When considering solar energy to power your home and appliances, you will need to think about solar batteries. Many people now see solar energy as the way forward in a time when heating bills are on the increase. Initially, solar energy will decrease your bank balance quite considerably. For best performance from your solar energy system, there are issues to consider when buying a solar battery.
Sealed Batteries (Lead-Acid)
There is a wide range of sealed lead-acid batteries available including 1 Ah, 2 Ah and single-cell traction batteries. Sealed batteries are excellent in that they do not need any maintenance. However, they are more expensive than other solar battery types. Also, the charging control need has to be more accurate and as a result, they have a shorter life span. In situations where operation for long periods of time without maintenance are common, sealed batteries are the most appropriate choice.
Deep Cycle Batteries
Deep-cycle batteries are more commonly used in motorhomes and caravans. They resemble a car battery but the plate construction is different. Their storage capacity ranges from 60Ah to 120Ah at 12 Volts. Because of the nature of these batteries, they only last for a few hundred cycles so are best recommended for small amounts of use or as a solar back-up. Deep cycle batteries have a longer life and can cope well with constant charge and discharge.
OGiV solar batteries have a flat plate design and are semi-sealed. With OGiV batteries, there is a reduced release of hydrogen during charging which reduces the amount of ventilation needed. Because they are semi-sealed, you don’t have to add top up water to the cells. However, a down side to this arrives if the electrolytes are low because you cannot access them to top them up.
Mobility scooter, golf carts, forklifts and small electric vehicles are a common place to find traction solar batteries as these are perfect for electrically-operated vehicles. Smaller traction batteries run between 6 and 12 Volts. These types of battery should be fully discharged and recharged on a daily basis. They are long-lasting and offer hundreds of discharge cycles.
A different type of solar battery are the Absorbed Glass Matt battery (AGM) and these are highly resistant to vibrations. Another type is GEL battery which contains acid that has been turned into a gel through the introduction of Silica Gel. Deep-Cycle GEL batteries are rechargeable and are fitted with a monobloc catalyst to enhance performance and life span. Battery storage capacity is measured in amp hours which relates to the number of amps a battery can supply in one hour.
Energy Input and Output
Consider that any battery you choose for storage must be capable of sustaining at least 5 times the amount of your daily usage. Review which appliances you will be using. If you intend on using quite a lot of solar energy that has been collected through the day, you will almost certainly need to consider a high performance battery.