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Solar Panels in Series or Solar Panels in Parallel? It's All Coming Down to The Wire...

Wiring solar panels is one of the most critical parts of setting up a solar power system. Understanding how to wire solar panels in series vs. parallel can help you maximize your savings and get a better return on investment.

So, what is the difference between wiring solar panels in series and parallel? Let's take a closer look:

Wiring Solar Panels in Series:

  • When you connect the positive terminal of one panel to the negative terminal of another panel, you create a series connection.
  • When solar panels are wired in series, the voltage of the panels adds together, but the amperage remains the same.
  • Wiring in series makes it so the voltage of the array increases, which is important because a solar power system needs to operate at a certain voltage in order for the inverter to work properly.
  • To meet the operating voltage window requirements of your inverter, you connect your solar panels in series.
  • Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) charge controllers are used for wiring solar panels in a series.

Wiring Solar Panels in Parallel:

  • When solar panels are wired in parallel, the positive terminal from one panel is connected to the positive terminal of another panel and the negative terminals of the two panels are connected together.
  • Wiring in parallel causes the amperage to increase, but the voltage remains the same.
  • Wiring in parallel allows you to have more solar panels that produce energy without exceeding the operating voltage limits of your inverter.
  • Inverters also have amperage limitations, which you can meet by wiring your solar panels in parallel.
  • Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) charge controllers are used for wiring solar panels in parallel.


How do solar panels wired in series compare to solar panels wired in parallel?

  • A charge controller is a determining factor when it comes to solar panel wiring.
  • Circuits wired in series work the same way as Christmas lights. If there is a problem with the connection of one panel in a series, the entire circuit fails. Meanwhile, one defective panel or loose wire in a parallel circuit will not impact the production of the rest of the solar panels.

To put a bow on it, understanding how to wire solar panels in series vs. parallel is essential in optimizing the performance of your solar power system. While wiring in series increases the voltage, wiring in parallel increases the amperage. By using the appropriate charge controller, you can ensure that your solar panels are wired correctly and maximize your savings. Just remember, if you're feeling overwhelmed, don't be afraid to seek the help of a professional solar panel installer.

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