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Charge controllers-MPPT

The charge controller is a device designed to control the battery charging process. It is an important component of off-grid and hybrid photovoltaic plants, as well as autonomous street lighting systems.

Charge-discharge controllers are installed between solar panels and storage batteries. They prevent excessive overcharging and discharging of batteries, which helps to extend the service life of batteries and preserve their working condition. Buying a charge controller is a necessary and reasonable investment to ensure the efficiency, reliability and safety of SPP operation.

Solar charge controller: characteristics and functionality

A modern charge controller for solar batteries is a kind of intelligent multi-purpose device with an LCD display, a convenient interface and the ability to set control parameters. Leading manufacturers guarantee good performance, high-quality components and high system performance with an efficiency of 98%.

Charge controller provides:

  • dynamic display of data and operating status on the LCD display;
  • simple and clear management;
  • identification of the system voltage level;
  • automatic temperature compensation;
  • intelligent charging mode;
  • battery protection against significant discharge;
  • adjustable charge-discharge control parameters;
  • protection against overload and short-circuit currents;
  • full protection against reverse polarity;
  • shutdown at low battery voltage;
  • MPPT or PWM technology;
  • the function of comprehensive electronic self-testing of malfunctions.

When the battery is already charged, the controller turns off the photovoltaic module. In the event of a deep discharge, it disconnects the load, thus protecting the battery from failure. A traditional battery charge controller provides charging at the level of 60-70%, which leads to a rapid reduction of its service life.

To increase the efficiency of the photovoltaic system and extend the service life of the battery, devices with the following technologies are used:

1. Controller with pulse width modulation technology (PWM) is a method of power control by switching the load on and off. PWM controls the power supplied to the load without the losses that can occur from a linear supply. The main feature of PWM devices is the ability to charge the battery to 100% at the final stage of charging. Due to the PWM charge current, overheating and gas formation in the battery is prevented.
Pros:

  • cheaper than MPPT models;
  • best suited for small systems where efficiency is not so critical;
  • works optimally in warm sunny weather;
  • typically a longer lifespan due to fewer components that can break;
  • works best when the battery is almost fully charged.
    Cons:
  • less efficient than models with MPPT;
  • not suitable for large and powerful systems

 

2. MPPT controller is a way to increase the productivity of solar panels by constantly tracking the combination of voltage and current at which their power will be maximum. The Maximum Power Point Tracker technology can fix a point to collect the maximum energy from the sun and deliver it to the battery. At the same time, the internal processor evaluates the stage of battery charge and determines the current supply based on this. This process is fully automatic and requires no user configuration. Buying a battery charge controller with MPRT technology is the best way to increase electricity production without increasing the number of photovoltaic modules.

Pros:

  • highly efficient;
  • best suited for powerful systems where additional electricity production is valuable;
  • works perfectly in cold and cloudy weather;
  • ideal when the PV module voltage is higher than the battery voltage;
  • works best when the battery is low.
    Cons:
  • more expensive than PWM models;
  • usually have a shorter service life due to a larger number of components.

How to choose solar charge controllers?

Choosing the right charge controller for a solar power plant is a complex task that requires specific knowledge and a comprehensive approach. The equipment must be compatible with the characteristics and meet the customer’s goals.

You should take into account the folowing factors when buying a charge controller:

  • your budget;
  • service life of the technology;
  • the climate where the SPP will be installed: some models work better in a colder environment;
  • your electricity needs;
  • how many solar panels are provided;
  • type and parameters of AB.

When it comes to choosing the characteristics, it is necessary to consider the technology of the device – PWM or MPPT. An incorrectly selected controller can result in a loss of up to 50% of the sun’s energy. Let’s dwell on some features:

PWM controllers cannot limit their output current. For example, if a solar cell produces a current of 40 A, and the PWM is only designed for 30 A, it will fail. It is recommended to choose a PWM device with 25% current reserve. It is also necessary to pay attention to the nominal voltage – they can be used for 12 or 24 V batteries. Finally, the compatibility of the battery type with the controller should be considered.
MPPT controllers limit their output current. The solar panels array can be as large as you like and the controller will limit this output. For example, if your panels can produce 80 A, a 40 A MPPT device will only draw 40 A. This means that your SPP will lose efficiency if you choose the wrong current rating. Their nominal input voltage, unlike PWM, is much higher than nominal input voltage of batteries. This is due to the unique ability of MPPT models to step down to battery voltage and then step up to compensate for the power loss. This is very useful for powerful systems.
As you can see, a solar power plant is a complex energy facility. Its productive, coordinated, reliable and long-lasting work depends on many points,  which requires specific knowledge and experience. Contact the professionals – CGP Solar specialists will help you with all the questions you have.

In addition, CGP Solar offers you:

  • high-quality equipment from leading manufacturers at the best price;
  • safety, reliability and long service life;
  • fast delivery to any point in Cyprus;
  • selection of equipment for completing the power plant considering your needs, network parameters and operating conditions;
  • quality installation and service;
  • informational support at all stages of cooperation.

We offer the best prices and guarantees for equipment from leading manufacturers, quality services and professional advice.

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