A solar charge controller is a vital component of any solar panel system. It helps to properly charge your batteries, ensuring they have a long lifespan. When choosing a new solar charge controller for your boat, there are a few things you will need to keep in mind to get the best fit for your system. Let’s go over the importance of solar charge controllers and how to select the right one for your needs.
What is a Solar Charge Controller?
The charge controller in your solar panel system sits between the solar panels and batteries. Charge controllers prevent your batteries from overcharging by restricting the amount and rate of charge to the batteries. They also prevent battery drainage by turning off the system if stored power falls under 50 percent capacity and charging the batteries at the proper voltage level. This helps preserve the health of your marine batteries.
Do You Need a Solar Charge Controller?
The answer is usually yes. You don’t need a charge controller with small panels that you might use to charge a mobile device or power one or two lights. If a solar panel puts out 2 watts or less for each 50 battery amp-hours, you likely don’t need a charge controller. Anything beyond that, and you do. Solar charge controllers play a critical role in solar power systems, making them safe and effective. You can’t connect your solar panels to a battery directly and expect it to work. Solar panels output more than their minimum voltage.
A 12v battery can not handle significantly high voltage while charging. For example, 19 volts is too much and could lead to damage from overcharging. Solar charge controllers aren’t an optional element to improve efficiency. In fact, they are an absolute necessity that makes solar power battery charging possible.
How to Choose a Solar Charge Controller
While we recommend using MPPT solar charge controllers for your vessel, you should ensure the charge controller fits your needs. Selecting the best option is about finding the right option for your solar panel system, battery type, and the system’s voltage and current. Consider these factors when buying a charge controller:
- Your budget
- The lifespan of the technology
- Climate where your system will be installed. Some charge controllers work better in colder weather.
- The number of solar panels you have and how high your energy needs are
- Type, number, and size of batteries you’re using in your system
Marine Electric Systems, LLC is a Leader In the Maritime Industry
We here at Marine Electric Systems have over 30 years of industry experience. You can trust our team for reliable service and expert craftsmanship in the Maryland, Baltimore, Annapolis, and Baltimore city areas! We’re highly certified and adhere to all ABYC and NMEA regulations. We specialize in top-notch electrical solutions for recreational, commercial, and government boating clients. Anything from electrical refits, to navigation systems, or boating maintenance. To stay up to date on our services, follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube. You can also contact us at 410-263-0807.