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Tilting Solar Panels Wired In Series


Al F

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If you have solar panels wired in series, and you want to tilt the panels, you need to tilt all the panels and not just a few. In this video they show the benefits of the power gain, but the power gain didn't happen until the very last of 6 panels was tilted. The output stayed at ~37-38amps as each of the panels was tilted until the last panel was tilted when it went to ~51 amps.

 

I believe this is because of the shading effect. With one panel is still flat it is just like partly shading the panel. It seems to me that with one of 6 panels in the video still flat, that panel is in effect partially shaded because the sun is not hitting it at the same angle as if it was perpendicular (sp?) to the sun as the others are.

 

If you have solar panels you can see for yourself the effect of shading. Just go up and shade one of the 20 or so rectangular 3"x5" (apx size) silicon chips and see how much power you loose.

 

If you have panels in series, shading part of any one panel, affects the output of all the panels in that series string.

 

Any thoughts or comments, pro or con, about this posting are welcome.

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I have six in series, and yes, the amperage doesn't rise until the last panel is up. That's the nature of series circuits: the amperage is the same everywhere, and any bottleneck limits the total amps. I think of it like a series of water pumps, all with the same size orifice. Each panel adds to the pressure, but not the volume. However, if any one of the pumps as a smaller orifice, then the output is strangled by that one. It's the 'weakest link' analogy too.


As far as actual shading goes with all panels tilted, that's a bit more difficult because of bypass diodes. They can really help to keep the string output up by only shutting down a part of the panel.


Series works well for me because I'm rarely in shade, and I can use the #10 wire that was put in at the factory.

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I agree Al, we all know how much tilting can improve solar energy harvest and are aware of the series versus parallel connection differences, and yes indeed, how one shaded (or not similar oriented) series panel can drastically reduce output. Despite all that, I went with a series configuration to increase voltage and thereby reduce current and minimize voltage drop down to my charge controller. As you discovered and study shows, you just have to tilt ALL your panels to achieve the maximum harvest. I have fun when my buddy has his portable panel sitting on the ground and I stand in front of it or put my lawn chair there and his ammeter drops significantly lol

 

John T NOT a Solar expert

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