A solar charge controller, also known as a charge regulator, is a voltage or current regulator that is designed to prevent batteries from overcharging. So if you have a 12 volt panel that is likely capable of outputting between 16-20 volts – understand that these numbers aren’t completely set in stone and that they are instead dependent on many other factors such as the position of the sun in the sky etc. So using a solar charge controller ensures that you won’t overcharge the battery – seeing as most batteries will require about 14-14.5
So, do you need a solar charge controller? Not in all cases – but it’s normally no bad thing! A solar charge controller isn’t always necessary if you have small maintenance or trickle charge panels (1-5 watt panels). If your panel outputs 2 watts or less for each 50 amp-hours, then you shouldn’t need one.
A good example might be a flooded golf car battery. That’s around 210 amp hours, so if you have a pair of them you’ll need a panel that is around 4.2 watts to provide about 12 volts of power. You could use the 5 watt panels and wouldn’t need a solar charge controller. However, if you wanted to maintain AGM deep cycle batteries, then you would be able to use the smaller 2 watt panels.
An MPPT solar charge controller is a ‘maximum power point tracking’ solar charge controller. This means that it will optimize the match between the solar array of photovoltaic panels and the battery bank that you are using. To convert a higher voltage from solar panels down to the amount needed to charge batteries, an MPPT solar charge controller is what you need.
This also helps you to ensure that you are making the best use of all the components in your solar power set-up. You’ll avoid over-charging the battery and likewise, you’ll be able to ensure that you are making use of all the power that your solar panels generate.
With that in mind then, read our MPPT solar charge controller reviews to discover the best in class and get the best investment for your own system.
The Best MPPT Solar Charge Controller Reviews
EPEVER 40A MPPT Solar Charge Controller
This product from EPEVER is a powerful solar charge controller that can help you to save a lot of energy and keep your solar batteries lasting as long as possible. This is a 100 volt photovoltaic tracer and comes with a remote meter to let you see precisely the power you’re generating. It also has a convenient temperature sensor and LCD for seeing all of that information. It’s a little complex to install and not the most affordable, but it is rich in features and will certainly do the job in most homes.
SolarEpic MPPT 40A Solar Charge Controller
This is a much more powerful solar charge controller for those that have invested in large, powerful solar batteries. It’s a large device with lots of ports and a generic design. It supports 4 charging options for sealed, gel, flooded and user-defined. It also features temperature control, load short and more and supports PC monitoring software and remote meter.
In short, this is everything you could need for a more industrial grade solar battery set-up and for getting the very most from your own installation. It’s expensive but will be up to the most challenging tasks.
DROK MPPT Solar Battery Charge Controller
This MPPT solar charge controller is considerably more affordable and a lot easier to set up, though it lacks some of the more advanced features of the EPEVER model. Nevertheless, it will certainly do the job when it comes to letting you get the most from your solar battery and provides another convenient readout for keeping track of energy spent and saved. That’s a full color LCD no loess.
The bright green of the device itself is an interesting choice, but it sure does stand out! For 12-60V.
ALLPOWERS 20A Solar Charge Controller
This is the best solar controller in terms of affordability and convenience for many users. It has a convenient USB output for charging your devices and will provide 12V/24V. That means it isn’t suitable for every scenario, but if you want to reliably charge your solar power bank or smartphone, it will do the job just nicely. It has an LCD display and a very easy installation and low price – a great choice for those just getting into solar battery power!
GreeSonic Authentic MPPT Solar Charge Controller
This is a similar model to the ALLPOWERS solar charge controller, being able to provide 12V/24V for easily charging your devices. It’s considerably less user friendly however and a fair bit more expensive too.
What it does have going for it though is a waterproof build, which means you can be a lot more relaxed about where you choose to install this particular controller. That’s a useful feature for anyone using a solar generator or battery outdoors, or who keeps their set-up in a moist attic space.
More Ways to Make the Most of Your Solar Power
As you can see, there is a lot more to getting the most from your solar power than simply installing some panels and forgetting about it.
By investing in the best solar charge controller, you’ll be able to avoid damaging your battery and you’ll be able to ensure that the voltage is matched to that battery so that none of the power you generate gets wasted.
Using an MPPT charge controller from our MPPT charge controller reviews, suggests that you already have a battery – whether that’s because you’re directly powering a specific appliance or because you’re storing energy in a solar battery. This is already a smart move as it means that you aren’t reliant on the sun being out at the precise time that you will need the energy. Without a battery, a solar panel is able to generate energy only when the sun is up and for many of us, that means generating the most energy while we’re away at work! This is why some people will sell power back to the grid, in order to avoid that power going to waste.
