The Difference Between Batteries in Series vs Parallel

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Solar panels are a great way to generate electricity, but it is important to understand the difference between setting up solar panel batteries in series vs parallel. You may have heard of the term series and parallel battery setup. But what are they? 

In a nutshell, series and parallel batteries are basically two different ways to connect multiple batteries in series or parallel, respectively. So when it comes to solar batteries is series or parallel best?

In this article, we will discuss the main difference between batteries in series vs parallel and which method is best. We will also talk about mixing the two methods together and other interesting tips. 

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Series Battery

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Parallel Battery

What is a Series Connection?

Batteries in series are battery banks that are hooked up in series — that means each battery in the bank has its own individual current flowing through it. This means that every battery in the bank is charged up at the same time.

What is a Parallel Connection?

Parallel Connection

In parallel connections, the batteries are hooked up and charged separately to the charger, not together like in a series connection. The batteries are charged one at a time using this method.  

How Does A Series Solar Panel Connection Work?

Solar panel systems are usually set up in series, where all batteries are connected together using a single cable. A series connection is also known as series solar panel connection. 

Also Read: How Solar Batteries Work

In a series connection, the positive connector from one solar panel is connected to the negative panel of another panel. This process is repeated until all panels you want to use are connected. The single remaining cable is connected to the charger/controller. 

How Does A Parallel Solar Panel Connection Work?

In a parallel connection, all solar panels are connected to the same voltage regulator. This means that you will need to make more connections between the solar panels to gain more power.

In essence, when batteries are set up using the parallel method, the batteries never actually connect to one another. They only plug into the charger/inverter.

With a parallel connection, when one is discharged, the power is provided to the next, making sure that the charge is not depleted before it reaches the battery in series.

Mixing Solar Panels In Series And Parallel Connections

First, you need to decide on which direction the solar panels need to be connected. If the solar panel is facing the direction the battery is connected, then the solar panels should be connected in the same direction. 

If the solar panels are facing the same direction, then you can have the solar panels connected in a different direction. In other words, you can have each solar panel connected to a different direction.

Voltage & Amps of wiring Solar Panels in Series vs Parallel 

To determine the amperage and voltage your solar panels are using, you need to calculate two things: the number of solar cells (the number of panels on the roof), and the overall wattage of the panels (the total electrical power generated by the panels). 

Here’s a quick example , let’s say we have 4 solar panels that are all the same. Each puts out 50 watts for 10 volts and 2.5 amps. 

IN SERIES 

  • Total voltage = 10 Volts x 4 = 40 Volts
  • Total current = 2.5 Amps
  • Total power = 40 Volts x 2.5 Amps = 100 Watts

IN PARALLEL

  • Total voltage = 10 Volts
  • Total current = 2.5 Amps X 4 = 10 Amps
  • Total power = 10 Volts x 10 Amps = 100 Watts

Which is Best? Series, Parallel, or a Combination?

On one hand, the series vs parallel debate could be a bit of an argument. But the best option depends on your needs and whether or not you are interested in a customized system. 

We would say for the money to go with a series connection: 

  • This is because you get much more voltage output which is important for storing more power. 
  • With an MPPT inverter being used, your power is expertly managed. 
  • All panels are normally exactly the same, leaving less to worry about when connecting them together.

Although a parallel setup will work just fine, it will give out more amps than a series setup, but not nearly as much voltage. 

Conclusion

In this article we talked all about the difference between batteries in series vs parallel. We hope you got some really good information out of it. 

We discussed the different ways to set up solar panel batteries in series and parallel setups. We also talked about how to calculate the voltage and amps using each method. 

In a nutshell, setting up solar panels in series or parallel, should be done in favor of battery size and your needs. Now you know how to set up solar panel batteries in series vs parallel. 

Good luck with your own solar panel setup.

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