correctly can greatly improve the efficiency of your solar system.

Connecting Solar Panels in Series

The first method we will look at for connecting solar panels together is what’s known as “Series Wiring“. Connecting solar panels together in series is used to increase the total system voltage. Solar panels in series are generally used when you have a grid connected inverter or charge controller that requires 24 volts or more. To series wire the panels together you connect the positive terminal to the negative terminal of each panel until you are left with a single positive and negative connection.

Solar panels in series add up or sum the voltages produced by each individual panel, giving the total output voltage of the array as shown.

Solar Panels in Series of Same Characteristics

connecting solar panels together in series
 

In this method ALL the solar panels are of the same type and power rating. The total voltage output becomes the sum of the voltage output of each panel. Using the same three 6 volt, 3.0 amp panels as above, we can see that when they are connected together in series, the array produces 18 volts (6 + 6 + 6) at 3.0 amps, or 54 watts (volts x amps).

Now lets look at connecting solar panels in series with different nominal voltages but with identical current ratings.

Solar Panels in Series of Different Voltages

solar panels in series with different voltages
 

In this method all the solar panels are of different types and power rating but have a common current rating. When they are connected together in series, the array produces 21 volts at 3.0 amps, or 63 watts. Again the amperage remains the same at 3.0 amps but the voltage output jumps to 21 volts (5 + 7 + 9) .

Finally, lets look at connecting solar panels in series with completely different nominal voltages and different current ratings.

Solar Panels in Series of Different Currents

solar panels in series with different currents
 

In this method all the solar panels are of different types and power rating. The individual panel voltages will add together as before, but this time the amperage will be limited to the value of the lowest panel in the series string, in this case 1 amp. Then the array will produce 19 volts (3 + 7 + 9) at 1.0 amp only, or only 19 watts out of a possible 69 watts available reducing the arrays efficiency.

We can see that the solar panel rated at 9 volts, 5 amps, will only use one fifth or 20% of its maximum current potential reducing its efficiency and wasting money on the purchase of this solar panel. Connecting solar panels in series with different current ratings should only be used provisionally, as the solar panel with the lowest rated current determines the current output of the whole array.

Connecting Solar Panels in Parallel

The next method we will look at of connecting solar panels together is what’s known as “Parallel Wiring“. Connecting solar panels together in parallel is used to boost the total system current and is the reverse of the series connection. By parallel wiring panels you connect all the positive terminals together (positive to positive) and all of the negative terminals together (negative to negative) until you are left with a single positive and negative connection to attach to your regulator and batteries.

When you connect solar panels together in parallel, the total voltage output remains the same as it would for a single panel, but the output current becomes the sum of the output of each panel as shown.

Solar Panels in Parallel of Same Characteristics

connecting solar panels together in parallel
 

In this method ALL the solar panels are of the same type and power rating. Using the same three 6 volt, 3.0 amp panels as above, the total output of the panels, when connected together in parallel, the voltage output would remain the same at 6 volts, but the amperage would increase to 9.0 amps (3 + 3 + 3), or 54 watts.

But what if our newly acquired solar panels are non-identical, how will this affect the other panels. We have seen that the currents add together, so no real problem there, just as long as the panel voltages are the same and the output voltage remains constant. Lets look at connecting solar panels in parallel with different nominal voltages and different current ratings.

Solar Panels in Parallel with Different Voltages and Currents

connecting solar panels together
 

Here the parallel currents add up as before but the voltage adjusts to the lowest value, in this case 3 volts. Solar panels must have the same output voltage to be useful in parallel. If one panel has a higher voltage it will supply the load current to the degree that its output voltage drops to that of the lower voltage panel.

We can see that the solar panel rated at 9 volts, 5 amps, will only operate at a maximum voltage of 3 volts as its operation is being influenced by the smaller panel, reducing its efficiency and wasting money on the purchase of this higher power solar panel. Connecting solar panels in parallel with different voltage ratings is not recommended as the solar panel with the lowest rated voltage determines the voltage output of the whole array.

Then when connecting solar panels together in parallel it is important that they ALL have the same nominal voltage value, but it is not necessary that they have the same ampere value.

Connecting solar panels together to form bigger arrays is not all that complicated. How many series or parallel strings of panels you make up per array depends on what amount of voltage and current you are aiming for. If you are designing a 12 volt battery charging system than parallel wiring is perfect. If you are looking at a higher voltage grid connected system, than you’re probably going to want to go with a series or series-parallel combination depending on the number of solar panels you have.

But for a simple reference in regards to how to connect solar panels together in either parallel or series wiring configurations, just remember that parallel wiring = more amperes, and series wiring = more voltage, and with the right type and combination of solar panels you can power just about any electrical device you may have in your home.

For more information about Connecting Solar Panels Together in either series or parallel combinations, or to obtain more information about the different types of solar panels available, or to explore the advantages and disadvantages of using solar power in your home, then Click Here to order your copy from Amazon today and learn more about designing, wiring and installing off-grid photovoltaic solar electric systems in your home.

Some high quality solar panels you may be interested in which can be connected together and used in solar arrays.


345 Comments » for Connecting Solar Panels Together
  1. Emmanuel Emmanuel says:

    i bought 8 solar panesl of
    pmax=60 watt
    voc=91.8v
    isc=1.19A
    vpm=67v
    ipm=0.9A
    inverter of=3000watt
    3 battey of=12V200Ah

    how should i connect my panels so that i can power small home appliance such as tv, laptop etc

  2. Peet Peet says:

    Hi
    I have a 5kw inverter, 3,5kw lithium battery, and 6 x 330w solar panels, each panels Voc of 46,4 Volts, the maximum Vdc of the inverter is 145, how do I connect the panels?
    Regerds

  3. Shrinivasa Shrinivasa says:

    Hi
    I have following items can you please explain how to give a connection
    Solar panels
    150v*3 nos
    85v*6nos
    150ah battery
    1kva inverter

  4. Sourav Sourav says:

    I have 40W and 50W solar panel and 2 X 12V battery. Which connections are better in this case?

