We have decided to acquire our solar panels and we value carrying out a photovoltaic installation on our own or with the help of a professional. It is then when some doubts arise such as; How are they connected to each other? Is it better to connect solar panels in series or parallel?
Pv panels in series or parallel
The need to connect our solar panels in series arises because we want to obtain higher voltages than those currently offered by the panels. Thus, for example, to obtain 48v we will need to connect several panels in series because there are no solar panels that offer that voltage. Or because the inverter’s working point asks us for a minimum working voltage or voltage
Depending on our objective, the solar panels can be connected in series if we seek to increase the system voltage, or in parallel once the working voltage has been reached if what we want is to increase the amperage to have more power.
The way of making the connection can affect the design of the photovoltaic installation. We explain in detail in this post the best way to connect your solar panels and thus obtain adequate performance.
In the following image we can see an example of parallel connection for one of our solar kits:
Connect solar panels in series
In this case, the connection between panels is much simpler. We will only have to connect the positive terminal of the first panel with the negative of the next panel. With the connection of solar panels in series, the working voltage (Volts) is multiplied, keeping the current intact, just the opposite of the parallel connection . In the series connection, we must be very careful not to exceed the maximum voltage for which the charge regulator or the inverter, whether network or isolated, to which we connect these solar panels is designed.
This method is typically used for large/power solar panels. The most common is that they are arranged in series of 2 or 3 panels because they have to be connected to an MPPT-type regulator , in the case of isolated system inverters, network connection inverters usually require more panels in series, such as general norm more than 10 of 72 cells.
Important: To correctly connect the panels to the regulator or to the inverter, we will look at the technical data sheet of the panel, and we will observe the Voc value (Open Circuit Voltage), multiplying this value by the number of panels in series and thus comparing it with the Max PV value. Voc (the maximum open circuit voltage admitted by the regulator/inverter). With the data obtained, we will clear our doubts and we will be able to choose how many panels in series we can connect.
We observe an example of solar panels connected in series :
Connect solar panels in parallel
If we want to add more power to the series, but we cannot add more panels in series, we will make another group of equal panels and connect them in parallel , we join the positive and negative terminals of the series in a single connector.
This type of installation is done by joining all the negative poles of the plate/series and on the other hand joining the positive poles . In this way, the parallel connection of solar panels implies a sum of load intensity (Amps) however we maintain the same working voltage (Volts or Voltage). For this type of connection we can use the Atersa Shop wiring hub. The current distributor will allow a simpler and safer connection. For associations of more than two (2) panels in parallel, it is necessary to use fuses to protect the series.
Panels need to be identical or as similar as possible for best performance. As in the series of modules, we must verify that the max PV value (W) of the regulator or inverter is not exceeded, nor the maximum current that the inverter/regulator can manage.
Here we leave you a list of the best solar panels with the best performance for connections both in series and in parallel:
Connect panels in series and in parallel (mixed)
This type of combination connection is used to increase both the current and the voltage of the system. The most important thing will be not to exceed the maximum voltage allowed by the charge control or the maximum power.
It is normally used in installations where 4 or more solar panels of 60 or 72 cells are connected. In this case we seek to multiply the total voltage and amperage of the installation. For this type of installation, MPPT charger inverters are used.
Important : All series in parallel must be the same in number of panels.
So… is it better to connect solar panels in series or in parallel?
Depending on the size of the photovoltaic installation, the working voltage of the batteries (in the case of isolated self -consumption ), the output voltage to the inverter (in the case of large installations), and the specifications of the solar panels, They will use one or the other, or a combination of both.
It is very important to make the right decision to obtain the right performance for your type of installation and obtain the desired voltage.
However, as long as the system allows it to work in series, it always reduces losses. If it is technically feasible to connect, for example, two modules in series or two in parallel, you should always opt for two in series.