MPPT Solar Charge Controller: Features, Application and Price
Do you know what an MPPT solar charge controller is? If not, don’t worry! We will give you insights into this concept.
But before a briefing on that, let’s first understand what a solar charge controller is.
Well, a solar charge controller is a device that keeps the battery from overcharging and provides limited power to charge up the appliances.
The PV modules absorb power from the sunlight. This power is generally intense, and if not kept under control and sent directly to the home appliances, it might damage them.
So, the solar charge controllers ensure the power intensity is controlled before distributing it to the loads.
When the MPPT algorithm is embedded in a solar charge controller, it becomes an MPPT solar charge controller.
Let’s now understand what an MPPT charge controller is in detail.
What Is An MPPT Solar Charge Controller?
The MPPT solar charge controller tracks the maximum power point available. It converts the energy from the PV modules to battery voltage.
An interesting fact about MPPT is that it is not a device but an algorithm/software. It is applied to the controller.
The current and the voltage come together at the maximum power point to generate maximum power at a specified time.
Moving on, the MPPT charge controller tracks this power and optimises the voltage between the batteries and the solar panels. This controller is used in off-grid systems that run without the grid mechanism.
Working of an MPPT Solar Charge Controller
Now let’s understand how the MPPT solar charge controller works in more detail.
When sun rays fall on the solar panels, the MPPT solar controller takes the maximum energy and operates them at the most efficient voltage.
- – First, when the tracker receives the energy from the PV module, it checks the output.
- – Then, it cross-checks the outcome with the battery voltage.
- – After that, it determines the best power the solar panels can generate to charge the battery.
- – After this analysis, the tracker transforms the energy to the best voltage to send maximum energy into the battery.
- – Finally, the battery sends the power to the household appliances to charge them up.
Features of an MPPT Solar Charge Controller
When it comes to MPPT solar charge controllers, they have many benefits. Let’s have a look at each.
- – The MPPT charge controller corrects the solar cell’s voltage and current variation.
- – It ensures that maximum energy is drawn from the solar panels.
- – This controller can be used in wind-power turbines and small water turbines.
- – It eases the system’s complex operation.
Price Comparison of Different MPPT Solar Charge Controllers
No matter which MPPT algo you use, the MPPT solar charge controller price is going to be more expensive than the other solar charge controllers. The reason is that the controller operates alone without the help of the grid.
The MPPT solar charge controller is mainly used in rural areas and, as you might have already guessed, in off-grid systems.
Since the alternating current is not required, the controller can power up the pumps that require direct current.
Even for charging the pumps, the controller has to work alone. It has heavy electronic units like choke units and mini transformers that come at a costly price range.
Although the rate varies on multiple aspects like brand, you can expect it to be up to 60-70% more expensive than the normal inverters.
PWM vs MPPT Charge Controller
Now let’s understand the main distinctions between PWM (pulse width modulation) and MPPT (maximum power point) charge controllers.
Before you ask, PWM is an obsolete technology that’s rarely used nowadays.
- – PWM solar charge controllers were popular in the 90s. MPPT solar charge controllers are popular now.
- – PWM charge controllers used to work efficiently on small solar power systems, whereas MPPT works on large ones.
- – The conversion efficiency rate of PWM used to be no more than 75%, whereas, for MPPT, it is 95%.
- – Customer charging profiles and Bluetooth features are present only in MPPT solar chargers. These features weren’t a part of PWM solar charge controllers.
- – MPPT has better build quality than PWM had.
How Does MPPT Work on a System of Batteries?
The voltage and the current work in the opposite manner. In other words, if the voltage increases, the current decreases, and if the current increases, the voltage decreases.
The MPPT charge controller adds resistance to the current, adjusts the voltage to the current ratio, and increases the voltage. With the MPPT solar charge controller, you can expect to increase the current up to 25-30%.
An interesting fact to remember is that the 80% discharged battery will get powered up faster than the 50% removed battery.
This is because as the battery reduces, the voltage also drops. So, the voltage that a 50% discharged battery can provide is much less than that of an 80% battery.
On a broader scale, MPPT has more connection with the solar panels rather than the batteries. For batteries, there’s a battery management system.
When Are MPPT Charge Controllers Necessary?
An MPPT solar charge controller is highly efficient; hence, expensive.
Here’s when you can decide to buy them.
- – MPPT works better in the cold season. During the cold season, the voltage increases, and the device takes the excess voltage.
- – If high efficiency is your concern, you should consider purchasing the MPPT charge controllers.
Maximum Power Point Tracking, also known as MPPT, is a more recent and efficient technology. Today, more and more solar panels use MPPT charge controllers to increase current and voltage.
With the MPPT solar charge controller, the solar power flows with a slightly higher current and voltage, and the controller lowers the voltage to ensure that the battery is charged properly.
MPPT generates a highly efficient solar charger by minimising losses and increasing the incoming current.
Q. Explain the MPPT charge controller. What is it?
MPPT charge controller guarantees that the loads receive the maximum amount of usable current (by rapidly charging the battery).
Maximum power point (MPP) can be considered the optimal voltage at which the loads receive the most power while experiencing the lowest losses.
Q. What is a maximum power point (MPP)?
The maximum power point (MPP) represents the location on an I-V curve where a solar photovoltaic device produces the most output or the location where the product of current (I) and voltage (V) is greatest.
Q. What kind of weather is perfect for an MPPT charge controller?
MPPT controllers perform better than PWM controllers in cold weather. The voltage rises when the temperature falls, and an MPPT solar charge controller can collect the extra voltage.