A Comprehensive Guide for Choosing the Best Solar Charge Controller

A solar charge controller is a crucial component of a solar system and ensures that your batteries are not subjected to overcharging by keeping a tab on the amount and flow of charge that your battery is getting from the solar array. Moreover, it is also responsible for preventing battery drainage by shutting down the system in case power goes below 50% capacity ensuring an overall longer service life for the battery.

In this article, we are going to take a brief look at this critical component of a home-based solar system and look at few of the finer details of a solar charge controller.

How Does It Work And What Does It Do?

solar charger

Solar charge controllers’ function like a valve that keeps a tab on the amount of power and charge being fed to batteries to ensure that only the required amount of power and charge make it to the battery to help prevent any incidents of overcharging.

Without a charge controller, a solar battery would tend to wear off pretty quickly as there won’t be any safeguards to protect it from the damaging effects of overcharging, overload, voltage disconnects and reverse currents.

  • Overload protection: A solar charge controller gives the battery superior overload protection. In case there is a higher flow of current than what the circuit can handle, the entire system can overload which can lead to fire hazards.
  • Low voltage disconnects: it automatically disconnects all non-critical load from the battery once the voltage has dropped beyond a certain threshold, and then reconnects the battery while it’s being charged, thus preventing an over-discharge of the battery.
  • Block Reverse Currents: A solar panel sends current through the battery in one direction; however, that current can sometimes tend to flow in a reverse direction during night time resulting in battery discharge. Since a charge controller works like a valve, it can actively stop this from happening which results in longer service life and efficiency of the battery.

Types of Solar Charge Controllers

There are two types of solar charge controllers available in the market. Both types of charge controllers help in protecting the battery; however, they greatly vary in their approach. Let’s have a look at both of these charge controllers.

PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) –They work by matching the solar arrays voltage to that of the battery by reducing the amount of voltage flowing into the battery[1]. However, it’s an efficient method as it results in power wastage as it’s basically forcing a higher power producing solar array to work less efficiently.

MPPT- Maximum Power Point Tracking: It is a more efficient system as unlike the PWM, it works in real-time keeping a track on the amount of power being delivered to the battery. It then modulates the power output to match the battery’s voltage resulting in a more efficient way of managing things without hampering the solar energy’s efficiency.

Now that you have a fair idea about the solar charge controller, let’s look at a few products that are the absolute best in its category, in case you are looking for an upgrade.

Solar Retrofit – SRS 12050

The SRS 12050 can convert your existing inverter unit into solar inverter without hampering any of the existing wiring. It increases the overall efficiency of the unit by extracting maximum power from the solar panels and uses four stage charging technique offering a faster and safer charging for the battery. Perfect in case you are thinking of upgrading your normal inverter to a solar one.

Solar Charge Controller – SCC1220NM

The SCC1220NM is a great solar charge controller that prevents battery overcharging and also helps in preventing reverse current flow to the battery at night. It’s perfect for running DC appliances and can charge them directly without the need for any adaptors.

A solar charge controller is a vital component and therefore you should always buy one that’s high on quality and durability to ensure a longer service life and low-maintenance costs. So, if you are thinking of getting a new one or upgrading your old one, then Luminous has a range of affordable solar charge controllers that can perfectly complement your solar system. Explore their complete catalog of solar charge controllers right away to choose one that’s just right for you!