First of all, we have to look at the full meaning of the “MPPT” acronym as an introduction to what the MPPT Solar charge controller is.
MPPT stands for ‘Maximum Power Point Tracking’ charge controller. If you have a basic technical knowledge of solar power charge controllers, you can deduce from the name alone that this MPPT charge controller will likely increase the productivity of your Solar panel. It sure does, in other words, it is more efficient than the other PWM solar charge controller.
You may as well mistake this to mean that this type of solar charge controller has a way of moving the installed Solar panels around to track the position of the sun at any time, no! The MMPT Solar charge controller as we shall see is just a charge controller that uses digital technology to maximize the power output from the solar panel that will best charge your battery.
But this article isn’t about PWM solar charge controllers so I shall not talk much about it. For the records, PWM solar charge controllers have its own merits that will make it to remain relevant, also its got more intelligent than way the technology was first invented.
Now, I am going to show you how this MPPT Solar charge controller works and what makes it different from the non-MPPT charge controller or especially PWM charge controller. You don’t need to have a technical background to grab the most important part of this information. I will try as much as possible to break it down for everyone to follow up.
How an MPPT Solar charge controller works
A non-MPPT solar charge controller will charge your discharged batteries with the power coming straight from your PV module or solar panels. This, as I shall show you only means that the Solar panels which generates the electricity will only try to adjust itself ( the amount of currents it feeds in) to the voltage level of your battery.
Now generally, a battery rated 12V has a varying voltage from 11V up to 14.5V when fully charged. The discharging of a battery when connected to a load or while your appliances are running on it, means the battery voltage will constantly go down. To charge any battery with a Solar panel, the Voltage from the solar panel must be more than the maximum voltage the battery can get, in this case 14.5V for a 12V battery.
On the other hand, every Solar panel has its Maximum Power Point or the peak power voltage it can produce also known as the Vpp. So this PV (solar panel) Vpp must be greater than the maximum voltage of the battery it wants to charge (14.5V). Because of this most Solar panel manufacturers design their solar panels to give an output maximum voltage (Vpp) of up to 17V. In reality, this Vpp of about 17V will vary due to the varying temperature of the day. So because the solar panel’s Vpp is as high as 17V, it will drop to as low as 15V on a very hot day which is still greater than the maximum output voltage of 14.5V most 12V can produce at peak.
What really is the advantage of using an MPPT charge controller?
At this point you will wonder what makes an MPPT charge controller different, in other words what makes it more efficient than the PWM charge controllers. I shall proceed to tell you the working principle of MPPT charge controllers that makes it perform better than PWM charge controllers.
The power output of any solar panel (in Watts) is calculated by multiplying the rated Voltage of the panel by the output current. i.e:
Power = Voltage X Current. This is also referred to as the Ohm’s Law.
Because the output voltage from your Solar panel varies with the day’s temperature and solar radiation, the MPPT charge controller ensures that you get the most possible power from your PV array (solar panel) at any point in time.
For example, assuming the voltage coming from the PV array is much higher than your discharged battery’s voltage, the MPPT charge controller can increase/reduce the output voltage and increase the output current needed to charge the battery. Since Power is equal to Voltage X Current, this will still balance the system and produce about the same power.
So the MPPT charge controllers are digital trackers. It is intelligent and smart enough to compare the power output (Voltage X Current) of your Solar panels with the discharge level of your battery and the optimal current needed to charge it. Since Power = Voltage X Current, the MPPT charge controller can increase the current and reduce the voltage of your solar panels in order to charge your discharged batteries faster, and vice versa.
This is why MPPT Solar charge controllers are considered more efficient than the other types.
See wide ranges of PSC Solar charge controllers at affordable prices here