Did you know that you could further maximize the efficiency of your solar-powered system at home? Solar batteries store the excess electricity from the solar panels during the daytime for later use. This means that you could still meet the electrical demands of your home at night, during days where there is very little sunlight, or when the solar panels are simply not producing enough electricity.
Aside from increasing or maximizing the potential of your solar panel system, solar batteries are also known to be cost-efficient, especially in the long run. Having a backup source of electricity will allow you to be less dependent on the utility grid which consequently minimizes your electricity bill. This arrangement allows you to be more self-sufficient in terms of your energy storage and usage.
What are the types of solar batteries?
The four main and most commonly used solar battery types are lead acid, lithium ion, flow, and nickel cadmium.
Lead acid batteries
As the name denotes, this type of solar battery is composed of lead plates submerged in an acid solution called an electrolyte. Electrical energy is generated when the lead plates react with the acid solution.
This type of solar battery is known to be reliable and affordable, which is why it is widely used. It is also the oldest type of solar battery. The two main types of lead acid solar batteries are flooded and sealed batteries. They have the same function but their main difference is in how their electrolyte is contained.
Flooded batteries are cheaper than sealed ones but they require more maintenance. Sealed lead batteries require no maintenance and it is also safer to handle because it prevents leaks. This is commonly used for both off-grid and grid-tied systems. Other factors to consider if you are looking into buying lead acid batteries is their depth of discharge (DoD) and life span.
Factors such as usage patterns, operating conditions, maintenance, and quality of the battery all affect the lifespan of this type of solar battery. On average, well-maintained lead acid solar batteries can last between 3-5 years. High quality ones can last up to 10 years or more with adequate maintenance and operating conditions.
This type of solar battery is more expensive than the lead acid batteries but they have a longer lifespan and are highly efficient. Lithium-ion batteries minimize the energy loss during the charging and recharging process.
This type of solar battery can supply enough backup energy to power air conditioners and even electric vehicles. Their higher energy density also means that they can store more energy in a more compact and lighter package. It is best for applications with a limited space but have high energy requirements.
Although lithium-ion batteries might be the way to go, residents of solar-powered homes should still consider if it fits the needs of their existing system and priorities. This type still requires careful management to keep it from overheating or overcharging. Always remember to consider your budget, preferences, and energy needs in choosing the type of solar battery for your home.
Flow batteries store electrical energy in liquid electrolytes. It works by storing and releasing energy in chambers that are separated by a membrane. In other words, the electrolytes are stored in separate tanks which go through a cell. This is where they react in order to produce electricity.
It can easily be scaled up to work for large-scale energy storage applications, which is why it is mostly used for larger residential or commercial systems. For example, flow batteries are useful for power grids as back up power especially in remote places.
This type of solar battery is ideal for larger spaces because it has a lower energy density than the other types. This means that the amount of energy it can store is dependent on the size of the tank. This type of solar battery is still a viable option for large-scale energy applications because of its very high efficiency due to its 100% depth of discharge.
Nickel Cadmium batteries
Nickel cadmium or Ni-Cd is known to be durable due to its ability to deliver a high level of efficiency and reliability even in high temperatures. Another advantage of Ni-Cd is that it has a high DoD of around 80% to 90%, which is significantly higher than the other types of solar batteries. This means that the stored energy can be used or discharged to a lower level without incurring damages. It can also be left unused without being recharged which also makes it easier to maintain.
However, it should be noted that it contains toxic materials that can also have a substantial effect on the environment. This type is ideal for larger or industrial scale applications that require the frequent cycling or the charging and recharging of batteries. Nickel cadmium batteries are not typically used in residential solar systems because of the availability of more cost-effective options such as lithium-ion and lead acid batteries.
How do I determine the type of solar battery that is best for my home?
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy notes that homes with both solar energy systems and battery storage are typically called solar-plus-storage-systems. If you haven’t installed a solar-powered system for your home yet, you might want to consider adding solar batteries that go with it right off the bat. Doing so would be easier and more practical. However, households with existing solar energy systems can still experience the stability and security of having solar batteries by choosing the type that best fits their current system, needs, budget, among other factors.
Fortunately Nature’s Generator Home Power Eco-systems are designed to be both customizable and expandable. For instance, if you have Nature Generator’s Powerhouse, you can boost your whole home’s power capacity by also getting Nature’s Generator Power House Addition. The power pods are equipped with sealed lead acid batteries that are proven to be safe and reliable. Our support team is happy to help if you have questions about affordable whole house solar generators with expandable battery capacity.
* We want to give credit where credit is due. Professional writer, Shobe Cruz, contributed research and content to this blog titled: Types of Solar Batteries Thank you, Shobe, for your contributions!