Harnessing solar energy can make a considerable contribution towards solving some of the most urgent energy related problems currently faced. You are probably already aware of many of the benefits of using solar power systems, which include reducing reliance on exhaustible resources, enhancing sustainability and reducing pollution, not to mention significant cost savings over time.
It is, however, important to choose the right battery for a solar power system in order to get the most out of it. The power generated by the solar panels in a stand-alone system is used to charge the battery, which then makes that energy available when it is needed.
The amount of battery storage you require is an important factor in choosing the right battery for your solar system. In general the total battery capacity (in amp-hours) for a home solar system ought to be about 5x the amount you use daily, providing about five days of backup energy storage.
Deep cycle lead acid batteries are the most popular choice. Unlike ordinary batteries, a battery used for solar power needs to be able to be discharged and recharged over and over (hundreds or thousands of times), a characteristic of deep cycle batteries that makes them perfectly suited to this application.
Traction batteries are ideal for solar power systems as they are designed to be fully discharged and recharged on a daily basis. They come in a huge range of capacities, with the larger ones being able to withstand thousands of discharge cycles.
Gel and AGM batteries are both types of lead acid batteries that are well suited to solar power systems, as they both store their charge well and won’t degrade as easily as an ordinary lead acid battery. They electrolyte material used in these types of batteries also greatly reduces the chance of hydrogen gas build up (which could lead to an explosion) so they are extremely safe for these types of applications.
Leisure batteries (caravan batteries) are a very affordable type of deep cycle battery, but their capacity means they are best suited to smaller systems. Additionally, as their cycle life is limited to just a few hundred cycles, they aren’t suitable for applications where they will be used regularly, so this type of battery is usually used in solar systems for caravans or holiday homes.
If you would like further advice on choosing the right battery for a solar powered system, please feel free to contact Powercell and we will do our best to help.
By: Louise Longworth