I'm building a solar system w/ battery for my camper van. Two identical 110W panels wired in parallel, going into an MPPT charge controller and battery (a Yeti 1000 by Goal Zero, 96.8Ah (10.8V) lithium).
When I measure the voltage and amperage directly from the panels, disconnected from the charge controller / battery, in peak sunlight with a multimeter, I got 20.4 volts and 4.69 amps or so for panel #1, and 20.4 volts and 4.58 amps for panel #2. When I disconnect the final cable that ultimately plugs into the charge controller / battery, and measure in the same way using the multimeter, I get 9.82 amps and 20.8 volts total.
However, when I connect it all back up, in peak sunlight, on the charge controller display, I'm seeing 85 watts or so. By disconnecting each panel, I determined that panel #1 gives around 30 watts, and panel #2 gives around 55 watts. This is on a ~40% charged battery. My main question is this -- why do the panels have similar measurements when measured in isolation from the rest of the system, but have this large difference (30 watts vs 55 watts) when it's all connected together?
I know the charge controller does some voodoo which necessarily drops the efficiency, but this is a pretty big drop. And it doesn't explain why the wattages of the two panels themselves are different. Also I'm in the middle of a heat wave, 105F+... could that somehow explain something?
Any ideas, or diagnostic tips? As a beginner, this is a great opportunity for me to learn about electricity. Thanks!
Here's how it's all connected:
The two 110W panels have + and - MC4 cables coming out of them, which are plugged into MC4 "branch connectors" (MMF and FFM) to make them in parallel. Then the branch connectors are plugged into an MC4 extension cable (to be able to reach the battery), ~10 feet or so, with MC4 connectors at each end, which are then connected to an MC4 to Anderson PowerPole adapter, which plugs directly into the MPPT charge controller module of the Yeti 1000 battery.
Peak power: 110W Solar cell efficiency: 23% Maximum power voltage: 17V Maximum power current: 6.47A Open circuit voltage: 20.06V Short circuit current: 7.12A Power allowance range: +/-3% Maximum system voltage: 500V Values at standard test conditions: Air Mass - AM1.5, Irradiance - 1000W/m2, Cell Temperature - 25°C
Cell Chemistry: Li-ion NMC Peak Capacity: 1045Wh (10.8V, 96.8Ah) Single Cell Equivalent Capacity: 290.44 Ah @ 3.6V