Connecting two solar panels to one controller and one battery is very easy.
This article will explain to you how to do it, including a circuit diagram.
Step 1: Connect your battery to the controller
The first step is to connect your battery to the charge controller. It is crucial that you do this step first. If you connect the solar panels to the charge controller, you might risk destroying the charge controller in the process.
Wire thickness depends on the current that your charge controller is going to send to the batteries. For example, the Renogy Rover 20A delivers 20 amps to the battery. You need wires that are able to carry 20Amps or more and use a 20Amp fuse on the wire. Only fuse the positive wire. If you are using a flexible copper wire, you need this AWG12 wire with this fuse. Place the fuse as close to the battery terminals as possible.
You should end up with a setup like this:
Step 2: connect your solar panels together
In this step, you are going to connect your two solar panels together.
This can be done in series or in parallel. I have written an article about the pros and cons of both of them. You can read it here: Series VS parallel for solar panels. Here is the short version of that article:
Connecting your two panels in series will add up the voltage, while parallel will add up the current.
If you wire in series, you need a smaller diameter of wire than parallel. See the following circuit diagram on how to wire them.
The fuse rating is specified in the solar panel datasheet or on the sticker at the back of the panel. You can use an inline MC4 connector fuse.
Step 3: Connect the two solar panels to the charge controller
The wire from the solar panel will be too short to run to your charge controller. Use this wire to extend it so it can reach your charge controller.
Most of the time, you are going to use the series connection. So we will continue the example with the series connection.
Place your charge controller as close to your batteries as possible. Place your charge controller as close to the two solar panels as possible to minimize wire losses. If you have leftover wire from the solar panels to the charge controller, then shorten them to reduce losses.
Your DIY solar system will now look like this:
Step 4: Connect the loads
If you have small DC loads, you can connect them to the load terminal on the charge controller.
If you want to use an inverter, I recommend using the battery terminals.
See the following diagram as an example.
The diameter of the wires will depend on the current that will go through the wires. If the inverter uses 100 amps of current, you need to size your cable and fuses for that current. I go into a lot more detail on sizing your own solar system and wires in my book off-grid solar power simplified. It’s available on Amazon in digital and paperback version.
Connecting two solar panels to one charge controller and one battery is not that hard to do.
You just need to follow these instructions on the page and use the circuit diagrams I have show you.
If you have questions, make sure to send me an email or leave a comment below.