Ultimate Guide to Solar Panels in Series vs. Parallel

There are two options for connecting multiple solar panels in a system: series and parallel. Your application will largely determine whether you wire your solar panels in series or parallel. How your solar panels are connected affects both the inverter you can use and the system efficiency of your system.  

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This page will go into more detail on solar panel series vs. parallel connections. This page aims to explain why wire solar panels are in series or parallel, compare their differences, pros, and cons, and discuss which connection is most beneficial based on your circumstances. Also, you will learn how Jackery solar panels are connected to power stations.

What Are Solar Panels in Series VS. Parallel

There may be a wide range of choices for wiring your solar panels, including in series, in parallel, or in a combination, which depends on the number of panels and their sizes. Aim to select a configuration that strikes a compromise between a high enough voltage to charge the batteries continuously and the least amount of overall power output loss. The output voltage and output current are the primary differences between wiring your solar panels in series vs. parallel.   

What Are Solar Panels in Series

Many people consider connecting solar panels in series as they become more affordable and effective. Solar panels are linked in series and collectively produce energy. Because it enables the most sunlight to reach the panel and make the most power, this solar panel installation method is typically the most effective.

Solar panel series use does have some drawbacks, though. One drawback is that all the electricity one of the panels produces will be lost if it fails. All of your solar panels will be inactive until power is restored if there is a blackout or a storm that knocks out electricity to your house.

what are solar panels in series

What Are Solar Panels in Parallel

Parallel solar panels can produce more energy than those in sequence. They are also more effective because they can generate more power from sunlight. Putting your system together in parallel entails joining both the positive terminals of two panels and the negatives of each panel.

In contrast, wiring in series entails connecting a positive terminal of one panel to the negative of another. A positive connection connects the positive wires within a combiner box, and a negative connector connects the negative cables. PV output circuits are used to connect numerous solar panels in parallel.

what are solar panels in parallel

What Are Solar Panels in Series-Parallel

The charge controller is typically the only element that limits solar panel arrays. Charge regulators support only a specific range of amperage and voltage. In order to maintain those amperage and voltage limits for more extensive systems, we frequently need to get creative and use a series-parallel connection. A string is produced for this link by connecting two or more panels. The next step is to build and parallelize a similar line. There will be a significant power loss if four panels in a series are not paralleled with another 4.  

Solar Panels in Series VS. Parallel

Solar panels can be wired to build an electrical circuit in two different ways: in series and in parallel. The quantity of solar energy that can be significantly captured depends on whether solar panels are used in series or parallel. The following compares solar panels in series vs. parallel in several aspects.  

Series VS. Parallel: Volt & Amps

Volts, amps, ohms, and watts are the words used to describe electricity. Here is a brief explanation of each of these words. Electrical potential energy is quantified by voltage. On the other hand, Amps quantify electrical current and indicate the flow rate. The critical point to remember is that while wiring solar panels in tandem adds the amperage, wiring solar panels in series adds the voltages.

Connect the positive terminal on the first solar panel to the negative terminal on the second, and so forth, to wire solar panels in sequence. All of the panel voltages in the series will be added to produce the final voltage. However, the overall current will be the same as one panel's outgoing current.

Connect all positive terminals on each solar panel together before doing the same with the negative terminals to interconnect solar panels in parallel. The total amperages of the panels in the parallel arrangement make up the final current. The overall voltage will, however, be the same as the output voltage of a single screen.

volt _ amps in series vs parallel

Series VS. Parallel: Watts

What exactly are Watts? The unit we use to gauge an electrical system's strength is the Watt. Watts Equals Volts x Amps is the equation connecting watts, volts, and amps. The solar array's wattage is raised by connecting solar panels in series. It is because a greater total voltage is produced by combining the voltage of each panel. The power and current are increased. For this reason, it's crucial to ensure the panels work well together and can withstand higher power.

