Volts are used to measure how much electricity is passing a certain point. Electrical systems can usually handle a lot of volts, but amps need to be strictly regulated.
Amps are used to measure the amount of “pressure” of electricity is passing a certain point. A circuit can only take so much current before it over heats and causes damage.
The amount (volts) and the pressure (amps) of the electricity is combined to get the wattage.
The equation is Volts x Amps = Watts.
An analogy used to understand this process better is the “water through a hose” metaphor. The amount of water coming out of a hose is the volts. The amount of pressure pushing the water is the amps. You need both to fill up a bucket from the hose, just like you need volts being pushed by amps to run your electrical devices. The amount of time it takes to fill up the bucket is equal to the watts coming out of a circuit.
Series vs. Parallel Circuits
Series and parallel circuit configurations are used to better manage your energy flow from your power source like solar panels or batteries. The two circuit configurations affect your volts and amps but does not affect a circuit’s watts.
When connecting panels in series, the amperage stays the same, but the volts are added together. When connecting panels in parallel, the amps are added together, but the volts remain the same.
To connect two solar panels in series, you connect the positive wire of one panel to the negative wire of the other panel. The remaining negative and positive wires will be your circuits leads and will have twice the voltage output while the amps stay the same.
To connect two solar panels in parallel, you connect the positive wires of both panels to a Y adapter and the negative wires to an Y adapter. The negative and positive adapter output plugs will be your circuit’s leads and will have twice the amp output while the volts remain the same.