How to choose solar regulators for home and property systems fully explained. This article ensures you buy the right one first time

The solar regulator’s role is to manipulate the energy that solar modules produce to optimise charging. This ensures batteries are optimally charged. Most solar regulators for stand-alone systems accept a range of solar input voltage: typically 12 – 110 volts dc. Those for grid-connect solar work at a far higher voltage and will be specified by the system supplier.

Solar regulators for home and property systems in effect ‘juggle’ the solar voltage and current to that best required to charge your specific battery bank. That, for a 12-volt battery bank, is typically 12.8 – 14.4 or so volts. Varying types of batteries have varying needs. Most solar regulators are programmable for these. If you have LiFePO4 batteries it is absolutely essential. This is because they have specific needs that must be met.

Solar regulators vary in energy handling capacity. Because of this, choose one that accepts the maximum your solar array produces. Furthermore, you do not need to allow for rare overloads. Solar regulators for home and property systems protect against this too. 

 The nominal battery voltage you need is largely determined by your inverter’s size, however it is likely to be 12, 24 or 48 volts.

The inverter converts that into 110 or 230 volts ac. See Inverters for home and property systems.

Finally, as with every aspect of solar – avoid ‘bargains’. They rarely are! Buy only well-known and established brands. Moreover, if feasible buy all the bits and pieces from the same vendor. Unless you do this, each vendor may blame another if anything is wrong.

Full details are in Solar Success. Solar regulators for boats, cabins and RVs are covered in Solar That Really Works.