Solar energy is gaining more and more popularity among individuals and companies that today are beginning to include caring for the environment and using clean and sustainable energy sources among their priorities. One of the most repeated questions is whether solar panels of different power can be mixed.
Can solar panels of different power be mixed?
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There is a wide range of photovoltaic panels on the market that can be installed in a home to take advantage of solar energy and convert it into electrical energy that supplies energy to it. If you already have an installation of solar panels, the question arises as to whether they can be combined with other panels of different power in order to generate a greater amount of energy.
In this article we will talk about solar panels and under what conditions they can be combined when they are of different power.
What to take into account to mix photovoltaic panels of different power
Solar panels come in three different voltages, 12-volt, 24-volt, and 48-volt, and with different wattages (300W, 320W, 340W , for example). In order to combine panels of different powers with these voltages, two fundamental factors must be taken into account:
- Don’t do combinations in parallel . Combinations of panels or series of panels in parallel cannot be made by mixing different voltages. Therefore, a parallel mounting must be done with panels of the same voltage, or all 12V, 24V or 48V.
- Series of identical panels . All panels used to form a series or string must be the same.
If these two conditions are not met, panels with different powers cannot be installed within the same circuit, although they can be included within the global installation.
How to mix solar panels of different power in an installation
When combining solar panels of different power in an installation, there may be different cases that must be addressed differently in order to find the appropriate solution for each of them.
Below we show the most common cases that can occur when buying new panels to expand an installation and take it to a higher level.
Combine higher power solar panels in a 12V installation
In the event that the existing installation is 12V, but the new panels to be installed, also being 12V, have a higher power, it is not necessary to modify the existing installation to combine both types of panels. It will only be necessary to acquire a charge regulator with the appropriate intensity and power in each case.
Combine higher power solar panels in a 24V installation
The same situation occurs as in the previous case with 12V panels. In order to combine both types of panels of different power, it will not be necessary to modify or redesign the installation, it is enough to implement a charge regulator taking into account the current intensity and the power required in each case.
Combine 24V solar panels in a 12V installation
There are different ways to deal with a situation like this where you have to add 24V plates to the 12V installation. The method that allows a lower economic investment is to add a MTTP regulator to the installation (they allow to obtain greater photovoltaic performance and combine different voltages) to regulate the output of the circuit towards the batteries at a voltage of 12V.
This case is solved in the same way if 12 grid connection type solar panels are added to an installation.
Combine 12V solar panels in a 24V installation
The opposite case to the previous one, where the installation was carried out with 48V plates, but new 12V plates have been acquired to add to the system. The solution to be able to combine both types of solar panels is once again to resort to an MTTP regulator , which in this case will regulate the output voltage to batteries at 24V.
An MTTP regulator will also be used if grid connection boards are added to the 24V installation.
Preserve 12V panels when replacing a 12V installation with a 24V one
If the 12V installation is going to be completely changed for a new 24V one, but you want to continue keeping the old 12V panels, it is necessary to install an MTTP charge regulator that will regulate the output to 24V and allow you to continue using the old 12V panels. 12V.
Replace 12V or 24V installation with a higher 48V one
If the installation is 12V or 24V and you want to change to a higher 48V one while keeping the panels, you must install an MPPT charge controller that will give the 48V voltage directly to the batteries, providing maximum performance to the new panels installed. .
It is important to protect each module with a fuse of approximately higher intensity if it is to be connected in parallel, to prevent current peaks from burning the diodes.
It is possible to mix solar panels of different power in an installation and thus be able to take advantage of old or already installed panels. The best solution to be able to combine these different panels is to turn to a company specializing in the installation of photovoltaic panels with experience in the sector, since this will make the change possible without the risk of damaging the panels, batteries or other elements of the system. These companies have qualified personnel to analyze each case and propose the optimal solution.
With the increase in demand for the installation of solar panels, there are many cases of installations where solar panels of different power have to be mixed. Fortunately, it is possible to take advantage of the panels already installed in most cases in order to have a more powerful system and manage to generate a greater amount of current to use in the home.