  5. Brian Brian says:

    Hi there…i have 4 X 100 Watt Solar Panels and an Epever 30 amp charge controller do you think that’s ok as the Epever says 390 Watt Max input on 12 volts…could I use this setup do you think?…the battery would be 12 volt 130ah…many thanks if you can answer this…Brian

    • Your four solar panels in parallel will work with your controller. The panels will only produce 100 watts at full sun and low temperature conditions otherwise it will be a lot less.

  6. DonChichi DonChichi says:

    Hello, i have a 3kva inverter with system voltage of 24v, Rated current 50A, Maximum Solar Voltage 70VDC, Maximum Charge current 80A. On the roof i have 3 x 335 watts (VoC 47.2 and lsc 9.18A) and 2 x 250 watts Poly (VoC 36v and lsc 9.33A). What is the best way of connecting the panels without blowing up my inverter.

    • Please ask this question to your installer, you purchased the components and he configured the system for a reason, so asking now if its correctly connected is very odd

  7. Taiwo Taiwo says:

    I have 12no of 12v solar panels each of 150w for a 48v inverter system. Which array of solar combination is better 6s2p or 4s3p? Thanks for your response.

  8. Olusegun Olusegun says:

    if you have no done the installation yet please let me know I can help in that area

  9. PETER WIENAND PETER WIENAND says:

    TO GAIN MAXIMUM EFFICIENCY HOW WOULD I CONNECT 8 SOLAR PANELS OF SAME TYPE AND RATING ( 330 WATTS EACH) TO A 5KVa INVERTER WITH ONE 48 VOLT LITHIUM BATTERY?

    • Connecting photovoltaic panels together in various combinations of voltages and currents, will not give you a better or worse efficiency. Climatic variables such as the weather, changing sun angles, length of solar day, air quality, air temperature, and of course the amount of daily sun available (W/m2) to generate power falling on your solar array from day to day or from season to season. From an electrical point of view, connecting pv panels together to produce higher voltages and lower currents is preferred, as cabling becomes cheaper.

    • PETER WIENAND PETER WIENAND says:

      Hello Olusegun
      Thanks for your interest and I would appreciate any advice I can get. Yes the installation is complete and works fine on sunny days. It’s only when we have the the odd cloudy day that performance suffers quite badly and we have to manage the system very carefully in order to get through the night. We have no mains power whatsoever as our transformer was stolen and the power utility here has no capacity to replace it. So we are entirely off the grid and totally reliant on solar. That’s why I’m looking for any advice possible to improve efficiency. Note I am not a qualified solar technician or electrician and rely on my installer.

      Regards
      Peter Wienand
      24 April 20

  10. Michael Michael says:

    Ok. Thanks for the detailed info. Can you please tell me if I am on the right track? I have 2 panels. Both 12v. One is 110 watts and one is 160 watts. If I join them in parallel, will I gain power but only at 110 watts? Any extra amps will be welcome even if the wattage is not boosted evenly. It’s coming into winter here in New Zealand so any help charging batteries would be good. Cheers.

    • If you connect pv panels together in parallel of the SAME voltage rating, in your case 12 volts, then the output voltage will be the same, 12V, and the currents generated from the two panels will add together giving 22 amperes (9A+13A). Then at Full Sun your two parallel connected panels would produce an output equivalent of 110W + 160W = 270 watts at 12 volts.

  11. Richa Richa says:

    I have also installed the 3kW Solar Panel Systemon my home’s top roof before 4 yrs, Now I want to know that can I connect the solar panel. I have already asked in my current company but I want know from outside also.

  12. joe joe says:

    any chance someone could help me with a 5s2p wiring diagram? Having a hard time figuring this out.

  13. Mustapha Dahiru Mustapha Dahiru says:

    Iam having a 24 volt hybrid inverter inbuilt charger with 48volts maximum solar panal connected with five 24 volts 150 watts solar panel, how do I go about instillation, guide me up tnx

  14. Barry du plessis Barry du plessis says:

    Please help how to connect 12 panels to inverter with only one charge controller?

  15. Brianna Brianna says:

    Hello, I am a single mom living in an RV. Ive been using generators and rechargable devices to consume power for too long. I have some solar panels I’ve been holding on too (researching best off grid setup) along with 3 vp controllers (and one pending i ordered) and a 2000 watt inverter. I also have 2 6v 251amh I plan to connect in series to make 12v. Can u please help me figure out how to hook up a 12v system using the different size solar panels I already have for maximum performance. Here are the ratings:
    1.) Qty.1:
    Wp 280w
    Vm 36.6v
    Im 7.72A
    Voc 44.3V
    Isc 8.36A
    2.) Qty: 3
    Pmax 105W
    Vpm 17.3V/34.6V
    Imp 6.1A/3.05A
    Isc 6.3A/3.15A
    Voc 21.6V/43.2V
    Pmin 100.1W
    I will also be purchasing a 365w panel soon
    Vpm 39.7V
    Ipm 9.20A
    Voc 48.2V
    Isc 9.57A
    That’s it. Any advice will be greatly appreciated it.

    • Prince Prince says:

      Hi Brianna I love your comments kindly send your number to me on WhatsApp let me explain to you better
      You can add me on this number +2349031196430

    • Bryce Bryce says:

      Have you got system installed or figured out yet? If not I can help you out I to fulltime rv and live 100% off solar so if you still need help let me know

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