A solar charge controller is a small but significant component of the entire solar power system. It plays a vital role in the adequate functioning of the system. Essentially, a charge controller takes all the energy gathered by the solar panels and sends it to a battery bank, where all of the energy is stored. The controller also makes sure that the battery receives optimal energy from the panels, without getting over or undercharged.
Choosing the right type of solar charge controller for your hybrid or off-grid solar system is extremely important. Besides looking for the right solar charge controller price, identifying the most suitable configuration is also crucial to ensure optimum output and facilitate smooth functioning of the system. Read on to know how you can do that.
Understanding the Types of Charge Controller
There are two different types of charge controllers: MPPT and PWM.
PWM stands for Pulse Width Modulations. This is a much more standard form of charge controller that is widely available in the market. PVM solar charge controller price is much less in comparison to the other one.
MPPT stands for Maximum Power Point Tracking controller. These ones are quite advanced as they come with a huge array of innovative features. Most of these features and functionalities are aimed at protecting and increasing the life of your batteries. An MPPT controller offers efficiencies of up to 30% over PWM solar charge controllers. Besides, they can easily adapt to higher voltages of the system and reduce the amount of cable, as well as the amount of panels, needed due to greater efficiencies.
Things to Look For in a Charge Controller
It is vital to select the right controller, both in terms of features and size. For remote systems, performance and reliability are the two greatest considerations. Many times, a solar charge controller priced very low does not offer reliability and does not fulfill the necessary charging requirements. Poor performance may end up costing you several times more than the original cost of the controller. This is because you may have to often go for replacement of the battery bank, endure loss of operating time, etc.
Moving on, solar charge controllers nowadays must be adequately designed to take a beating as they have to handle a lot of heat. Many small charge controllers are fan-less. Consequently, they enjoy the following benefits:
1. Better Reliability: Fans are the only component in a charge controller that has moving parts. So, if you eliminate the fan, there are fewer chances of having a failure.
2. Better Durability: Fans pull in dust and dirt particles which can clog the insides of the controller and reduce its lifespan.
3. Increased Efficiency: Fans need electricity to run, and this electricity is obtained from the solar panels. Thus, fans put an additional burden on the panels by consuming electricity that can be diverted and used elsewhere.
Also Read: Top Reasons to Use Solar Battery Storage
These are some of the common things that must be considered while choosing a solar charge controller. The solar charge controller price also depends on these factors. Thus, you must carefully evaluate your options to make the best choice.