Are you looking to wire a solar panel to a 120-230V AC load and inverter? If so, there are a few things you will need to know. From determining the wattage of the solar panel to knowing the voltage and amperage rating of the AC load and inverter, this post by MasterR22oof Solar Panels will give you the information, you need to correctly wire your solar panel to a 120-230V AC load and inverter. However, if you are not comfortable or familiar with electrical work, it is always best to consult a professional electrician to do the job for you.
Before getting started, let’s understand the solar panel installation system.
What Is A Solar Panel Installation System?
A solar panel installation system or photovoltaic (PV) system is a power generating system that converts sunlight into electricity. Solar panels are made up of a series of solar cells that are connected. These solar cells are made of semiconductor materials like silicon. When sunlight hits the solar cell, it creates an electrical field across the silicon that causes electrons to flow. This flow of electrons generates electricity you can use to power your home or business.
Now that you understand how a solar panel installation system works, let’s have a detailed look at the components you need to wire your solar panel to a 120-230V AC load and inverter.
Components You Need To Wire Your Solar Panels
To install a solar panel system, you will need the following key components:
- Solar panels
- Solar charge controller (PWM or MPPT)
Now let’s examine these components more closely.
Photo Voltaic Panels
The solar panel is a critical component in a solar panel system. As mentioned earlier, solar panels are made up of photovoltaic cells. When sunlight hits the cells, it causes an electrical reaction that produces direct current (DC) electricity.
Three types of solar panels are available today:
Monocrystalline – The cells in monocrystalline solar panels are made from a single, large silicon crystal. This makes them the most efficient type of solar panel and the most expensive.
Polycrystalline – Polycrystalline solar panels are made from many smaller silicon crystals. They are not as efficient as monocrystalline solar panels but are less expensive to manufacture.
Thin-film – Thin-film solar panels are made by depositing one or more layers of photovoltaic material on a substrate like plastic. This type of solar panel is the least efficient and expensive to manufacture.
Solar panels are rated by their power output in watts. The higher the wattage, the more electricity the solar panel produces. For example, a 100-watt solar panel produces 100 watts of electricity. Most home solar panel systems range from 250 to 400 watts of solar cells.
Solar Charge Controller
Once the solar panel produces the direct current (DC) electricity, it needs to be stored in a battery. However, the amount of electricity produced by each solar panel is never constant. So, to control this fluctuation in electricity, a solar charge controller is used. A solar charge controller is a device that regulates the flow of electricity from the solar panel to the battery so that a battery is not overcharged and receives a constant 12-volt charge.
There are two basic types of solar charge controllers:
PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) – The PWM solar charge controller is the most common type used in small to medium-sized solar panel systems. It regulates the voltage and current from the solar panel to the battery by Pulse Width Modulation.
MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) – The MPPT solar charge controller is a more sophisticated type of solar charge controller. It regulates the voltage and current from the solar panel to the battery by Maximum Power Point Tracking. The MPPT solar charge controller is more efficient than the PWM solar charge controller and is often used in large solar panel systems.
Regularizing the direct current allows it to be output directly to a DC load, or you can connect a battery to the charge controller.
By connecting the solar charge controller to a battery, you can store the direct current electricity produced by the solar panel for use at night. Depending on your energy needs, you can choose to wire one or multiple batteries in parallel or series.
Wiring batteries in parallel means the system’s voltage stays the same, but the current increases. This is useful if you want to increase the capacity of your battery system without increasing the voltage. For example, two 12V 30Ah batteries wired in parallel will give you 60 amp hours of capacity, but the voltage will stay at 12 volts.
On the other hand, wiring batteries in series means the system’s voltage increases, but the current stays the same. This is useful if you want to increase the voltage of your system without increasing the ampere capacity. For instance, if you want to power a 24-volt appliance, you need to wire two 12-volt batteries in series.
The last component in a solar panel system is an inverter. The inverter converts the direct current electricity stored in the battery into alternating current (AC) electricity. AC is the type of electricity used in your home to power appliances. And most home appliances use 120-230V AC electricity. Therefore, you will need a battery inverter to power your home appliances.
That’s it! Those are the main components of a solar panel system. Of course, there are other smaller parts like fuses, cables, and disconnects, but they are not as essential as the components mentioned above.
An effective solar panel system consists of a few key components. These include a solar panel, a solar charge controller, a battery, and an inverter. Each of these components plays a vital role in generating and storing electricity from the sun. Understanding each part’s work allows you to create a solar panel system that meets your specific energy needs.