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Can I Connect an Inverter Directly to a Charge Controller?

Find out if you should connect a power inverter directly to a charge controller in your solar power system.

Solar Panels Jeremy Bezanger / Unsplash

Last Updated: October 4, 2021

Written by Brandon Jones

Should I Connect a Power Inverter Directly to a Charge Controller?

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Do NOT plug a power inverter directly to a charge controller. Charge controllers need a battery for reference to control the solar panel's input. First, you will need to connect a battery to your charge controller and then connect a power inverter to your battery. If you connect the controller and inverter directly without a battery, then it will destroy your equipment.

PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) charge controllers require the battery's voltage to allow it to pass voltage and current. The charge controller allows the same voltage to pass as the voltage of the battery. For example, a battery at 12 volts will enable the charge controller to pass through only 12 volts. The charge controller is designed to turn off below 10.5 volts to protect the battery.

Connecting an inverter directly to a PWM charge controller would be unregulated if it is allowed. Charge controllers require connecting to a battery before joining a solar panel to the controller because it needs a battery reference for the voltage. A battery is necessary to protect the controller's voltage regulator.

MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) charge controllers also require the battery's voltage as a reference for stabilizing the voltage regulation. This type of charge controller allows the current to flow more efficiently into a depleted battery.

Connecting an inverter directly to an MPPT charge controller would result in zero input into the inverter or could destroy your equipment.

What to Buy

To help buy new solar equipment, check out the Recommended Solar Equipment section below.

Solar Panel Setup Guide

Learn more about setting up a solar panel system in my Simple Solar Panel System - Setup & Equipment Guide.

Answers to Your Other Solar Panel System Questions

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Be sure to check out the articles in our solar panel series to help answer your other questions:

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Here's our list of recommended equipment for the most common solar power systems.

Batteries

Batteries are used for storing the energy produced by your solar panels. The battery is wired between your power inverter and the charge controller. Never connect your power inverter and the charge controller directly without a battery between the two.

Charge Controllers

Charge controllers are used to regulate the voltage and current coming from the solar panels to prevent overcharging your battery.

Power Inverters

Power inverters are used for converting the battery's power (DC - direct current) into electricity used for powering your devices (AC - alternating current). Power inverters have an outlet on the device.

100W Solar Panel

Solar panels are made of many solar cells (photovoltaic cells), most often made from crystalline silicon. These cells take in energy from the sun's rays, converted through the semiconductor, creating an electric field that transfers voltage and current. Solar panels connect to the charge controller to regulate the voltage and current produced by the panel.

Solar Power System Cables

Fuses

Fuses protect the wiring and devices from overcurrent. Fuses usually go on the closest point of the positive connection from your battery to the power inverter. You can also put fuses elsewhere in your system for protection, like an MC4 fuse for going between your solar panel and charge controller. You can find MC4 Fuses on Amazon (affiliate link).

Branch Connectors

Branch connectors are for merging the cables coming from multiple solar panels to your charge controller.