Home Solar Power System Batteries
If you’re wondering what type of battery is the best to use with a solar power system, this article will give you 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 generated when there is sunlight. Batteries, when used in combination with with asolar charge controller, will store electricity while it is being produced by the solar panels and then let you make use of the stored energy later. So, what type of battery is the best for use with solar panels?
The recent battery technologies that are used in things like laptops, ipods and hybrid cars might be your first thought. Those battery types are great for these devices, but aren’t a very good fit for solar as you’ll see.
Size and weight is the biggest advantage these types of batteries have. These newer types of batteries are, however, much more costly than older battery technology. For devices like ipods, being small and light are more important than cost, so these newer technologies are a good fit in these devices.
Your solar power installation, though, is going to stay in one place. What is going to be important is having as large a capacity as you can. So, much more important than size or weight will be cost per watt/hour of capacity.
Regular sealed lead acid batteries are tops in cost for capacity. The battery in your car is sealed lead acid. For the same capacity battery, a sealed lead acid battery will be ½ to ¼ the price of the newer types. Sealed lead acid batteries are rugged, cheap and safe.
12 volt sealed lead acid batteries are the typically used. The most common voltages for home solar power systems are 12, 24 or 48 volts. Any of these voltages can be conveniently produced by tying together the right quantity of 12 volt batteries in series. You can then begin to increase the number of appliances you can supply electricity to and also increase the amount of energy you can store by combining the groups of batteries in parallel.
Since you are using 12 volt batteries, a 12 volt solar charger is perfect. The charger will make sure 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 power 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. For home solar systems, sealed lead acid batteries are what you should use.