MPPT Charge Controller Introduction
The MPPT charge controller is a technology that has been specially designed to work with virtually all types of photovoltaic systems. Of course, it’s for the solar power system in which the module voltages are higher than the battery voltages.
It’s an electronic system that assists the solar panel to produce all the energy that it is able to produce. On the other hand, it’s not mechanical tracking technology that physically moves modules toward the sun to convert more solar energy into electricity.
An MPPT solar charge controller is a smart electronic device that looks at the power output of the solar array that is feeding power into the charge controller and looks at the battery collection that needs to be charged and matches the voltage and current to utilize the maximum output of the solar array.
What is MPPT Charge Controller?
The MPPT charge controller refers to the “Maximum Power Point Tracking” solar charge controller, which is an evolution of the traditional solar panel charge controller.
The MPPT solar charge controller detects the solar panel voltage and current in real time and constantly tracks the maximum power (P=U*I). This ensures that the system always charges the battery with maximum power.
What is Maximum Power Point Tracking?
Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) is an electronic system that allows the photovoltaic panel to produce more power by adjusting its operating state. The DC power generated by the solar panel can be efficiently stored in a battery.
In remote areas and tourist resorts that are not connected to conventional power grids, it can meet residential and industrial power needs. It is environmentally friendly to produce and consume energy from a solar photovoltaic system.
The MPPT charge controller detects the power generation of the solar panel in real time and tracks the highest voltage and current (VI) value, thus charging the battery with maximum power output. It coordinates the work of solar panels, batteries and loads and is the brain of the photovoltaic system.
The output power changes accordingly because the solar collection by the panels is affected by sunlight and factors such as dust, pollution, rain, snow, and shade, etc. When the sunlight is strong and large controller is used.
How MPPT charge controller works
Generally, a DC/DC converter circuit completes the MPPT control. The photovoltaic cell array is connected to the load through a DC/DC circuit. The maximum power tracking device continuously detects the current-voltage variation of the photovoltaic array.
It automatically adjusts the duty cycle of the PWM drive signal of the DC/DC converter in accordance with the variation.
For linear circuits, the power supply has the maximum power output when the load resistance is equal to the internal resistance of the power supply.
The photovoltaic cells and the circuits of the DC/DC converters are strongly affected by non-linearity. However, it can be considered as a linear circuit for a very short time.
The maximum power output of the panel cell and the maximum power point of the photovoltaic array can be realized as long as the equivalent resistance of the DC-DC converter circuit is adjusted to be always equal to the internal resistance of the photovoltaic cell.
How to Size MPPT Solar Charge Controller
There are various types of MPPT solar charge controllers with the rapid development of technology. We need to consider 2 aspects: the current of the solar panel and the voltage of the solar panel when choosing the right MPPT solar charge controller.
Solar Panel Voltage
We need to pay attention to the working voltage and short circuit voltage of the solar panels. The working voltage is usually 18V, 36V, and so on. If the working voltage is 18V, then the short circuit voltage of the solar panel should be 22V, similarly if the working voltage is 36V, then the short circuit voltage should be 42V. You need to choose the right controller according to the working voltage of the solar panels. As a rule, when you buy the solar panels, you will have all the parameters according to it.
Solar Panel Current
The size of the solar controller is often indicated by how much current the solar controller can handle (i.e. the maximum charging current). On the market, a solar charge controller will generally come in sizes of 10A, 20A, or 30A. There are also 50A, 60A controllers available for high power applications. Even larger, 80A solar charge controller and 100A solar charge controller are also common.
In the selection of the controller, please be aware that the discharge current of the solar panel cannot exceed this value, otherwise the controller will be damaged.
Therefore, if the solar panel current is 6A, we recommend choosing a 10A charge controller when selecting a controller. The input voltage of the solar panel of the MPPT solar charge controller is usually about 0~150V, and the input voltage of the PWM solar charge controller is usually 0~55V.
As long as the voltage is below these values, it is easy to find the right MPPT solar power controller. In case of special requirements, if these input voltages are higher than the rated values, it’s also easy to find a solar charge controller manufacturer to order one. Zhcsolar just released a size calculator to choose the right ampere controller. check here.
Which is better, PWM or MPPT?
