The voltage, which can be understood as the potential difference produced by a solar module or array, critically influences the system’s efficiency, cost, and ROI. As solar power gain traction in both commercial and residential sectors, choosing one between 12V vs 24V solar panels is crucial. This article will delve deeper into the difference between both variations of PV panels to assist you in selecting the most suitable product.
12V Vs. 24V Solar Panel
In the move towards sustainable energy, 12V and 24V solar panels stand out as eco-friendly, cost-effective choices. While they serve a core energy conversion purpose, their applications, capacities, and costs differ. This guide will briefly discuss the difference between 12v and 24v solar panels while providing insights into their structure, applications, and technical specifics.
12V Solar Panel
The voltage of the 12V solar panel is generated by smaller photovoltaic cells. These panels come in a variety of shapes, primarily square or rectangular, and sizes range from small enough for a pocket to large enough for massive rooftop installations. Because of their adaptability, they can power a wide range of household items, from refrigerators to laptops. Some even function as on-the-go smartphone chargers. The 12V solar system, which has roughly 36 cells each producing 0.5V, is one of the most common nowadays. It functions essentially as a portable, stand-alone power device that absorbs and converts sunlight into electricity.
24V Solar Panel
The 24V solar panel is built in the same way as the 12V structure. Despite having roughly double the number of cells, it stands out. It is capable of powering a full home when paired with a 24V system and also allows for voltage variations using transformers. These panels are frequently found in apartment buildings, medical centers, and hotels. Despite its similarities to the 12V system, the 24V system is distinct in that it has 72 solar cells and generates 24V, making it compatible with both 24V and 12V electronic equipment due to its increased voltage and wattage output ranging from 1500W to 2000W.
12V Vs. 24V Solar Panel Specification
To provide you with a comprehensive understanding of each panel, a detailed specification is listed below:
1. Battery Compatibility
The rating of a solar panel is determined by the battery rating. In general, a 12V solar panel should be used with a 12V battery, and a 24V solar panel should be used with a 24V battery. It’s worth noting that a 24V battery isn’t available on the market, but you can make one by connecting two 12V batteries in series.
- 24V Panel: This panel is paired with a 24V battery (created by connecting two 12V batteries in series).
- 12V Panel: This panel is paired with a 12V battery.
2. Inverter Compatibility
The solar panel, like the battery, must be compatible with the inverter’s rating.
- 12V Battery Setup: Connects to a 12V inverter and a 12V solar panel.
- 24V Battery Setup: Connects to a 24V inverter and a 24V solar panel. (It is made by linking in series).
3. Charge Controller Compatibility
A charge controller’s rating should match the ratings of the inverter and battery. If there is a 12V battery and 12V inverter, a 12V Charge controller should be used; likewise, a 24V Charge controller is recommended.
Moreover, the rating of the solar panels should not be higher than that of the charge controllers. There are a variety of charge controllers and panels available, with ratings ranging from:
- 10W Panel: 1A
- 20W Panel: 2.5A
- 180W Panel: 9A
- 350W Panel: 8-9A
12V solar panel specifications elaborate its usage with a variety of devices such as street lights, vans, small houses, stores, solar bags, computers, phones, academic projects, and small water pumps.
24V solar panel specifications elaborate its usage to power larger applications such as large households, hospitals, banks, large offices, factories, apartment buildings, government organizations, and solar parks.
For a better understanding, check out our blog – Understanding the Specifications of Solar Panels and How to Read Them
5. Range and Capacity
12V panels are available in a variety of capacities ranging from 10W to 180W.
On the other hand, according to 24V solar panel specifications, these panels are predominantly available in 330W and 350W capacities.
If interested, also check out How Much Energy to Make a Solar Panel?
Prices for 12V and 24V solar panels vary according to the panel’s wattage and brand. 24-Volt panels cost between $170 and $550 approximately and have more wattage. The 12-Volt panels cost between $110 and $140 approximately. However, the 24-Volt panels demand more batteries and space.
Cross-Reference: Comparison of PV systems with maximum DC voltage 1000V and 1500V
Difference Between 12V and 24V Solar Panels
Solar energy brings numerous advantages, making it a preferred energy choice for many. Below is a concise comparison between 12V and 24V solar panels based on specific features:
|12V Solar Panel
|24V Solar Panel
|Households and Portable
|Few (36 Cells)
|More (72 Cells)
Therefore, the decision between 12V vs 24V which is better for you depends on your energy needs and application. While 12V panels are suitable for smaller installations such as houses, 24V panels, due to their increased capacity, are better suited for bigger activities such as industrial installations.
Considering power outages, appliance runtime during load shedding, and the ratings of associated components like batteries, inverters, and charge controllers will guide the decision-making process. Finally, analyzing your demands and contacting a solar energy specialist will lead you to the most sustainable and efficient option.
12V Vs 24V Which is Better For You?
When it comes to solar panels, the decision often narrows down to two primary options 12V and 24V panels. Although both play a crucial role in converting sunlight to power, they cater to distinct purposes and environments. In the 12V vs 24V solar panel comparison let us go through their advantages and disadvantages to understand better:
1. 12V Solar Panel
The advantages of 12V solar panels include:
- Cost-effective upfront compared to monthly electricity bills.
- High efficiency due to compact design.
- Compatible with a wide range of gadgets, batteries, and 12V appliances.
- Widespread use ensures abundant related components such as inverters, fuses, and solar batteries.
- Low maintenance and long-lasting.
- Expandable allowing for the addition of extra panels as needed.
- Lightweight and portable.
- Significant heat loss as a result of the low voltage.
- Limited to compatibility with just 12V appliances.
2. 24V Solar Panel
- Minimal heat loss with higher voltage, making it more efficient than 12V panels
- Larger-scale installation is simpler and more affordable
- Produces a high voltage utilizing 72 batteries.
- Lower voltage loss due to reduced current
- Can be used with both 12V and 24V appliances.
- Heat retention leads to higher efficiency
- Pricier compared to 12V panels
- Limited compatibility with appliances that are not 12V/24V.
Therefore, when evaluating 12V and 24V solar panel specifications and advantages, it becomes clear that both panels are capable of generating domestic electricity and are available in a variety of sizes, including portable versions. If charging batteries is your primary goal, 12V solar panel specifications include its advantage to work well with a 150 Ah battery.
24V panels, on the other hand, offer more efficiency for larger installations, making them a great option for more extensive energy requirements. Before making a final decision, make sure the panel is compatible with your household appliances. If not, the system may require an investment in a linear voltage regulator.
Ultimately, the comparison between 12V vs 24V solar panels should align with your specific requirements and application. 12V panels, known for their simplicity and compatibility, are optimal for smaller settings such as RVs and boats. On the other hand, 24V solar panels, with their unique specifications, are better suited for larger installations, offering superior efficiency and cost benefits. Therefore, it’s vital to thoroughly assess your energy needs and budget, so you can plan for future scalability.