Should I wire my solar panels in series, parallel, or series-parallel?
When deciding how to wire your solar panels, there are a few factors to consider. When wiring solar panels in parallel, the amperage is additive, but the voltage remains the same. When wiring solar panels in a series, the voltage is additive, but the amperage remains the same.
Parallel connections are mostly utilized in smaller, more basic systems, and usually with PWM Controllers. A benefit of wiring in parallel is that if one solar panel experiences a failure, the other solar panels will continue to produce power. The downside to parallel systems is that high amperage is difficult to travel long distances without using very thick wires.
Series connections are mostly utilized in smaller systems with a MPPT Controller. MPPT Controllers are able to accept a higher voltage input, and they will still be able to charge your batteries. Renogy MPPT controllers can accept 100 volts input. The benefit of series is that it is easy to transfer over long distances. Series connections also yield less voltage drops during a charge cycle, which typically creates the most efficient solar panel charge time.
Sometimes in larger systems we have to get creative to stay within certain amperages and voltages accepted by charge controllers while still producing enough energy. That’s when series-parallel connections are used. For this connection, a string is created by 2 or more panels in series. Then, an equal string needs to be created and paralleled. Refer to our guide for more info on wiring your solar installation.