But with a battery, you can collect that power during the day when the sun is high and use it in the evening. With the best solar controller, you can rest assured that leaving the battery to charge all day while you’re out won’t cause that battery to get damaged or shorten its lifespan.
What else can you do to get more from your solar panel array?
One key consideration is the angle of your solar panels. Choosing the optimal angle for your solar panels will mean that you can collect the most light possible. This optimal angle will also change throughout the day and throughout the year – how often you wish to change that angle is up to you.
Positioning your solar panels in the right place to begin with is of course also important! As is having the most solar panels possible in a series in order to soak up the most light.
Using Multiple Devices
But why not use more than just a solar panel array? Why not also use solar powered batteries for your phone? Why not use a solar heater for your pool? Why not use solar powered lighting in the garden?
Or a solar powered attic fan?
It all ads up and the more solar powered installations, the better your energy saving.
Getting the Most From Your Energy
The final piece of the puzzle is to make that energy go further, by being more careful about how you use it.
Many of us want to live in a more energy efficient and eco-conscious manner. Not only do we all know how dire the consequences of our actions can be for the planet when we do not consider our energy use, but at the same time we can all also benefit from the money savings that going green represents.
While most of us would like to go green however, most of us have only a basic idea as to how we can do that. We might turn our heating down, we might swap to energy saving lightbulbs… but really that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to energy saving techniques. If you really want to maximize efficiency in your home and make the most of your MPPT charge controller, then there are many, many other ways to save yourself money and to run your appliances on less power. Read on to discover just some of those less obvious ways to save energy.
Use Less Energy With Your Boiler
Heating up water accounts for a great proportion of our energy usage, and particularly when we bath or shower. To save a lot of this energy though, you might want to start sharing bath water – particularly if you have a large family. For couples meanwhile, sharing a shower can be an even more energy efficient way to wash.
This is important whether you heated up the water using solar or otherwise!
Use Less Energy With Your Air-Con
If you want to use less power on your air conditioning, then one easy trick that can help you accomplish that is to paint your walls white. By doing that, you will enable your property to reflect more light and heat away from the walls and thus help it to stay cooler.
Another way you can cool down a hot property, is to invest in shades to protect your windows from the sun. This will help you to keep bright light and glare out of your home, but at the same time it will also keep direct sunlight off of the glass in your windows. This can prevent them from getting too hot which will reduce the temperature in your home as a result.
Turning Down the Brightness and the Volume
You know how when you’re trying to save juice on your laptop or phone you turn down the brightness? Well the same strategy works when your devices are plugged in. Turn down the brightness on the television, or even the volume, and you’ll find that you can end up using less energy while you watch the television.
Seeing as many of us will run our gadgets from solar batteries, this is a direct way to save that solar energy. Why invest in the best solar controller if you are just going to waste the energy on really bright screens? Especially as that’s no good for your eyes….
Re-Wire Your Extractor Fan
Bathroom fans are very useful for reducing the moisture in your bathroom which ultimately is good for your property and your energy efficiency. As such, many bathroom fans are tied into the main light in those rooms to prevent homeowners from forgetting to use them. However, what this is not so good for is your energy bill in the short-term.
To save energy then if you have an electric shower, consider rewiring the extractor fan to link with your shower rather than your light. This time you won’t be running the fan unnecessarily every single time that you go to the toilet or wash your hands. If you can’t do this then of course an electrician will be able to.
Turn Your Thermostat Down One Degree
Heating is another big culprit when it comes to our energy consumption. While you probably knew that already though, it might still surprise you to learn that turning the heating down by even a single degree on your thermostat over the course of a year can save you a significant amount of cash.
The best way to decide on the setting you want to keep your thermostat at then, is to try turning it down a single degree each day until the point where it becomes uncomfortable. Now turn it up one more degree, and you will have found the level you should keep it at.
Just as a few changes to your home can help keep it cooler to save your AC costs, so can a few touches help you to keep heat in. One of the best examples is simply to use cushions in your living room. These will act as insulators and can help keep the overall temperature just that little bit warmer – maybe allowing you to go down one more degree on your thermostat.
As you can see then, there are countless ways you can keep your property cooler and a huge number of tricks available for the eco conscious. Think outside the box, keep innovating, and share the ideas you come up with. Do this and use tools like the best solar charge controllers and you can save more energy and money that you probably realize!