Essentially, you are joining all of the solar panels' positive and negative terminals when you wire them in parallel. With the total wattage of every solar panel in the string, a single long "string" of solar panels is created. Using a combiner box to connect the entire line of solar panels into a single larger circuit is crucial when wiring solar panels in parallel.  

wattss in series vs parallel

Series VS. Parallel: MC4 Connectors

The use of MC4 connectors is crucial when wiring solar panels in a series or parallel arrangement. The solar panels can easily be attached to these connectors' positive and negative terminals. Each solar panel's voltage is combined when wiring solar panels in series. The current of each solar panel is added together when wired in a parallel solar panel arrangement.

connectors in series vs parallel

Series VS. Parallel: Parts List

There are a few factors to consider when deciding whether to wire solar panels in series vs. parallel. The first is choosing the suitable solar panel model. Monocrystalline and polycrystalline are the two varieties. Although more expensive, monocrystalline solar cells are more efficient. Although less efficient, polycrystalline solar cells are less expensive.

The magnitude of the solar panel array is the second factor. How many solar cells can be connected in series or parallel depends on their size. While combining solar cells in parallel increases current, joining them in series increases the voltage. Other factors to consider when wiring solar panels include the wire size and fuses, but these will differ based on the application.

Series VS. Parallel: Shade

The energy generated varies throughout the day and year depending on the Sun's position in the heavens. The solar arrays are shaded and covered in clouds. It might not be a big deal for solar farms in expansive areas, but it is if you're in an RV or camper van. Parking under a tree or in a building's shadow affects the electricity output from the panels.

The power production from a solar panel decreases noticeably when shade impinges on any area of a parallel-wired solar array. The configuration's other panels, however, are unchanged. In contrast, the power output from a solar panel decreases when shade covers any portion of a solar array that is connected in series. And it drags down every other panel in the arrangement with it.

Series VS. Parallel: Battery Charging

We must consider the other photovoltaic system elements, particularly the batteries. The critical fact is that a 12-volt battery requires at least 12.6 volts to charge. Solar panels in a parallel configuration generate a low voltage of 17 to 22 volts depending on the panels. And at this point, the environment and the panels' ideal operating circumstances are met. When connected in parallel, four 100-watt panels with a combined maximum voltage of 17.9 volts could generate 17.9 volts. The same panels could generate 71.6 volts when connected in series.  

Series VS. Parallel: How to Wire

How are solar cells connected in series? The positive and negative wires on the solar panels should first be identified. The simplest method is to check the cables to see if they have been marked. For instance, solar panels' positive and negative wires were marked with plus and minus signs.  

  1. On solar panels, distinguish between the positive and negative wires.
  2. Lay the solar panels horizontally.
  3. Join the negative cable from the second solar panel to the positive wire from the first solar panel.
  4. Connect the solar panels to the solar charge controller.

How are solar cells parallel wired? Two identical solar panels, two Y branch connections, MC4 inline fuses, and a multimeter should all be present at the outset. Between the positive solar panel cables and the branch connection, MC4 inline fuses may need to be connected.

  1. Note the positive and negative wires as well.
  2. Lay the solar panels horizontally.
  3. Connect the cables to the Y branch connectors.
  4. Join the solar charge controller to the solar arrays.

Which One is Better: Series VS. Parallel

Now that we know the differences between wiring solar panels in series vs. parallel, we can discuss the preferable choice. If you can spend most of your time in areas that are not shaded, connecting your solar panels in series is frequently favored. Your solar panel system will function more effectively and efficiently at the start and end of the day and when it's cloudy, which is the primary justification for this.

The parallel wiring of your solar cells is another excellent choice. MPPT charge controllers may need to be more skilled for minor portable uses because of their high cost. A parallel system might be a fantastic choice if you have a small low-voltage system for an RV or boat in variable lighting circumstances.  

