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Mismatched Solar Panels: Wire in Parallel or in Series?

This video series tests wiring mismatching solar panels in series vs parallel through an MPPT charge controller to understand how to maximize solar power production from an array made of different kinds of solar panels.

If you’ve got several mismatching solar panels with different electrical specs, how should you wire them together to maximize their power production? The answer depends on how exactly they’re mismatched.

Same Voltage, Different Amperage and Wattage

In this first video, Solar Queen Amy Beaudet wires two 24V solar panels (a 100W module and a 200W module) into an MPPT charge controller and 12V deep cycle battery. First she wires them in parallel and then in series, measuring the output of each configuration to see which method is better for maximizing the mismatched solar panels’ production.

She finds that wiring in parallel is best for mismatched solar panels with the same voltage.

Same Wattage, Different Voltage and Amperage

In the next video, Amy runs the same test using two 100W solar panels (one 12V and one 24V).

This time she finds that wiring in series is best for mismatched solar panels with the same wattage.

Same Amperage, Different Voltage and Wattage

In the next video, Amy runs the test again using a 100W 24V panel and a 50W 12V panel that have the same short circuit current.

She finds again that wiring in series is best for mismatched solar panels with the same amperage.

Completely Different Panels – Different Voltage and Amperage

In the next video, Amy runs the test with two very different panels – a 200W 24V module and a 50W 12V module.

For these completely mismatched panels, she finds that neither configuration is very efficient. In this case it would be better to buy two 12V panels and wire them in series to make 24V then wire them in parallel with the 24V.

Putting it All Together

In the final video in the series, Amy goes over some more examples to drive home the concepts learned here.

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