Wiring solar panels: Do you wire solar panels in series or parallel?

As a homeowner who is just learning about solar energy options, it is easy to get confused with all the technical terms you might read or hear about.

Your solar installer is likely to mention different ways that arrays of solar panels are wired. And your first thought might be that it does not matter how they are wired. Likely, you just want the panels to produce the energy to power your home. However, depending on your home, how your panels are wired does matter. It impacts the performance of your system and your choice of inverter.

The better your solar system performs, the better your savings and your return on investment.

Here are answers to some of the common questions customers ask about wiring solar panels that can help you have a better understanding of the pros and cons of wiring in series or in parallel.

What does it mean to wire solar panels in series?

Wiring between solar panels (back of solar panels)

When an installer connects your solar panels in a series, he is wiring each panel to the next. This creates a string circuit. The wire running from the panel’s negative terminal is connected to the next panel’s positive terminal and so forth down the line for one path of current for a continuous, closed loop.

The important difference between wiring panels in series or in parallel is that electrically it affects the voltage and amperage of the resultant circuit.

In a series circuit you sum the voltage of each panel to get the overall voltage of the array. However, the amperage of the overall circuit stays the same stays the same.

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