Mixing Solar Panels that are Mismatched

So you have two or more panels that are mismatched and you want to connect them together?

In this article, I’m going to tell you the best way to wire mixed or mismatched solar panels.

If you have identical solar panels, I recommend reading my guide on how to wire them in series or parallel.

Now, back to the topic at hand.

When you have mixed solar panels there are three ways to wire them:

  • Series
  • Parallel
  • Hybrid

In this article, we are going to talk about series and parallel.

But first some theory about solar panel characteristics. If you don’t understand this, then you won’t understand the reasoning behind it.

  • Solar radiation impacts current
  • Temperature impacts voltage
  • Series adds up voltage
  • Parallel adds up current

Mixing Mismatched Solar Panels

Luckily there are only two variables that we have to take into account. These are current and voltage.

As previously mentioned, when we connect solar panels in series, the voltage gets added up.

When we connect solar panels in parallel, the current gets added up. Now, how can we use these characteristics to our advantage when we are mixing solar panels?

Same Current

When your panels have the same current but different voltage, you need to wire your panels in series. This is because the voltage gets added up, while the current stays the same. You can see this happening in the following diagram.

mixing solar panels series
mixing solar panels in series

Same Voltage

When your panels have the same voltage but different current, you need to wire your panels in parallel. This is because the current gets added up, while the voltage stays the same. You can see this in the following diagram.

mixing solar panels parallel
mixing solar panels in parallel

Conclusion

When you have panels with the same current, then wire in series.

If you have panels with the same voltage, then wire in parallel.

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