Wiring Solar Panels in Series vs Parallel: What Are the Differences?

Solar Panels

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, solar power is booming across the USA, accounting for 39% of new energy generation installations in the first six months of 2021.

That’s thanks to the enormous savings available to homeowners who install solar, as well as the ongoing environmental benefits of clean energy.

If you’re considering joining the trend toward installing solar panels, no doubt you’re curious to find out everything about this technology. Keep reading to discover the difference between wiring solar panels in series vs parallel.

Wiring Solar Panels in Series

Series wiring works by connecting the positive terminal of the first PV panel to the negative terminal of its neighbor. Then, the negative terminal of that panel connects to the positive terminal of the next, and so on.

The resulting total current equals the output current of a single panel. The resulting voltage is the same as all the panel voltages.

For example, when you connect three 18-volt, 6-amp panels this way, the output voltage is 18V x 3 = 54V. The output current is still 6 amps.

Series solar panels work best in unshaded situations. Each solar panel is crucial in series solar panel wiring, so if a single panel is in the shade, it decreases the entire system’s output.

You need an MPPT charge controller for a series installation. This appliance regulates the current and voltage from the solar panels to match the battery bank’s voltage.

This helps you harvest the maximum amount of power from your panels.

Wiring Solar Panels in Parallel

Parallel solar panel wiring involves connecting all the positive terminals of the solar panels, and all the negative terminals of the solar panels to each other.

As a result, you’ll end up with a current that equals the sum of all the panels’ amperage. The total voltage equals the output voltage of just one panel.

For instance, when connecting three 18-volt, 6-amp panels this way, the output current is 6A x 3 = 18A. The resulting voltage is 18V.

Parallel wiring allows PV panels to operate independently of one another. That makes this type of wiring best for low-light situations.

If shade covers one or more panels, the others will still generate the expected amount of power.

These solar arrays work best if you need a low-voltage system and want to use a low-cost PWM controller. When your panel output voltage matches your battery charging voltage, you can increase the output charge without regulating the voltage.

Are you still confused? The best solar companies will guide you through all your questions about the best connection for your needs.

You can contact these solar panel installers for more information on the best solution for your home, as well as the incentives and savings available to you.

Wiring Solar Panels in Series vs Parallel: Summary

The benefits you’ll enjoy from wiring solar panels in series vs parallel depend entirely on your circumstances. In mixed light conditions, parallel wiring is best, while direct sunlight installations suit series wiring.

Series installations work better for large applications, while parallel wiring is most affordable for smaller systems.

It’s always best to work with an experienced solar installer to help you maximize your solar savings.

For more answers to the things you sometimes wonder about, keep browsing our website.

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