Can 2 different solar panels work together?



Solar panels are an increasingly popular form of clean energy production, with the potential to greatly reduce one’s greenhouse gas emissions. Solar panels convert sunlight into usable energy in the form of electricity, which is then used to power household appliances and other electronics. While the advantages of solar are many, it is important to understand the implications of mixing different solar panels before attempting a multi-panel project.

Can 2 Different Solar Panels Work Together?
For most applications, solar panel manufacturers will advise against mixing panels from different vendors. This is because the electrical parameters of different panels such as voltage, wattage, and amperage may not be compatible with each other.

When considering two different solar panels, the most important electrical parameter to consider is the voltage. In order to produce the same amount of energy, two different solar panels must have the same voltage output. For example, two solar panels with different wattage expectations (one with 24V and the other with 36V) need to be wired in a series and not in parallel, as the voltage output of the two panels will differ.

Wattage is also an important electrical parameter to consider. Even if two solar panels have the same voltage output, they may not have the same wattage. The wattage of a solar panel is a combination of the voltage, current, and impedance-matching of the panel, and as such must also be considered when mixing solar panels.

Lastly, it is important to consider the amperage of two different solar panels. Different solar panels may have different amounts of current output or current draw, both of which must be factored in when wiring two different panels together.

Wiring Considerations
When attempting to install multiple solar panels from different vendors, it is important to take into account the following considerations; voltage, wattage, and amperage.

When wiring two different solar panels of different voltages, they must be wired in a series and not in parallel. This is because when panels of different voltages are wired in parallel, the voltage of each panel will not be balanced, leading to an uneven load on the wiring and potential overload or short circuit.

When wiring two solar panels of different wattages, it is important to use the total wattage between the two panels. For example, if one panel has a wattage of 120W and the other has a wattage of 60W, the total wattage should be used when calculating the load and current draw of the system.

Finally, when wiring two different solar panels with different current output or current draw, they must be wired in a way that ensures the total current draw of the system does not exceed the rated current of either panel. Otherwise, the system will be at risk of overload or short circuit.

Mixing two different solar panels has the potential to cause numerous problems, some of which could irreparably damage the solar equipment. These include power output disparities, where one panel produces less voltage or wattage than the other, incompatible electrical signals, and potential overheating of the wiring due to unequal load.

It is also important to note that when two incompatible solar panels are wired together, the output of the system will not be as efficient as if only one type of panel was used. This is because the wattage, voltage, and amperage output of the two panels will not evenly match up, leading to a decreased output from the system.

Best Practices
When considering combining two different solar panels, it is important to adhere to the following best practices; use a recommended best mix, use a certified solar installer, and understand the manufacturer warranties.

The first step when attempting to mix two different solar panels is to use a recommended best mix. Different solar panel vendors will be able to provide best practice recommendations based on their tests and research. It is important to understand what is recommended and compare different solar panel systems in order to ensure compatibility.

When attempting a multi-panel solar installation, it is also important to use a certified solar installer. It is also important to be aware of the warranty of the solar panels being used, as certain manufacturers may not warranty their product if it is being used in conjunction with another panel.

Mixing two different solar panels is not something recommended by solar panel vendors or manufacturers. However, if it is done correctly, with the proper electrical parameters being considered, it is possible to mix two different solar panels. When considering a multi-panel solar project, it is important to adhere to best practices such as using a recommended best mix and working with a certified solar installer. Ultimately, the question of “can 2 different solar panels work together?” comes down to the electrical parameters and best practices of the solar panels being used.

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