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How to Wire Solar Panels in Parallel

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How to Wire Solar Panels in Parallel

There are three ways to wire a solar panel array; series, parallel, and series-parallel. If the needs of your solar electrical system call for parallel wiring of your solar panels, this blog post will teach you how to wire your solar panel array in parallel.

Wiring solar panels in parallel simply means combining all of the positive wires together into one wire that will go to the charge controller and combining all of the negative wires together into one wire that will go to the charge controller.

To combine the wires from the solar panels, you will need to use MC4 branch connectors.

  • 2 to 1 MC4 Branch Connector
  • 3 to 1 MC4 Branch Connector
  • 4 to 1 MC4 Branch Connector
  • 5 to 1 MC4 Branch Connector

Depending on your choice of panels, you may also need to incorporate fuses into your parallel wired solar panel array.

  • 15 Amp MC4 Fuse
  • 20 Amp MC4 Fuse

All of the diagrams below show a parallel wired solar panel array with fuses in their proper place. If your setup does not need fuses, simply ignore the fuses and connect the positive wires directly to the branch connector.

How to Wire Two Solar Panels in Parallel

How to Wire Three Solar Panels in Parallel

How to Wire Four Solar Panels in Parallel

How to Wire Five Solar Panels in Parallel

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How Series Vs Parallel Wired Solar Panels Affects Amps & Volts


rod browne

Tuesday 18th of May 2021

Hi Nate, I'm going to install one of your designs on the flybridge roof of my boat (2 panels, one string to start with and work up to 6-8 panels, two strings) and want to install the end product wiring size requirements at the start. My round trip wire run is about 80 feet with some constriction getting off the roof. Smallest wire size from panels to controller will be needed. Anticipating Renogy 160W (if they are still available) or Renogy 175W panels to Victron 100/50. I'm a bit confused however about where and when I should wire series or parallel or series/parallel with the branch connectors to minimize the wire size requirements getting off the roof. Can you offer suggestions or advice? Thanks, Rodd Browne

Nate Yarbrough

Sunday 23rd of May 2021

You want your solar array voltage to be at LEAST 20V higher than your battery bank charging voltage and you solar array amperage under 30V so you can use MC4 connectors. To do this, you'll have to do some form of series parallel to make this possible. Pure series would exceed the max solar input voltage of your 100/50.

Chris

Thursday 25th of March 2021

Hello Nate, love this blog. Can I wire 3 200W panels going one>two>Three using two 2 to 1 MC4 Branch Connectors? Thanks, Chris

Andrew

Monday 28th of December 2020

Hey! I have three Renogy 100w panels that I am looking to wire in parrallel. Do you recommend adding fusing before my positive 3 to 1 branch connector? Thankyou!!!!

Nate Yarbrough

Tuesday 29th of December 2020

Those would, indeed, need to have fusing before the branch connector.

Ron

Sunday 13th of September 2020

Do I need a double pole circuit breaker for both the positve (red) and neutral(black) cable going to the charger controller as you showed in one of your diagrams or can I just use an inline fuse on the positve cable to the MPPT? Thanks!

Nate Yarbrough

Monday 14th of September 2020

The dual pole disconnect as per my diagrams is in accordance with NEC 690.17 (B).

Dan

Monday 31st of August 2020

My GoPower 160W panels came with 10 AWG wire and MC4 connectors. When I combined the three panels, should I have used 8 AWG or 6 AWG to run the single combined line to the charge controller?

Nate Yarbrough

Wednesday 9th of September 2020

If the panels are wired in series, you can use 10 awg wire.