SolarDesignTools provides free interactive online design tools for Electric Solar Power energy systems. This includes determining the required number of solar panels, how many batteries will be needed, calculating wire sizes, a solar radiation chart, example system pictorials, and more.
Try this example of an interactive electric Solar Power Simulator to see how Solar Energy systems work.

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Charge Controllers

Charge Controllers
Charge Controllers maintain the correct charge voltage delivered to the batteries to maximize available power and prevent dangerous over charging. Because the sunlight will vary due to weather, the time of day, and other factors, the output of the solar panels will vary also. It is the important job of the charge controller to insure that the batteries are being charged correctly and efficiently.
Two popular charge controller types are known as PWM and MPPT. A Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) type of charger varies the timing of the charging pulses to maintain the appropriate voltage on the batteries depending on the charge state. In other words, if the batteries are low, the pulse duration is longer thereby delivering more charging voltage to the batteries. If the batteries are closer to full, then the charging pulse duration is much shorter.
A Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) type of charge controller uses a more complicated technique to maintain correct charging voltage across a range of conditions and is a newer design than the Pulse Width Modulation technique. A Maximum Power Point Tracking charge controller attempts to deliver maximum charge to the batteries regardless of their voltage. This make your solar panels operate move efficiently. Either one of these two types of charge controllers would be a good choice and provide reliable battery charging.
Most solar energy power system charge controllers use a 3 stage charging technique. Initially, the batteries are allowed to charge at maximum current until they reach the full charge voltage setting. This is known as the Bulk charging stage. Stage 2 holds the charging voltage at this maximum level until the current drops to a certain level or a given time has expired. This is the Absorption stage. Stage 3, known as the Float stage, reduces the charging voltage to the float setting and the batteries basically just trickle charge continuously.

Home / Overview Starting Guide System Sizing Tool Battery Designer Wire Size Calculator Tips & Strategies Terms & Definitions
Solar Panels Charge Controllers Storage Batteries Inverters/Generators Meters & Monitoring Solar Radiation Wiring Diagrams

DISCLAIMER : The information and suggestions on this website are generally proven and accepted standards and techniques. They are, however, not meant to supersede local zoning laws or the recommendations of a licensed electrician. Always read the instructions provided with your equipment and observe all safety precautions.