12V / 24V Power & Distribution > Solar power
Solar power is usually the most efficient and easiest way to keep your domestic batteries charged up. It's also probably the cheapest and neatest.
As the UK distributor for NDS and Votronic, we can offer a wide variety of panels, regulators and other accessories. This means we can ensure that you get precisely the system that gives you what you want and what your batteries need. For advice and additional information, get in touch with us.
As with all the products that we supply, the quality is high and the prices competitive. We also like to have options that our competitors just can't or don't want to offer. Votronic regulators for example may cost a little more than Chinese made ones but they are extremely reliable and very efficient.
Our "Aero" solar panels come from NDS in Italy and not only work well but look great too. SuperFLEX solar panels from MiPV are becoming more and more popular, especially with people whose campervans have elevating roofs. Because SuperFLEX panels are extremely flexible, they can be installed in places where other panels just won't go and, because of the CIGS technology they use, total power output over the course of a day can be higher than standard, silicon panels.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, you should not connect 2 charge controllers to a single battery.
The charge controller measures the state of the battery and determines the charge condition required at any one time. Two charge controllers connected at the same time will confuse each other and create possible errors in the charge current required.
Yes, but only if the panels are connected in series and are from the same manufacturer and of the same technology type. ie. MiPV CIGS + MiPV CIGS or NDS Silicon + NDS Silicon.
Different technologies must not be mixed as there are differences in the characteristics of each technology. Different manufacturers using the same technology also exist, so even mixing silicon panels from different manufactures in the same string is not recommended without fully investigating the cell specifications.
There are two kinds of diodes used with solar panel installations: blocking diodes and bypass diodes.
Blocking diodes are needed when using 2 or more panels in parallel - one diode per additional panel. This is to protect panels that are connected in parallel and one panel is shaded. In this scenario, the panel that is not shaded will produce power which can then be consumed by the panel that is in the shade. This is known as "reverse bias" and can famage the cells in the shaded panel/s.
Bypass diodes allow a series of connected cells (called a string) to continue supplying power at a reduced voltage rather than no power at all when in shadowed or shaded situations. Bypass diodes are connected in reverse bias between a solar cell's positive and negative output terminals and have no effect on its output. When the cells in a string are in light and producing power, if one or two are shaded they stop producing power and consume some power as they are in reverse bias. To prevent this a diode is placed across them. Now, when the cells go into reverse bias, the current simply jumps across them by means of the diode. In MiPV CIGS modules, diodes are laminated into the module – one per pair of cells. In a traditional silicon module these diodes would be fitted in the junction box providing protection for pairs of strings within the module. As a result, MiPV modules perform better in shaded conditions as only two cells are affected by partial shading whereas two entire strings would be affected in a silicon panel.
Fuses provide an additional layer of security to a solar circuit and are in place to stop any damage to the solar panel / charge controller caused by external faults in the installation and to protect other equipment if there is a fault in the solar circuit. There are typically 3 locations that can benefit from fuses:
- Between the charge controller and the battery bank.
- Between the charge controller and the solar panels.
- Between the battery bank and an inverter.
An IEC approved module will always have its maximum system current indicated on the product rating label.