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The PV charge controller works as a voltage regulator, its primary function is to prevent the battery from being overcharged by the P.V array, being overly discharged by the load, or both.

Controller types:
Single Stage controllers:
This type of controllers prevents battery overcharging by switching the PV array off when the battery voltage reaches the state of charge set point. The array and battery are automatically reconnected when the battery voltage reaches a lower value called the charge resumption.

Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) controllers:
PWM controllers are the most common controller on the market today. These charge the battery by rapidly switching the full charging current on and off when the battery reaches a fully charged state. The length of the charging current pulse gradually decreases as battery voltage rises, reducing the average current into the battery.

Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) controllers:
Many controllers available today are equipped with a function called Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT); this feature allows the controller to track the maximum power point of the array throughout the day in order to deliver the maximum available solar energy to the batteries. The actual benefits of MPPT depend on the operating temperature of the array and on the battery state of charge. When an array operates under colder conditions, it will produce a higher voltage. If an array has a high voltage, there is a larger difference between the array and the battery voltage and thus more potential power gain from MPPT.