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12 volt solar system is suitable for portable needs like boats, cars, RV etc. You can certainly use a 12v system for powering the porch-lawn lights and cabins. But if you need to power up a family home and plan to scale then go for a 24 volt solar system. Initial investment for a 24v system would be high but Return on Investment (ROI) would be significant too.

Over the past years, the sun, a natural source of light, has provided one if not the best alternative energy source. Solar panels have gained popularity among many people due to various factors such as its eco-friendliness. Solar energy consumed in solar systems is clean, and as a result, no harmful carbon emissions.

We cannot ignore the fact that it is also the cheapest source of energy available, provided free-of-charge by the sun. Choosing to install a solar panel is one of the best investments one can consider making today and have a 25-year guarantee of uninterrupted power supply.

Feature12 Volt Solar System24 Volt Solar System
UsageHouseholds and PortableIndustrial
VoltageLow (12v)High (24v)
Voltage LossHighLow
Heat Loss HighLow
Solar CellsFew (36 Cells) More (72 Cells)
difference between 12v and 24v solar system

A 12v solar panel is perhaps the most common type of solar system available today. It produces 12v used to power batteries and devices that are also 12v. It has around 36 solar cells, each producing 0.5 v. Most 12v solar panels are rectangular in shape, varying from small sizes to large sizes.

It is a portable stand-alone power system(SAPS) that absorbs sun rays that are converted into electricity using electrical converters. I’m sure you have spotted a ‘long’ shiny thing on rooftops. Then that is the solar panel.

12v solar systems are convenient and can be used in various applications depending on the user’s needs. Compare detail specifications here. These include;

  • In households to power appliances like refrigerators.
  • To power the laptops and phones.
  • To provide power for lighting the compound.
  • Used when traveling in caravans.
  • Provide power for car and boat batteries.

Did you know a solar tube can light your house without paying for electricity bill? Here’s my evaluation of solar tubes. Don’t worry about solar tube installation cost, I’ve explained here.

Solar panels offer significant advantages to the user. It is almost impossible to turn back to another form of energy.

Here’s my unbiased pros and cons of solar power.

  • Buying a 12v solar panel will help save you money. The cost incurred in purchasing a solar panel is way cheaper than the cost of paying for monthly electricity bills.
  • A 12v solar system is very efficient, and its closely packed components help to keep the chances of heat loss at its minimum.
  • Most devices and batteries are tailored for a 12v power supply; therefore, 12v solar panels’ production is high among factories.
  • As mentioned earlier, 12v solar systems are the commonly used solar system. For this reason, its inverters, fuses, batteries, and other 12v appliances are readily available.
  • 12v solar systems require very little maintenance; their chances of breaking down are few. In the event, repair parts are readily available.
  • You can comfortably add other solar panels as long there is enough space to support them all.
  • A 12v solar panel is light in weight and is easy to carry around.

Read my post on comparison between NiCd and NiMh battery for solar here.

  • A 12v solar panel losses a lot of heat over a long distance due to its low voltage.
  • A 12v solar system can only be used with other 12v appliances.

You should also read about the disadvantages of living near solar farms here.

A 24v solar system is more or less similar in appearance to a 12v system, however, to distinguish it from a 12v system, a 24v system has twice the number of solar cells summing up to a total of 72 cells. It produces 24v used in either 24 or 12v electrical appliances. Here’s my guide on how to get 12v from a 24v system.

Just like the 12v solar system, a 24v solar system can be used in various places; however, the voltage produced in a 24v is much higher. The watts produced are also high and ranges from 1500Watts -2000 Watts. See details technical features here.

  • At home to power home appliances. A 24v solar system is enough to power a whole house with less electrical needs.
  • In hospitals.
  • In banks.
  • In hotels.
  • In apartments.
  • A 24v solar panel produces high voltage of around 32-36 volts using 72 solar cells.
  • Since current supplied is half of the power supplied voltage drop is relatively low.
  • 24 Volt system can be used for appliances of different voltage, both 12v and 24v. E.g., a 24v solar panel can be charge a 12v battery bank.
  • Heat loss is minimal due to its compatibility nature.
  • Compared to the 12v solar system, a 24 v is more efficient due to its heat retention properties.
  • Cheap to install on a large scale.

Here’s more advantages with specifications to compare.

Read my post on solar panel cost per square meter here.

  • Compared to the prices of a 12v solar system, a 24v is more on the higher bargain.

Here’s some more user feedback to review.

  • Both have low heat loss. Their compatible components help to reduce heat loss in the system.
  • Both are portable. They are light in weight and thus easy to transport.
  • They are cheap. 12v on retail and 24v in installing a large area.
  • Produce power used to charge appliances. Whether at home, hospitals, or banks.

Read my post on dark white house solar panels story. Do you know Chinese got them?

  • Always position a solar panel to direct sunlight, away from shades.
  • Always be watchful on the inverters to ensure it’s on at all times.
  • Clean your solar twice-four times a year.
  • Use clean water and brush to clean the solar.
  • Do not use too much water as this would lead to rusting.
  • Do not use harsh materials when cleaning.
  • Always use a ladder or a long wiper when cleaning to ensure safety.
  • When cleaning standing on the roof, proper support should be ensured.

Read my post on how to protect solar panels from hail here.

  • Adopt the codes at both state levels and county level to ensure consistency and uniformity.
  • All solar installation should adhere to the building height requirement (not exceed 45cm above the roof).
  • The systems should be screened from public view before installation.
  • The systems should conform to the Uniform Solar Energy Code and other fire and safety codes.
  • Address setback requirements.
  • The roof should be capable of supporting the load (it should not exceed 4.41lbs ).
  • The module should not be combustible.
  • The roof assembly and the solar roof system should have similar classifications.
  • It should have a positive attachment to the roof structure.

Check feasibility here.

  • Leave enough rooftop space to support future installation.
  • Mark a section as ‘solar-ready zone‘ to indicate reservations for future solar installation.
  • Align the roof in a north-south manner to avoid rooftop shading.
  • Designate interconnection pathways for clear visuals during installation.
  • Include a detailed roof specification plan in the building plan for use by solar installers.

Review details here.

In a Nutshell

Hope I was able to provide you insights and answered most if not all of your questions on the difference between 12v and 24v solar systems. Choose the solar system you need. If you need portability or cheaper solution go for a 12 volt system. For your home or other establishments, 24 volt will offer better ROI. And you can charge and use your battery bank to achieve the portability as well.

Do you know how to store distilled water for longer shelf life? Here’s how to do it correctly.

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4 thoughts on “Difference Between 12v and 24v Solar System – Saving or Wasting Money”

  1. i like your information my mind is made up i,ll go with a 24v enverter pure sine wave what size i need is aquestion and what kind of inverter or does it matter now how many solar panel of 24v i need a 72 cell panel now how i need at what w

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