MPPT charge controller calculator: Find the right solar charge controller for your system

MPPT solar charge controllers are rated in amps (Output Current). To select a charge controller, you’ll need to calculate the maximum amount of current (in Amps) that the MPPT should be able to output.

This max output current value is calculated by dividing the maximum system wattage (in Watts) by the minimum charging voltage of the battery bank (in Volts).

In other words, we calculate how much current the solar charge controller needs to be able to put out by using this simple formula:

MPPT amperage rating = (Max. System Wattage) / (Min. Battery Charging Voltage)

However, MPPT charge controllers also have a Maximum Input Voltage rating, which indicates the maximum amount of voltage (in Volts) that is acceptable at the input of the MPPT.

So, when selecting your solar charge controller, you should account for both current and voltage.

But, don’t worry! I got you covered…

To make your life easier, I’ve made an MPPT size calculator that will do all the heavy lifting and give you a direct link to the charge controller best suited for your needs.

Below the MPPT calculator, I’ll give you 3 examples of different-sized solar arrays and battery banks that’ll illustrate this for you.

Also if you want a more in-depth understanding of how the calculator works, please refer to our MPPT sizing guide.

 

I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

MPPT Size Calculator

The MPPT calculator has 6 input fields that will describe your solar energy system:

1- Solar panel wattage: This is the watts rating on each of your solar panels.

2- Solar panel open-circuit voltage (Voc): You can find this value in the specification label on the back of your solar panels, or by looking up the specific model.

3- Battery bank voltage (Nominal Voltage): The voltage of each battery is usually written on the casing. If you have more than one battery, the voltage of the battery bank is equal to the voltage from one string of batteries (series).

4- Lowest temperature during sunlight hours: In this field, you should enter the lowest value of temperature that you estimate your solar panels are ever going to be exposed to.

5- Number of strings: In your solar array, how many parallel strings are there?

6- Number of solar panels in each string: In each string, how many solar panels are wired in series?

MPPT Solar Charge Controller Calculator

Enter the power rating (Wattage) of your solar panel(s).
Enter the open-circuit voltage (Voc) rating of your solar panel(s). To find this value, refer to the nameplate on your solar panel(s).
Select the nominal voltage of your battery bank.
Select the lowest temperature that you expect your solar panels to be exposed to in daylight.
Enter the number of solar panels wired in series. If you have multiple strings in parallel, enter the number of series-wired solar panels in each string. If all of the solar panels are wired in parallel, enter 1.
Enter the number of solar panels or strings of panels wired in parallel. If all of the solar panels are wired in series, enter 1.
Required MPPT specifications:
1. The MPPT should be compatible with a battery voltage of:
- Volts (V)
2. The MPPT should have a Maximum Input Voltage rating of more that:
- Volts (V)
3. The MPPT should have a Maximum Output Current rating of more that:
- Amps (A)
MPPTs that match these specifications:
Best Quality:
Best Value:

As promised, below you’ll find a few examples that’ll clear things up for you.

Example 1: 200W-12V solar array with a 12V battery bank

For the first example, we have 2 100W-12Vwatts solar panels, these panels are wired in series and need to charge a 100Ah-12V Battle Born battery.

MPPT calculator - MPPT for 2 12V-100W solar panels in series feeding a 12V battery bank

Now we need to select the right size MPPT charge controller for this system.

So what do we know so far?

  • We have 2 100W-12V solar panels wired in series.
  • Our battery bank’s voltage is 12V nominal.

We still need 2 pieces of information:

  • The open-circuit voltage (Voc) on these panels.
  • The lowest temperature these panels will be exposed to.

As mentioned above, the manufacturer specifies 22.3V as the open-circuit voltage for each of these panels.

The lowest temperature in our example is -3°F.

Now that we have all the information we need, let’s take a look at the results from the MPPT calculator.

MPPT calculator - What size MPPT for 2 12V-100W solar panels in series feeding a 12V battery

The MPPT calculator tells us that our solar charge controller needs to have a maximum voltage input of more than 53V, and needs to be able to put out 22.5 amps.

The calculator also gave us links to 2 choices for MPPT charge controllers that meet these criteria.

Example 2: 400W-24V solar array with a 12V battery bank

For the 2nd example, we have 4 100W-12V solar panels, these panels are wired in 2S2P (2 parallel strings with 2 solar panels in each string).

These panels need to charge 2 parallel wired 100Ah-12V batteries.

MPPT Calculator - MPPT for 4 12V-100W solar panels in series-parallel feeding a 12V battery bank

So what we know is:

  • We have 2 parallel strings.
  • 2 solar panels in each string.
  • The power rating of our solar panels is 100W.
  • The open-circuit voltage of our solar panels is 22.3V.
  • The voltage of our battery bank is 12V.
  • The lowest temperature is -3°F.
MPPT calculator - What size MPPT for 4 12V-100W solar panels in series-parallel feeding a 12V battery bank

For this system, the MPPT calculator suggests a Victron 100V-50A charge controller and an EPEVER 50 amp charge controller.

Both of these charge controllers can handle the anticipated 53 Volts at their input and can put out up to 50 Amps of current.

Example 3: 200W-24V solar array with a 24V battery bank

For the third example, we have 4 100W-12V solar panels. And same as the 2nd example, these panels are wired in 2S2P.

However, the solar panels in this system need to charge 2 series wired 100Ah-12V batteries.

MPPT calculator - MPPT for 4 12V-100W solar panels in series-parallel feeding a 24V battery bank

So for this example:

  • We have 2 parallel strings.
  • 2 solar panels in each string.
  • The power rating of our solar panels is 100W.
  • The open-circuit voltage of our solar panels is 22.3V.
  • The voltage of our battery bank is 24V.
  • The lowest temperature is -3°F.

