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Can solar panels be mixed with each other?

Can solar panels be mixed with each other?

Carrying out a photovoltaic solar installation entails a large number of advantages related to savings on monthly bills, as well as for the benefit of the environment. Those who have tried it know. This leads, on many occasions, to wanting to expand the installation with new photovoltaic solar panels.

Can solar panels be mixed with each other?

Now, is it possible to join solar panels that you bought years ago with new panels? Can solar panels of different watts be connected? In this article we answer these and other questions related to putting together different solar panels. Keep reading this article for more information.

Characteristics of the different solar panels

Solar panels are manufactured with a wide range of powers, sizes and characteristics that vary from one to another and that improve as the years go by. Before answering the question of whether solar panels of different watts can be connected, it is essential to take into account the characteristics of solar panels:

  • Voltages : Solar panels are available in several different voltages. These are 12V, 24V and 48V – the latter are also known as grid connection solar panels.
  • Powers : Likewise, the power in watts of solar panels varies from one to another, such as 300W, 320W, 340W and even 500W solar panels.
  • The material : Another characteristic that distinguishes solar panels from each other is the material with which they have been manufactured, which can be made of polycrystalline silicon or monocrystalline silicon. The number of cells that a solar panel can have, on the other hand, can be 36, 60 —the most common— or 72.
  • Solar panel connections : Solar panels can be connected in several ways: in series, in parallel or a combination of the latter two. 

Can solar panels of different watts be connected?

The answer is yes , but for this it is essential that we take into account some conditions. If they are not met, we will not be able to associate two groups of solar panels in the same circuit —although we can include them in the same installation—:

  1. Avoid parallel combinations : Combinations of panels in parallel, or series of panels in parallel, cannot be made if they have different voltages. Each branch in parallel must have a similar voltage with the same number and type (material) of cells.
  2. Panels in series : The panels used to form a series or  string  must be identical to each other.

What happens if tensions come together? Combinations of different solar panels

If we want to include panels of different voltages or tensions in our solar installation, then we must take into account each possible combination to avoid damage to the materials —or installation—.

Combination of 12V solar panels with 24V or 48V panels

To solve the problem, the only thing we will need is an MPPT charge controller with which to obtain the maximum power from the solar panels. The device  will regulate the output voltage to 12V  connected directly to batteries.

Combination of 24V solar panels with 12V or 48V panels

In the event that the installation we had was 24V and we have acquired 12V or 48V solar panels, what we have to do is use an MPPT charge controller. In this case, the device  will regulate the output voltage to 24V  directly when connected to the batteries.

Replace a 12V installation with one with a higher voltage of 24V

In the case that we want to completely change a 12V installation for a 24V one, but keeping the 12V solar panels, what we need is an MTTP charge regulator. This will regulate the output to 24V  and will allow you to continue using the old solar panels.

Replace a 12V installation with a superior 48V installation

In this case, it will also be necessary to have an MTTP charge regulator if we want to keep the old solar panels. What we will achieve with it is that it gives a  48V charging voltage  to the batteries, providing maximum performance.

Replace a 24V installation with a higher 48V installation

The same thing happens as in the previous case, the MTTP charge regulator will give an  output voltage of 48V  directly to the batteries.

Combination of panels with the same voltage and higher powers

In the event that we want to combine solar panels with the same voltage, but with powers —or watts— higher than what we have, we find two possible cases. These are:

  • Combination of solar panels with higher power in 12V installation : To answer what happens if the voltages come together, in this case, we must take into account that the old 12V installation has a lower power than the one we bought. In this case it will not be necessary to carry out a modification of the existing installation to combine the different solar panels. It will be enough to acquire a charge regulator according to the new panels that we have acquired.
  • Combination of solar panels with higher power in 24V installation : In this case, as in the previous one, it will not be necessary to carry out a modification of the installation. To answer whether solar panels of different watts can be connected, all we have to do is implement a charge regulator taking into account the intensity of the current and the necessary power of the panels we have purchased.

Contact professionals

Sometimes combining different solar panels with each other can be complex and it is not easy to answer what happens if the voltages or watts are combined, since, as we have seen, a large number of parameters and measurements must be taken into account. In addition, to establish the configurations of the regulating devices. At  SolarPlak  we have professionals who can  advise you on which kit is most suitable for your installation  and who will support you throughout the process. All the photovoltaic solar kits that we offer are delivered with assembly instructions so that you can do it yourself, although  you can count on our help if you prefer .