Parallel VS Series Solar Panel Connections: What’s the Difference?

December 1, 2020
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As a homeowner interested in going solar, you want to maximize the efficiency and performance of your system. The way your solar system is wired has a significant effect on this. Here, we will give a brief explanation of the two wiring connections and their advantages and disadvantages. We’ll also help point you in the direction of which options are best for your individual household needs. 

Why the Right Connection Is Essential 

Watt (W) is a unit of power that measures the amount of energy your solar system can generate. The watt is equal to amps (current) multiplied by volts (V). Parallel and series wiring impact the wattage your system generates in opposite ways. 

Deciding on the ideal balance of amps and voltage is crucial for the optimal performance and safety of your solar system. The biggest limitation placed on wiring connections is a charge controller. A charge controller regulates the battery of your solar panel system and prevents overcharging. If it overcharges, or in other words exceeds its voltage capacity, permanent damage can occur. 

Parallel Connection Explained

If you wire your solar panel system is purely parallel, the amperage (current) will increase, but the voltage will stay the same. You’ll find parallel wiring mostly utilized with a fixed 12V system which keeps your charging capabilities steady. The disadvantage with parallel is that you’ll need thick wires to handle high amperage that will travel farther than about 10-15 feet away from where your controller is. You might also need additional equipment such as a branch connector.

Series Connection Explained

As previously mentioned, with a purely series wiring, the voltage will increase, but the amperage (current) will stay the same. Series wiring allows you to connect with higher voltage and also allows you to transfer it long distances with thin wires. The disadvantage with series wiring is that all panels are all basically dependent on each other – if one panel is shaded, the whole string will be less efficient or sometimes not generate any power at all. You won’t have this issue with parallel.  

Both Parallel and Series 

This wiring requires more setup and maintenance, but there is little to no downside. This combination of parallel and series wiring is most often used in large systems for commercial properties and businesses. The majority of residential solar panel systems will be able to utilize either one of the two for their energy needs.

Let the Experts Handle It 

Understanding parallel vs series connections, how to strike the ideal balance of volts and amps, as well as everything that goes into such things can be confusing. Take the headache out of this part by hiring the experts and letting us decide which of these connections is ideal for your household. Give the experts and All-In-One Energy Pros a call today, or fill out the form on our website – talk to a real person, not an answering service. We look forward to talking with you.