Solar Regulators - Solar Charge Controllers
Solar regulators, also known as solar charge controllers or battery regulators, are an essential part of any off-grid solar system. Grid-connect solar systems with battery backup also requires a solar regulator. Solar Regulators transform or cut the voltage and amps coming from your solar panels. The core task of a solar regulator is to control the current flow from the solar panels (or turbines) into the batteries to prevent overcharging. Most regulators also prevent excessive discharges. Your chosen solar charge controller should be mounted close to the batteries so it can measure the batteries' temperature (or ambient temperature) to optimise charging rates. Currently we stock two main technological types of solar regulators:
- PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) - Operates at around 70% efficiency. PWM regulators clip excess solar voltage, resulting in a loss of total power
- MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) - Operates at up to 97% efficiency. MPPT is a newer technology, instead of clipping excess solar voltage it transforms it to the required voltage with an increase in current
A good rule of thumb when considering PWM or MPPT is to work out the additional cost of an MPPT regulator versus the cost of adding additional panels, and ease of installation.
Solar Regulators (Solar Charge Controllers) - MPPT vs PWM
Solar regulators as we previously touched upon are also called solar charge controllers and will regulate your solar panel's charging current and provide the most efficient charge to the batteries without overcharging, while also preventing your batteries from back feeding into the solar panel during the night.
Our range of solar regulators utilise Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) regulation. PWM is the most effective way to achieve constant voltage battery charging as it switches the solar system controller’s power devices. Meaning that when using PWM regulation, the current from the solar array tapers according to the battery’s condition and recharging requirements.
Additional daily production can also be gained through the use of Maximum Power Point Trackers (MPPTs). MMPT regulator/controllers allow the solar panels to run at a voltage where they can produce the most power (this is generally higher than battery voltage) and perform a voltage conversion to a level suitable for battery charging, by providing a higher charging current. They work by periodically sweeping or tracking the optimal voltage level throughout the day to maintain the highest output.