Why to choose solar battery as your energy source
With over 1 million people in the US enjoying the use of solar energy, it is only a short time before the rest of the world catches up. There are many benefits to owning a solar battery. These reasons include but are not limited to:
- Solar batteries power your home even during blackouts that may render others helpless. All you have to ensure is that you make use of the sunlight and fill your batteries.
- Allows you to make the most of what nature provides. Instead of releasing the energy back to the grid, you can store it for later use.
- Gives you control over the amount of electricity you use at night. By using the stored energy you can save money on your energy bills.
- Sometimes spikes in energy prices are unavoidable due to different factors. By using solar power you can avoid these spikes and save money that can be used on other things.
- The world is embracing clean energy and we must try our best to do so. By using renewable energy we reduce our carbon footprint and its effects on the planet.
- There is no limit as to the number of batteries you can buy therefore you can always prepare for a stormy day.
- Solar batteries are portable and thus can be moved from one location to another easily. You can transition between your properties or charge appliances with them.
Solar batteries types
There are quite a number of solar battery types that you can access in the market. All of these types come with different advantages are pitfalls. These battery types include:
Lead acid batteries
These batteries have been used for the past 15 decades and they have proven to be effective. They are not expensive and they can be recycled when they reach the end of their journey. These lead acid batteries are divided into flooded and sealed batteries.
- Flooded batteries, such as the Trojan J305E-AC, work by submerging the cells into water for them to work. These types of batteries are submerged in water and therefore corrosion is unavoidable and maintenance is needed. One will have to check the levels of water regularly to ensure the panels are submerged under enough water. The area of storage needs to be well ventilated as these units do produce gas.
- Sealed acid batteries possess capabilities such as they don’t lose charge when they sit idle. They are also the best when you are away most of the time and you cannot be hands-on with the system. These batteries are safe and they are spill-proof therefore you can be sure that they are in good condition. You can select whether to pick the absorbent mat type or the gel sealed acid batteries.
Lithium batteries are all the rage in the market. After making their debut in the market back in the 1970’s, these batteries became well known for their long life span, low maintenance nature, excellent recharge and high discharge rate. These benefits don’t come cheap though, as we have seen with the Renogy RNG-BATT-LFP-12-170-BC.
These are quite expensive and are hazardous to dispose of. There are brands that still use NiCad because of its non-freezing and low self- discharge abilities. They may not be the best in terms of efficiency but they can be a temporary measure.
Solar battery maintenance tips
Solar batteries are not entirely cheap and therefore you have to take care of them so that they can serve you for longer. Some valid maintenance tips include:
- For flooded lead acid batteries corrosion is something to be worried about. Corrosion prevents the terminals from working properly and to be honest, it is an eye sore. Apply a sealant that hardens all around the wire lugs, nuts, terminals and bolts. Completely coating these parts will prevent the acid from corroding the metal.
- Petroleum jelly makes a good sealant when you cannot afford the fancy sealants sold in the shops.
- Exposed wires need to be sealed off to prevent any damage. This can be done with rubber spice tube or a heat-shrink tube.
- Clean the battery tops with water to clean away acid splashes that cause corrosion. The units should be placed over a drainage while doing this to ensure that the water from the rinse flows away.
- Avoid placing your batteries in extreme hot or cold areas as they will lose energy. It is recommended to place them in thermally sound structures.
- Seek units that come with temperature compensators. These features adjust according to the temperature to ensure the batteries charge optimally.
- Make use of low charge disconnects by using low voltage disconnect systems.
- Let the batteries enjoy a state of full-charge to allow equalization. This is to be done every 2-3 weeks.
When it comes to solar batteries there is no cutting corners. You may find yourself spending a good chunk of your money. You can get a reliable unit ranging from $200 to a whopping $5000+ depending on the capacity of the battery. Consider the amount of power you need and make an informed decision.
Features to consider while buying the best solar batteries
Below are a few features that we believe you should consider before purchasing solar batteries.
Power and capacity
There are two factors to consider here. These factors include the amount of power it can store and how much power can be discharged. The amount of power that can be stored /discharged by the batteries is measured in Kwh (kilowatt hours). The manufacturer always provides this information therefore, you can compare with your power needs and purchase accordingly.
You have to consider how much voltage you need for your battery bank before installation. This is because it will be hard to alter the system once it is installed. If you do not need too much power, the standard 12V used in cars and boats will work well. If you need more power than that then you can consider getting 24V-48V systems. Getting a higher DC voltage results in lower costs as there are few modules to connect in one series.
DoD – depth of discharge
Depth of charge basically refers to the amount of charge available in the batteries for use. Usually all batteries reserve a fraction of the charge because of their chemical constitution. The higher the depth of charge the more power you have at your disposal to utilize. Many solar battery brands provide this information. For example, if a manufacturer presents a 10kw battery with a DoD of 90%, this means that you should not use up more than 9kwh before recharge. Following the manufacturer’s information prevents damage to the battery’s constitution.
Battery life cycle
The kind of batteries you install in your system should be able to serve you for 5-15 years, with the Vmaxtanks SLR125 being the longest lasting model among our finalists with a lifespan of 10 years. Before purchasing the batteries you should consider the environment’s temperature and battery quality. Lead acid batteries work well but they suffer from low discharges. Lithium batteries may work better in this field and thus may be more preferable.
Round trip efficiency
This refers to the overall energy that can utilized over the amount of energy used to store it. Usually relayed in percentages, the conclusion is the higher the round trip efficiency the more economical energy you get from the batteries. If you charge the batteries with 5kwh you can only use 4 out of the 5kwh which translates to 80% efficiency.
The battery size affects the amount of energy that can be stored. If you need plenty of energy then you should consider a larger unit while Simple power needs require a small unit. Consider the size of the area being covered and purchase accordingly.
Make sure that you dispose of old batteries in an environmentally safe manner. If there are parts that can be replaced, replace them instead of throwing the battery away. In many cases it is the metallic parts that may need replacement after facing corrosion.
The warranty is the manufacturer’s way of guaranteeing that your battery works as designed and it will keep working for a number of years before any performance drop. The warranty will vary in length depending on the brand that you purchase. If you experience any mishaps, the manufacturer is liable for solutions.