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Solar energy is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of renewable energy. The technology has grown leaps and bounds over the past decade, making it easier than ever for homeowners to install solar panels on their roofs.
It’s clean, safe, and sustainable; however, many people need to realize there is more to solar energy production than just solar panels.
One of the biggest problems with solar power is that it’s not always available when you need it. When the sun goes down, so do your chances of getting any electricity — unless you have a solar battery backup system.
In this article, you’ll understand what solar batteries are, their types, and the features to consider for your home battery.
What Are Solar Batteries?
Solar batteries are a type of rechargeable battery used in solar power systems. In the manufacturing process of solar batteries, one of the key stages is the pressing of the materials into the shape of a cell, which is done through heat treating and bonding in an industrial oven. This process is crucial in ensuring the structural integrity of the battery cells and it also helps to eliminate any impurities that may affect the performance of the battery. They store the energy produced by solar panels, so you can use it even when there’s no sunlight available to generate electricity.
It can be a lifesaver for those who live in places where the weather isn’t always ideal for producing electricity from the sun.
It’s not very different from the batteries that power your cell phone or laptop, except it’s explicitly designed to work with solar panels. To recharge it, you plug it into an outlet and let the solar panels absorb energy from the sun.
To connect it to your solar panels, you need to wire it into the circuit by connecting it directly to a charge controller or inverter, depending on how you want your system set up.
Types Of Solar Battery
Solar batteries fall into four main types. Before purchasing one, make sure it is compatible with your solar panels.
1. Lead Acid Batteries
Lead acid batteries are the most common type of solar battery and are also the cheapest. They can be used in off-grid and grid-tied solar power systems, but they aren’t very efficient at storing energy.
This is because they use a combination of lead plates and sulfuric acid to create electricity, which means they have a lower energy density than other types of batteries.
Lead acid batteries come in two varieties based on their design and the type of electrolyte used.
- Flooded batteries have a liquid electrolyte that needs to be topped off regularly.
- Sealed batteries have a gel or absorbent material instead of a liquid electrolyte.
Sealed batteries charge faster than flooded batteries, but the latter lasts longer.
2. Lithium-ion Batteries
Lithium-ion batteries are the newest and the most widely used batteries in the world today. They are more efficient, lighter, and smaller than other batteries because they have a high energy density to store more power.
They’re used in electric cars, laptops, cell phones, and other electronic devices.
Lithium-ion batteries consist of an anode, cathode, and an electrolyte solution made up of solvents like ether or carbonate ester.
They have a long lifespan, charge quickly, require less maintenance, and can be replaced less often. However, they’re prone to overcharging and overheating, which can cause them to catch fire.
3. Nickel-cadmium Batteries
Nickel-cadmium batteries, also called NiCad or Ni-Cd, are the oldest type of solar battery and are made from nickel and cadmium, which means they’re both toxic and expensive to dispose of.
They require less battery maintenance than other types, which is why they’re mostly used in the commercial sector.
The downside to using NiCad batteries is that they require frequent charging and discharging cycles, which can reduce their lifespan. Another drawback is that they’re not environmentally friendly since they contain cadmium, which is highly toxic.
4. Flow Batteries
A flow battery is a relatively new electrochemical energy storage system that uses two separate fluid electrolytes.
One of those fluids is stored outside the battery, while the other is inside. The outside fluid can be pumped into or out of a cell to charge or discharge electricity.
Flow batteries are rechargeable, long-lasting, and environmentally friendly. The advantage of using flow batteries is that they have no memory effect, so they can be 100% charged and discharged without shortening their life span.
Features To Consider When Buying A Solar Battery
There are a few things to consider when buying solar batteries to ensure you get the best value for your money.
1. Battery Capacity
The most important thing to consider is the battery capacity. This is how much energy your battery can store at one time. The higher the capacity, the more power it will have. Therefore, choose a battery that lasts longer on a full charge.
2. Battery Type
Each battery type has its advantages and disadvantages. So, your choice of usage will determine which kind of battery you should choose. For example, a sealed lead acid (SLA) or lithium-ion battery would be the best fit if you need a battery for off-grid use.
3. Lifespan (Discharge Cycles)
The lifespan of a battery is the number of times it can be fully discharged before its capacity decreases. The more cycles you get out of your battery, the longer it will last. So, if you plan on using your solar system regularly, go for a battery with many cycles.
The recharge efficiency of a solar battery is the percentage of energy that can be recovered from the battery. This figure is essential to consider because it will determine how much power you need to generate to charge the battery.
Solar batteries are a great way to store solar power for later use. Also, they can be used in conjunction with solar panels or as a standalone energy source.
Choosing the right one may be difficult, but you must choose a battery with the correct specifications to suit your needs. Hopefully, you’ve gained ideas to help you choose the correct solar battery for your needs.