There is no doubt that your choice should be an MPPT controller rather than a PWM controller. The converting efficiency of the MPPT charging controller is 150% of the PWM one. Better quality, better conversion efficiency, better protection of your system and battery, in the long run, and the use of MPPT is also the trend, MPPT is more worth to implement. A comprehensive comparison guide is ready for review by zhcsolar expert.
What is the best MPPT charge controller?
The best MPPT solar controller is the one that is most suitable for your solar system and fits the requirement of your batteries or storage. You need to know all the details of your PV system, such as the input and output power, the maximum battery current, the nominal system voltage (12V, 24V, 36V, 48V, 60V, 100V, 150V, and 200V, etc.).
When considering which MPPT controller to choose, please have a look at the MPPT controller calculation guide above. ZHCSolar has the best MPPT solar charge controller for sale of 2023. In order to choose the best 60 Amp MPPT solar charge controller, please refer to this guide.
MPPT Charge Controller vs. PWM: Advantages
To charge the battery, the solar panel output voltage must be higher than the battery input voltage. The output current will be close to zero if the output voltage of the solar panel is lower than the input voltage of the battery.
In addition, the output power of the solar panel is not fixed, but will vary with various conditions such as the intensity of irradiation, the ambient temperature, and so on. It also depends on the level and ability of the designer whether the solar panel can work at the maximum value of the IV curve or not.
The operating parameters of the traditional solar charge controller are set as they are. The parameter mode (constant voltage or constant current) is used as a base to transfer the solar panel energy to the battery and won’t change with the changes in the surrounding environment.
The natural environment components such as sun radiation level, environment temperature and humidity are constantly changing.
Therefore, the battery will be insufficiently charged by the solar panel energy generated and converted in a fixed way.
On the other hand, when the weather is good and the sunlight is high, the solar power cannot be fully utilized and will be a waste of energy. We know that in a stand-alone photovoltaic solar system, the cost of solar panels and batteries is 80-90% of the total system budget. The controller is only 5-10%.
A solar controller with a budget of 5% can optimize the system to its best performance if the design is reasonable.
Practically, you can see the benefits of MPPT controller more clearly: in a system that uses a conventional PWM charge controller with 1000W solar panel capacity and it is replaced by an MPPT controller for the same load, the same battery, you only need to install 700W solar panels and it’s enough to meet the power demand of all the electrical equipment.
According to the current market price of solar panels at $2 per watt, the cost of the solar panels in the system can be directly reduced to $650.
In such cases, the savings can be greater in larger systems. This includes the cost of purchasing the panels, cables, and more.
In addition, there are many types of amorphous silicon solar panels available on the market. The open-circuit voltage is high and the current is low for this type of panel.
In practical applications, the traditional PWM controller, including the constant current controller, can convert the panel energy with low efficiency, which will cause the battery to be insufficiently charged, thus shortening the service life of the batteries.
This also causes the solar energy generated by the system to be wasted. To improve the overall system performance, the maximum power point tracking controller can compensate for these practical shortcomings.
Difference between MPPT Solar Controller and PWM Controller
The main difference between MPPT controller and PWM controller is in three aspects.
Charging method difference
Because the PWM charge controller charges in a three-step charging mode, the charging method is different. MPPT is the maximum power tracking technology and the relative charging efficiency can be increased to about 30%.
Charge voltage difference
When an MPPT solar controller is used to charge a low voltage battery with a high voltage solar panel, the charging efficiency will have a big difference with the PWM charge controller under the same condition. The difference between the practical PWM controller and the MPPT controller will not be large if the voltage of the solar panels and the battery are the same, for example, both are 12V.
Solar power difference
If the solar power generation is small, it is better to have a PWM charge controller. If the power generation of the solar panel is large, the MPPT solar controller will be a better choice. Normally, the MPPT solar charge controller is more expensive than a PWM controller.
If the power of the solar panel is small, the installation of the MPPT solar charge controller is a little bit of a waste of money.
Features of MPPT Charge Controller
MPPT solar charge controller is usually used in the off-grid solar power generation systems. The energy generated by solar panels is a very valuable resource as it is a clean type of energy.