Pros and Cons of Solar Panels in Series VS. Parallel

People typically opt to connect solar panels in series. You'll spend less on cabling because it's simple and doesn't call for any special tools. The maximum Solar voltage of your charge controller is the most crucial factor to consider. Verify that the series string's maximum anticipated voltage does not go over this limit.

A little more caution is needed when wiring solar panels in parallel. To begin with, you should determine the maximum charging current that the charge controller is anticipated to output and confirm that all of your wiring and equipment is rated for that amount of current. Additionally, charge my battery's cell only as much as is advised, which could shorten its lifetime.  

Wiring Solar Panels

Pros

Cons

When to Use

Series

- No extra parts are required

- Keep current low

- Save money

- Series strings work better at the start and end of the day

- Not work well in shade

- The entire array output drops together

- Unshaded

- Using an MPPT charge controller

- Lower current ratings

Parallel

- Work well in shade

- Separate panels for power output 

- Charge faster

- Requires branch connectors

- Need to fuss the solar panels

- Pricey

- Mix-light condition

- Using a cheaper PWM charge controller

Jackery SolarSaga Solar Panels in Series VS. Parallel

Jackery empowers outdoor adventure by enabling clean charging efficiency and accessibility on or off the grid. Jackery portable solar panels can be folded and strapped for carrying and use. It is possible to make the most of the Sun and convert it into clean energy. Use solar panels combined with the Jackery power stations to charge your equipment. Jackery solar generators are the advanced off-grid solar-producing technology for improved backup management.

Jackery portable solar panelsÔÇÖ┬ácharging efficiency is┬áup to 25%, which uses solar energy to its fullest potential. It is simple to connect your power station and solar panel. Connect your portable power station's DC input to the DC interface. A portable power station and solar panels are combined in the solar solution.

jackery solar panels series vs parallel

SolarSaga 100W in Series or Parallel

The Jackery SolarSaga 100W solar panel is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts due to its collapsible, lightweight, and easy-carry handle. The multi-layered cell technology enables the solar panels' higher conversion efficiency of 23.7%. Solar Saga 100 features 1* USB-C output port and 1* USB-A output port to charge two small devices directly.  

How to wire:

This solar panel is compatible with the Jackery Explorer power stations, making it the ideal option for off-grid camping and unanticipated power outages. You only should find the DC interface on the back of SolarSaga 100W. Connect DC interfaces with solar charge adapter, and connect the adapter with power stations.

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Solar Panels in Series VS. Parallel FAQs

The following shows the frequently asked questions about solar panels in series vs. parallel:

1. Can I mix series and parallel solar panels?

To increase the wattage, you can pass through the solar controller. You can combine solar cells in series and parallel. The MTPP controller, which allows a certain number of amps to pass through, is currently one of the best solar controllers.

2. Do I wire 12V solar panels in series or parallel?

As required, 12-volt panels can be wired in either of these arrangements. Although each connection type has benefits and drawbacks, everything will be fine with how the panel is used. The two are different based on the voltage and amps entered into the processor. You determine whether installing solar panels in series or parallel is better.

3. Can I mix solar panels from different manufacturers with different electrical ratings?

You can combine solar panels from various manufacturers with different electrical ratings, but you must adhere to some essential rules. All solar cells in a series-wired solar array must have the same current (amperage) rating. Although the voltages of the panels will add up, the current output will be equivalent to that of the panel with the lowest rating in the series.

All solar cells in a parallel solar array should have the same voltage rating. The system output voltage, in this case, will be identical to the panel with the lowest voltage rating, but the current output will add together.   

Final Thoughts

This page describes the differences between wiring solar panels in series vs. parallel. Due to the lower amperage required in the wiring in series, you'll benefit from being able to use smaller gauge wiring. Smaller gauge wire is less expensive and simpler to work with. Since each panel operates separately, wiring in parallel removes the shading problem. A panel's output will be decreased if it is shaded. Mainly through parallel connecting, Jackery solar panels combine with power stations to make great use of solar energy!


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