If your Solar Charge Controller is the brains of your Solar system, an MPPT Solar Charge Controller would be the genius. As we’ve discussed, a 12 Volt Solar Panel will have a Max Power Voltage of around 18 Volts, and an Open Circuit Voltage (Voc) of around 22 Volts. A 12 Volt Battery will only accept up to 13.8 Volts while charging. Any voltage over 13.8 would be wasted energy, unless you have a Max Power Point Tracking Solar Charge Controller.
To understand how Max Power Point Tracking works you need to know a few things about electricity. An analogy using a plumbing scenario is helpful to visualize the relationship between Volts, Amps, and Watts.
Visualize a pipe with water running through it into a container. If the water pressure remains constant as the diameter of the pipe increases, the volume of water entering the container also increases.
In this scenario Voltage is equivalent to water pressure. Amperage would be equivalent to the diameter of the pipe or resistance. Wattage would be the volume of water passing through the pipe. The container capturing the water (or Wattage) is the Battery.
If the Volts (pressure) remain constant as the Amperage (pipe diameter) increases, the Wattage (volume) increases, and the Battery (container) fills up faster. This is exactly what a Max Power Point Tracking Solar Charge Controller does. When there is excess Voltage available, an MPPT Charge Controller converts the unused Volts to Amps, and inputs a constant Voltage at a higher current into the Battery, charging the Battery faster.
The same thing happens when you hook your car Battery up to a Charger. Most car Battery Chargers have a dial that you can turn to “Boost Charge”. Turning the dial to Boost doesn’t increase the Voltage entering your Battery. It keeps the Voltage constant and increases the Amperage at which the constant Voltage is entering the Battery, thus increasing the Watts and charging the Battery faster.
This is especially beneficial in areas that have severe winters, with low Peak Sun Hours and potential snow and ice build-up on the Solar Panel. When the Sun does shine, the Max Power Point Tracking Solar Charge Controller takes advantage of it to provide your Battery with a “Boost Charge”.
All of Vorp Energy’s Turn-Key, Plug and Play, Solar Power Kits include a Max Power Point Tracking Solar Charge Controller.