If a traditional PWM controller is used, the disadvantage is that the conversion rate is low and a lot of solar energy is wasted. By using a MPPT charge controller instead, the solar conversion rate can be greatly increased with minimal energy waste. The MPPT solar controller is obviously a better choice when the budget is rich.
Highlights of MPPT Charge Controller
1. High energy converting efficiency, up to 99
2. Support all kinds of solar panels, such as mono-crystalline silicon solar panels, multi-crystalline silicon solar panels, amorphous silicon solar panels, etc;
3. Rich load working mode: such as time control, pure light control, light control + time control, manual, debug mode, long open mode.
4. Good circuit protection functions, including PV reverse polarity protection, PV overcurrent protection, battery reverse polarity protection, battery overvoltage protection, battery overdischarge protection, load overcurrent protection, load short circuit protection, etc.
5. Support serial communication functions (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth control and monitor devices).
6. Support various battery types, such as lead acid, lithium iron phosphate, etc.
7. Supports various battery voltages, like 12V, 24V, 36V, 48V, 110V, etc.
3-Stage Charging Mode of the MPPT Charge Controller
MPPT Limiting Charge
The system detects the battery voltage drop in low value can be charged when the initial charging stage starts. In order to convert and transfer the PV output power to the battery, the MPPT charge starts working. When the sunlight is strong, the output power of the PV array is greatly increased. The charging current reaches the threshold value.
At this point, the MPPT charge stops and switches to the constant charge mode. Constant charge switches to MPPT charge when sunlight decreases.
By this switching method, the battery is fully charged and the voltage rises to saturation voltage (Ur) and the battery enters constant charge.
The solar energy can be fully utilized to charge the battery quickly and efficiently because the charging mode automatically switches between MPPT charging and constant charging.
Constant Voltage Limiting Charge
At this stage, the charge voltage is always saturated (Ur). The charge current gradually decreases due to the electrochemical reaction in the battery. When the charge current drops to approximately 0.01 C, the constant voltage charge is terminated and the float charge phase is entered. The charge current is also limited at this stage to protect the battery.
The charge voltage (Uf) in floating charge is slightly lower than in constant charge. The main purpose of this charging mode is to compensate for the self-losing energy of the battery, since at this stage the battery is fully charged.
Advantages of MPPT Solar Charge Controller
When the MPPT charge controller is used, the charging efficiency can be improved by 30%, i.e. from the same solar panel power, the MPPT charge controller can generate 1.3 times more charging current than before, and the battery can be charged faster.
How the MPPT Charge Controller Works: The MPPT charge controller tracks the maximum power point in the solar panel in real time, and the solar panel outputs maximum efficiency.
The higher the voltage, the more power can be output by tracking the maximum power, thus improving charging efficiency.
Theoretically, using the MPPT charge controller in the solar power system will increase the efficiency by 50% than the traditional ways. However, according to zhcsolar’s tests, the final efficiency can be increased by 20% to 30% due to the influence of environmental factors and energy losses.
The Importance of MPPT Solar Charge Controller
- When you look at many solar panels in the market and see their results, you’ll see that the range of voltages from low to high with variation under normal operating parameters. A usual solar panel is made to work in excess of 18 volts and storage batteries are made to a range of predefined voltage that is based on the structure of the battery and a lot is made to work at 12 volts.
- It checks out the work or functions of a standard PV regulator. It tracks the battery charging and at the same time provides them the security from getting undercharged or overcharged. If you connect the regulator straight to the battery and then to the solar module, a high-quality MPPT solar charge controller works out and analyzes the voltage at which the module could generate the utmost power for its capability. The effectiveness and efficiency of most of the MPPT solar charge controllers are between 93% and 96%. This kind of solar charge controller is valuable in cold weather and on cloudy days when there’s almost no sunshine. This is the time when more power is needed to charge the battery in order to keep the SOC level
- An MPPT solar charge controller could be a remarkable combination with a grid-tied solar module. Another remarkable benefit of the MPPT solar charge controller is that you save lots of time in the cable and wiring expenses that means where a smaller gauge cabling or wiring could be utilized.
- While selecting an MPPT solar charge controller, you have to ensure that these essential features are on hand: Voltage and Current Regulation, Pulse Width Modulation or PWM control, current compensation & load disconnection, temperature compensation as well as automatic load reconnection.
