What’s worse? Mismatched solar panels with different amps in series or parallel?



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If you have different wattage solar panels, the same voltage but different amps, which is the better way to wire the solar panels together in your DIY solar system – series or parallel? In this video, we take two 24V solar panels, and wire them in parallel and in series into an MPPT charge controller to a deep cycle battery. Then we’ll, measure the output to determine which method is better for maximizing your solar power production. The results may surprise you.

48 thoughts on “What’s worse? Mismatched solar panels with different amps in series or parallel?

  1. If you are starting each test with a different battery voltage, then it may throw off the results somewhat. I saw a 12.5 on one test and a 12.4 on another test and since it is only 1 digit display after the decimal, it might even be more than a 0.1 volt difference at startup. 0.1V difference on a 12V battery represents about a 10% difference in state of charge. Please be more careful next time.

  2. These are the results of using your MPPT controller but should any conclusion be drawn about MPPT controllers in general from this? If not, then you should state that. Perhaps a different MPPT controller would show 10+ amps for either series or parallel hookup of these same panels under similar sun conditions.

  3. It would have been helpful if it was stated that parallel isn't necessarily always the best option for mismatched panel and it depends on how they are mismatched. If they were different voltages with the same current output, series would have been better.

  4. For maximum output when connecting different panels together, connect panels with equal current outputs in series and connect panels with equal voltages in parallel. If neither the current outputs or the voltage outputs are close, don't bother hooking them together unless you can find a series/parallel combination that will yield a matching result. (ie: two 12 volt/5 amp panels in parallel then connected in series to a single 12 volt/10 amp panel).

  5. Hi,
    Great explanation. Can you help me with my arrays?
    I have a 5KVA MPPT solar inverter. 12 panels 340 watts 24V mono, and 3 panels 320 watts 24V Poly.
    What would be the best way to array them up for best performance. I can remove one 340 watt mono panel if need be.

    Thanks.

  6. I actually was planning on doing this but could use some verification. If I have 2 100 watt 12v panels and 2 160 watt 12v panels that I want to run at 24v to the MPPT. Would I wire the 2 100 watt panels in series and then the 2 160 watt panels in series and then wire the 2 combinations in parallel?

  7. I have both same wattage solar panels connected in parallel (250w -7.99 amp each) on my Smppt20D and I'm using a 1500watts inverter, the problem is that I can only use a fan. I can't even power a t.v with it.
    But instead if I connects the inverter directly to the battery it works.
    How can I make it works using the load connection from The MPPT?
    please help me 🙂

  8. totally true
    the solar to load ratio is (3.84A * 12.6V) / 100W OR (7.55A * 12.9V) / 200W both equals 48%
    in series the Imp will be the minimum Imp of them: 2.78A and the volts will be added
    then
    2.78 * (36 * 2) * 0.48= 96.08 W ( approximately 94 W)

  9. if we keep this mismatched solar setup till long , will i damage the solar panel / cells ? or not ? because the large amount of current will pass from the smaller sola rpanel / cell ?

  10. I enjoy watching all the videos put out by the Alt E store. Not only does it educate people looking to install solar panels, I am now looking to buy products from them when the time comes, such as a charge controller, combiner box, etc. Amy has been doing a fantastic job. Thank you for taking the time to make all of these videos.

  11. DOUBT!
    If the Imp(measured) of panel 1 is 3.83Amp then how current equal to 7.6 Amp can flow in a Series circuit, as we all know in an array connected in series the total current flowing in array is equal to the smallest current delivered by cell/panel.
    Kindly clear the doubt !

  12. Thanks for that. I have a 48v system with 180w and 190w panels. Two 24vdc, wired in series to make 48vdc arrays. I also have 6 each 280 w panels at 24vdc I want to add to the system to make three more arrays but had someone that it wasn't recommended that I do that. Is that true and why? I have a Xantrex MPPT 60 charge controller and 4800 w Xantrex XW series inverter I purchased from you guys a while back. Appreciate your help and the informative video.

  13. the series setup will give better results if you place the bigger Panel on left And smaller on right. in Other take the negative from smaller Panel And connect it in charge controller negative input And take positive from the bigger Panel And connect it into charge controller positive input.

  14. That series test didn't make any sense. It definitely should have been better. When you put the two in parallel, their Vmp won't be exact and one would drag down the other making a small loss. But in series would not have that loss. Are you sure you didn't exceed the voltage input of the MPPT? That would explain this.

  15. Superbly useful post, many thanks! Very well explained, incl diagram at end. I was wondering what parallel and series meant, now I know. Very much appreciated. Subscribed!

    FYI… The key to less wind noise, is to get a sock for your microphone. Assuming you have an overhead microphone, you slip this wind sock over it. Looks like a fuzzy sock. Cuts back on external noise a lot. The film pros use it.

  16. Parallel becomes especially important in situations where you have shading running across different panels. If you had a 1000 watt array of 10x 100 watt panels, and one panel was shaded, you would literally destroy 900 watts of the power. In parallel, this wouldn't happen. Nice video. 🙂

  17. That was predictable, same voltage different amperage, parallel will add the amps (voltage is matched).
    If you had similar amps, different voltage, wire in series, voltage adds.
    Wiring in series with different amperage will limit the output of the most powerful one.

  18. I have my bird shed with two miss match panels so I ran 2 PWM controllers independent to my batteries. wouldn't that be better or if you had the money two independent MPPT to get full usage from your panels?
    I would like to know your recommendation on the best Mppt for 300v dc solar Id like to replace my grid tie.

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