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Last Updated 12/2/2008
Wiring Solar Panels
There are several different ways of wiring multiple solar panels together. Wiring in series will cause the voltages to be additive while wiring in parallel causes the amperage to be additive. Knowing how to wire them up to achieve the voltage and amperage you need is crucial when building a project that integrates solar energy.
As with batteries, wiring solar panels in series will cause the voltages of each panel to be additive. To wire solar panels in series you connect the positive terminal of one panel to the negative terminal of the next. For example, if two 4V 100mA solar panels are wired in series you will have a solar array with the potential of producing 8V @ 100mA. 4 + 4 = 8
The voltages of each panel are added together while the amperage of the solar array is simply the amperage of one unit.
When wiring solar panels in parallel, the amperage of the solar panels will be additive. To wire solar panels in parallel you connect the positive terminal of the one panel to the positive terminal of the next and the negative of the one panel to the negative terminal of the next. For example, if two 4V 100mA solar panels are wired in parallel you will have a solar array with the ability of producing 4V @ 200mA. 100 + 100 = 200
The voltage of the solar array is equal to the voltage of one of the panels while the amperage of the solar array is the summation of all the solar panels' amperage output.
Series and Parallel
You can also mix a solar array that has two sets of two solar cells in series wired in parallel with each other. This will cause an increase in voltage by adding the voltage of two panels together and then the amperage of that two panel array will be placed in parallel with an identical array causing the amperage of these two arrays to be additive as well.
For example, if you have four 4V 100mA solar cells and place two in series you will have a two cell array that is 8V @ 100mA (4V + 4V). Now, if we create an identical solar array that is also in series but connected it to our previous solar array in PARALLEL we have two 8V solar arrays with an amperage of 100mA. So, now they're amperage will be added together creating a larger 4 cell solar array with 8V @ 200mA (100 + 100).
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Solarbotics - http://www.solarbotics.com
Jameco - http://www.jameco.com/ and search for keyword 'Solar'
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