# Solar panels -- connect as parallel circuit or series circuit?

Hey,
I have searched in the internet for the good or the negative points for a parallel- or a series circuit with a solar cell. But i didnt find something.
I mean what is the difference when i connect many solar cells to a solar panel? What is better? A parallel or an series circuit?

I know that when i have a series circuit than i can add all the voltage together and it has enough power to charge something. But is this true and is this one point why a series circuit is better?

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BiGyElLoWhAt
Gold Member
Well, I would say series will give you a higher voltage, but there will be the same (total) current running through them. This means they will likely wear pretty fast. In a parallel setup, you will have the same (lower) voltage across all of them, and the current will be divided approximately equally. My suggestion would be to put enough in series to clear the necessary voltage, and then put a bunch of those chains in parallel to get the necessary current with minimal wear. Also, I would think that straight series setup would provide less current, but I'm not 100% on that.

CalcNerd
Gold Member
Large solar arrays are composed of both.
A small system needs to use series to obtain the voltage you need for your use. Upon getting to that number, now you buy the panels in multiples (to parallel) that value.

1. Reach the voltage required.
2. Add this configuration in #1 in parallel to meet the ampacity required for the load. Then add a few more because of below.

When you install cells in series, often any blockage of view from the sun on even a single cell reduces the current flow in that cell and hinders the whole series of that row of cells. That is why you want lots of parallel sets of solar cells.

BiGyElLoWhAt
BiGyElLoWhAt
Gold Member
Beat ya

CalcNerd
Gold Member
Like a drum!!!!

So the movement in the market is to get as high of a voltage as possible, to reduce the cabling needed due to the lower current. Each parallel unit typically has a blocking diode, which has a small V drop ( ~ 0.55V as schottky diodes are often used here) - this results in both losses per I * Vdrop and reduced the V available at the terminals of the array, the diode also prevents the panels from back radiating energy at night when directly connected to a battery array - or for an on line inverter, the inverter will act as a rectifier unless there is a mechanical disconnect - operated every day ( this is not preferred due to cost and reliability concerns).
So the best solution will be matched to the application - and the MPPT range that serves this load.

anorlunda
Staff Emeritus
Your panels wil be feeding a controller/inverter it comes with a spec sheet showing the recommended way to wire the panel's.