- Electronic Security: Overcharging security, deep-discharging security, and reverse polarity protection from the module side as well as from the side of the battery. Reverse polarity security from the internal fuse, short circuit security as well as overvoltage security at module input. Also, you need to ensure that there’s open circuit security without battery, over temperature as well as overload security, and even battery overvoltage shutdown.
MPPT Solar Charge Controller Negative Ground vs Postive Ground
In simple words, all vehicles have a NEGATIVE ground system, so when choosing MPPT Solar Charge Controller for RV and Autos, remember to choose the Negative Grounding Charge Controller.
Here I will explain why? As all vehicles use the battery as the storage of electric energy, all the input and output of electric energy must pass through the battery.
Since the battery is direct current (DC), the positive and negative poles become equally important. This is the basic principle of negative ground.
On the vehicle’s external works, the body of the vehicle is designed to use as the circuit of the negative pole. This means that the vehicle’s steel frame or chassis is directly connected to the negative side of the battery via the negative battery cable.
MPPT Charge Controller Price
The price of the MPPT solar charge controller is usually 3-5 times then the PWM controller which in the same size (amp).
Generally, the price difference of the small amp is not as much as the big amps. The price difference between the MPPT controller and the PWM controller jumps after 30 amps size.
MPPT charge controller price ranges from $70 to $1000 and is common in the market.
An MPPT unit over $1000 is not unusual especially when it is a big unit. According to Comparison Shopping Engine – PriceGrabber, the most expensive 60A MPPT Solar Charge Controller is priced at $1,000.68 by the MidNite Solar Classic Lite 60A controller.
In the long run, the MPPT charge controller has a higher return on investment, not matter for the home off-grid system or for commercial purposes. We strongly recommend taking an MPPT controller for your power system.
In general, the MPPT charge controller tracks the maximum power point in the solar panel in real-time to maximize the effectiveness of the solar panel.
The higher the voltage, the more power can be output through the maximum power tracking, thus improving the charging efficiency.
In this sense, the MPPT solar charge and discharge controller is going to eventually replace the traditional PWM solar controller.
Frequently Asked Questions:
⭐who makes the best mppt charge controller
The most popular brands of controllers on the market are Renogy, Victron, EPever, ZHCSolar, SRNE, etc. From our experience, the most cost-effective products come from EPever and ZHCSolar.
⭐how mppt charge controller works
The MPPT controller is able to detect the generation voltage of the solar panel in real time and track the maximum voltage and current value (VI) to enable the system to charge the battery with the maximum power output.
⭐how to marine mppt solar charge controller
Marine mppt solar charge controllers are the controllers used in Marine and Boat solar systems, to size Marine controller is usually the same as the RV controllers. check the guide here.
⭐what can i power with my renogy rover 20 amp mppt solar charge controller
Solar controllers should only be used in conjunction with solar panels and are not recommended for use with other energy inputs.
⭐how to wire solar panels to 24 volts to charge 12v batteries with mppt charge controller
to wire the solar panels, charge controller, and solar batteries please check this wiring guide.
⭐what is the difference between charge controller and mppt
The biggest difference between the mppt and PWM controllers is the way the energy is controlled. mppt uses a maximum power point tracking algorithm, while the PWM controller is Pulse Width Modulation, get more detail here.
⭐schneider conext xw 60-150 mppt charge controller why is discontinue
to troubleshooting the solar charge controller, follow the instruction of the charge controller fix guide.
⭐which mppt charge controller is the best for 1050 watt solar aray
⭐how to set up a mppt charge charge controller
To successfully set up a solar controller, first you have to choose the right size, second you have to connect the controller correctly, and finally you have to configure the controller parameters.
⭐does renogy wanderer 20 amp mppt charge controller already know what kind of battery?
Most mppt controllers correctly recognize the battery types and battery voltage and can automatically switch to the correct voltage mode, in some cases, it may need to be set manually.
⭐how many solar panels can i hook up to a aims power scc60mppt, 60 amp mppt solar charge controller
according to the scc60mppt manual, you can hook up to 3400w solar panels to the charge controller.
⭐what is a mppt charge controller for wind turbine
A turbine controller is a controller specifically designed to regulate the charging and discharging of the wind turbine and can often be mixed with a RV solar controller.
