Solar Charge Controller Function

By using a solar charge controller or regulator with your PV system, you can easily control the flow of electricity to and from a solar power battery, thereby regulating its charge and discharge. This helps to maximize the lifespan of your costly storage batteries.

Draining a battery completely, or overcharging it repeatedly, would greatly shorten its useful lifespan. A programmable battery charge controller prevents that from happening by allowing you to safely manage the discharge level. This article explains how it works.

How a Battery Charge Regulator Works

Solar Charge ControlerSolar Charge Controler for Photovoltaic Power Systems
(Source: ©Don Bell)

When the battery discharges to a certain level, the controller cuts off any further current drain to prevent the stored electrical charge from falling below the designed-in level.

Most controllers are factory designed to prevent deep cycle, lead acid batteries from discharging more than 50% of their capacity, thereby ensuring a longer lifespan.

For example, by programing the controller to stop at 50% depth of discharge, it will stop providing electrical power to the household when the battery is 50% drained, thereby extending its service life.

It also cuts off current flowing from the PV panels to the storage battery once it reaches a pre-set level of electrical charge stored to prevent damage from repeated overcharging.

How to Prolong Battery Storage Life

Solar Battery Charge RegulatorSolar Battery Charge Regulator

Completely draining all the power from a storage battery regularly can cause it to lose capacity and shorten its lifespan from 7 or 8 years to only 2 or 3, or maybe less. Having to replace solar storage batteries every couple of years will drastically decrease any energy savings you gain from your solar power system.

Quality PV panels will last 20 years or more, but even good deep cycle batteries may only last 10 years. Having to replace them prematurely increases the cost of the overall system.

So, the key to keeping your solar investment as low as possible, is by using a quality solar charge controller to maximize the lifespan of your battery bank.

See More Information about Solar Battery Storage

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