Solar Charge Controller-What is It?
Solar manufacturing businesses are flourishing as demand for unconventional and sustainable energy is on the rise. A solar charge controller uses and optimises solar power in such a manner that it increases the lifespan of batteries without leaving any brunt on the environment. Solar charge controller reduces the rate at which electric current is drawn from and added to the batteries.
These charge controllers fundamentally use solar energy and do the following two things:
- A) Prevent the electric current from the batteries to go through the solar panels in the absence of sunlight
- B) Using power from the solar panels to optimise the charging of especially deep-cycle batteries and thus upturning its lifespan
It is, however, pertinent to note that use of a controller is recommended for solar chargers that are rated 15 watts and upwards. The controller works in such a manner that it maintains the necessary voltage that the batteries need while charging. For example, during days when the sunlight is harsh and thus the solar panels produce more voltage, the solar charge controller regulates overcharging of the batteries.
These controllers also monitor the temperature of the batteries and check overheating.
These days, multi-charge solar charge controllers work in a three-stage process, which can be explained as follows:
- Bulk phase: The bulk phase implies to the one wherein the voltage, while charging, progressively increases to the bulk level (generally between 14.4 to 14.6 volts). This is the stage wherein the batteries draw the maximum electric current. After reaching the bulk stage, comes the absorption level.
- Absorption stage: The batteries charged with electric current enter this phase and remain here for a specified period (usually notfor more than an hour). The electric current gradually tapers off during this stage as the batteries get charged.
- Float: This is third level wherein the solar power controllers lower the voltage in charged batteries to float level (generally between 13.4 to 13.6 volts). Also, the batteries draw a brief maintenance current (this is required until the next charge cycle).
These days, for the ease of large businesses, solar power controllers also come equipped with additional features such as: adjustable control voltage set points, low-voltage disconnect, overload protection and metering amongst others.