There are a number of different types of batteries, but which one is best for solar power? By the end of this article, you will know the answer. The sun doesn’t shine all the time (take for example, night) so if you are going to install a solar power system and are going to want to use electricity when there is no sunlight, you’re going to need some method of storing the power produced when there is sunlight. Batteries and a solar charge controller are the way to accomplish this. So, let’s talk about the different types of batteries and which type is best for solar.
The first question you might have is about the newer battery technologies used in hybrid cars or laptops or iPods. There are reasons these batteries are a good fit for those devices, but as you’ll see they don’t apply to solar power systems.
The biggest advantage these newer battery technologies have is size and weight. These newer battery technologies, though, cost a great deal more than the older technologies for the same capacity. These newer types of batteries make devices like cell phones more expensive, but they allow the devices to me much smaller and lighter and in these applications size and weight are more important than cost.
Your solar power system, though, isn’t going to move around. Capacity, in contrast, is going to be very important. So, much more important than size or weight will be cost per watt/hour of capacity.
When it comes to best cost for capacity, the best type of battery technology is plain old sealed lead acid batteries. That’s right, the same kind of battery that is in your car. The newer types of batteries are going to cost you between 2 and 4 times what sealed lead acid batteries will for the same capacity. Sealed lead acid batteries are rugged, cheap and safe.
The most common voltage for sealed lead acid batteries is 12 volts. The most common voltages for home solar power systems are 12, 24 or 48 volts. These voltages can easily be obtained by connecting together the proper number of 12v batteries in series. You then take these groups of batteries tied together in series and wire the groups in parallel to increase the amount of power you can store and then later release from the batteries.
A 12 volt solar charger will use the electricity produced by the solar panels to keep the batteries charged. The charger will ensure the voltage going to the batteries is correct, and will prevent overcharging.
One last thing you will need if you want to power appliances you usually plug into the wall is a power inverter. To mix power from your batteries and from the power company, or to sell excess electricity back to the power company, you will need a grid tie inverter. If not, a standard power inverter will be cheaper and work fine for your standard appliances.
That’s pretty much it. When it comes to batteries for a solar system, the old technology is best. Sealed lead acid batteries are the best choice for home solar power systems.