⭐what mppt charge controller do i need
mppt solar controllers can be sorted by size, type of battery charge, application, and more. You need to be aware of these before going any further.
⭐how much more efficient is a pwm vs mppt charge controller
Typically, MPPT is 30% more efficient than PWM. to better understand, check this comparison guide.
⭐mppt charge controller for 500 watt panel should be how many amp
30 Amp MPPT Charge Controller is good for the 500 Watt Panel.
⭐pwm vs mppt charge controller how to spot
To properly identify MPPT and PWM, read the product description first and then check the product directly. Usually MPPT is larger and more well-made, with a richer set-up interface and features.
⭐50 amp mppt solar charge controller how many watts
the ZHCSolar 50a solar charge controller can handle 3500W solar panels at 48v mode.
⭐14000 watts needs what size mppt solar charge controller?
to handle 14000 watts solar panels input, you will need 4 × 100 Amp mppt solar charge controller combination.
⭐what does pv mean in a mppt solar charge controller
PV stands for Solar Photovoltaic, and you can simply understand it as solar arrays or solar panels.
⭐which mppt charge controller for 1kw
60 Amp MPPT Charge controller is good to handle the 1KW Solar array input.
⭐what amp mppt charge controller for 200 watt solar panel
20 Amp MPPT Charge controller is good enough for the 200 watt solar panel.
⭐which mppt charge controller should i use for deep cycle batteries
there are a lot of charge controllers on the market support the deep cycle batteries, the zhcsolar 50A regulator is highly recommended.
⭐why does my mppt solar charge controller show charging but 0 amps
to fix the controller not charge battery problem, check the troubleshooting guide here.
⭐what is floating mode on mppt charge controller
Floating mode means the floating charge, is a charge process after the bulk charge to make the solar battery fully charged.
⭐what is the highest rated mppt charge controller
A common maximum rated controller is 100 amp, and in larger solar power systems, multiple 100 amp mppt controllers can be stacked.
⭐why they mppt t30 is not a mppt charge controller
There are very many fake mppt controllers on the market that are actually PWM controllers.
⭐what size mppt charge controller for 800 watt
30A MPPT Charge Regulator will be a perfect option for the 800 Watt Solar panels.
⭐40 amp mppt solar charge controller how many watts
A good 40 Amp MPPT Solar Charge Controller can handle 1040 Watts solar panels. EPever TracerBN 40A is one of the best on the market.
⭐where to buy tracer-bn series mppt solar charge controller
tracer-bn series mppt solar charge controller can be bought from ZHCSolar Shop.
⭐what size mppt charge controller is needed for 200w
⭐how many watts can a 40 amp 24 volt mppt charge controller handle?
1040W, a 40 amp 24-volt mppt charge controller like EPever TracerBN can handle 1040 Watts at a 24V system.
⭐how can i tell if a charge controller is really mppt
To properly identify MPPT and PWM, read the product description first and then check the product directly. Usually MPPT is larger and more well-made, with a richer set-up interface and features.
⭐why don’t my sunforce mppt wind charge controller put out dc?
to trouble the mppt win charge controller put out no DC, please test the the whole system and the solar charge controller settings. or refering this guide.
⭐what do the numbers mean on a mppt charge controller
the number is the rate ampers that the charge controller can handle. typically, 60A means the charge controller handle 60 amp current at the most.
⭐how to calculate mppt charge controller
to calculate the size of the mppt charge controller, you can use this free size tool.
⭐285 watt 36 volt solar panel how big of a mppt charge controller will i need
you need a 15Amp or 20Amp Charge controller to handle 285 Watt 36 Volt solar panel.
⭐how do i connect my mppt charge controller with my battery bank in my rv
to right connect the mppt charge controller with battery bank in the RVs, you must follow this wiring guide.
⭐what are accumlated amps on mppt charge controller
Accumulated Amp-Hour (Ah) is a unit of measurement that describes accumulated electric charge over time.
⭐what is range of amper for mppt solar charge controller
typically, MPPT Charge Controller are Range from 20A to 100A on the market, 30A, 40A, 60A, 80A are the most common models.
⭐mppt charge controller draws power from battery at night?
No, the mppt charge controller will not draw any power from the battery as the solar controller has not power consumption.