 

MPPT calculator - What size MPPT for 4 12V-100W solar panels in series-parallel feeding a 24V battery bank

Related topics:

What size wire between solar panels and MPPT?

What size wire between the MPPT and the battery?

Solar panels in series and in parallel – What is the difference?

What size fuse between solar panels and MPPT?

What size fuse between the MPPT and battery?

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Younes Anas EL IDRISSI

Younes Anas EL IDRISSI is the founder of RenewableWise.com and the driving force behind it. As a former Electrical Engineer and an energy self-sufficiency enthusiast, Younes' mission is to leverage his expertise and experience to simplify the complexities of solar energy and make it easily understandable for anyone looking into DIY energy solutions. Learn more about Younes and the story of RenewableWise here.

17 Comments

  1. i recently bought a 200 amp, 12volt batter with blue tooth, 40 amp Renogy charge controller, 2-100 watt solar panels. from your examples above with 4-100 watt panels, i could add 4 more panels to my system without replacing my charge controller for a 60 amp or higher.
    Am i understanding thjis correctly? thanks Steve

    • Hey there Steve,
      Before you make any decisions, I suggest testing the number of solar panels that you intend to add in the calculator.

  2. Thanks Younes you have done a very good job in educating readers about MPPT. However, you have stopped short of explaining the MPPT calculator which I believe will impact on practicing engineers like me. I wish more effort.
    Abba

  3. Very comprehensive, thank you! As it turns out, I am already using the Renogy 200W Kit (2 panels w/20A Rover), and now have 6 lead-acid 6V batts in 3banks. I’m having a problem keeping the charge up (52-70%), and thinking that I am not getting enough solar to replenish the batteries over a 4-5day stay. I’m not sure how to look at this, as I am trying to decide if I have too many batteries (to decrease the batts), or not enough solar panels (add panels)!?

    • Hey there Mike,
      From what I understand, you have 6 Lead-Acid batteries each rated at 6V-100Ah, and each 2 of these are wired in series to make a 12V-100Ah battery. This means that you have a 12V-300Ah battery bank in total, making your total rated Energy Capacity 3600 Watt-hours (3.6 kWh).
      On the other hand, you only have 200W of solar, which means that at most you’ll be getting 1200 Wh of energy on a daily basis. This is, of course, assuming optimal sunlight.
      This means that even if you don’t discharge your batteries at all, you’ll need 3 days to take the battery from 0% to 100%.
      So, to answer your question, you need more solar panels.
      Hope this helped.

  4. Hi I have 4 200w panels 800w Open Circuit Voltage (Voc): 21.6V is my Victron mppt 150 70 tr over the top and probably would not work 100%

    • Hey there Brian,
      Have you specified the Nominal Voltage of the battery and the configuration of the solar panels (series/parallel/combination of both) to the calculator?
      If you do, it should provide a couple of links to appropriate MPPTs.

  5. Hi,
    I want to know about the lowest temperature during daytime. Is it the lowest temperature for where I live on yearly basis?
    By the way Thanks for your articles. I was looking for these informations.

    • Hello Tom,
      Yes, I’m referring to the lowest temperature possible when the solar panels are capable of producing voltage, which is only possible in daytime hours. If you don’t have an exact data point, just put an estimate.
      Glad to have helped.

  6. To keep things simple The figures I am using are just examples.
    I plan to use a 5,000 watt hybrid inverter with a MPPT charge controller and 3,000 watts of solar power.
    And Im not sure if a MPPT controller is more efficient running input DC voltage at say 150 volts DC or 450 volts DC. since my AC voltage will be 120 volts AC

    • Hello there Wayne,
      Well, I would say higher voltage means less current, so cheaper wires. But in terms of efficiency, as long as the MPPT can handle the voltage, and the output current at that voltage, I’d say it doesn’t really matter. But I still would need to look at the specs of your setup to understand what you’re trying to do.

  7. hello ,i have 2 x 12v 200hah deepcycle batteries,3 off 380w solar panels,42 VOC on panels
    panels connect in series
    battery bank 12v
    Please assist with correct size of controller

  8. Hello,
    I have a system withh two solar panels of 450w each (so 900w in total).
    The VOC of each panel is 50.2v; current at full power: 10.77 A.

    The inverter is a hybrid and includes the charge controller.
    It’s specs are 3KW 24v MPPT 50A/100V VPM. The regulator charge current is 50 A.MPPT
    and the charger charging current 30A.
    (https://www.wccsolar.net/product-page/inversor-solar-3kw-24v-h%C3%ADbrido-regulador-mppt-50a-cargador-30a?lang=en)

    There are two 12v batteries connected in series.

    Would it be possible to add another 450w panel – so have three 450w panels
    connected in parallel – and keep using the same hybrid inverter?

    I’ve tried using the MPPT calculator but don’t seem to be able to enter 0 for
    number of panels in series and am not sure about the results…
    Your help would be appreciated!

    • Hey there Lucy,

      On the calculator you should enter “1” rather than “0”. Please try that and it’ll give you your answer.

      I’ve entered the specs you provided and seems that you would need a solar charge controller with an output current rating of at least 57.4 Amps to make use of 100% of your solar panels’ power production.

      This means that if you do add a 3rd panel, and all 3 solar panels produce 450 Watts each, you’ll lose about 7.4 amps at 24 volts, maybe more if the temperature is colder while sunlight is at its peak.

      However, realistically, your solar panel will rarely produce 450 Watts each, and even if they do, that wouldn’t last more than an hour or so, so a little bit of clipping is okay.

      What I’m trying to say is, yes, you can add a 450 Watt solar panel in parallel to your array.

      Hope this helped!

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