Solar batteries– Make the Right Choice
If you are using solar energy for your regular electricity consumption, using rechargeable solar batteries to store excess energy to be used when needed has several advantages. You can safely keep your appliances running even when there is a power outage. They also help you save money for being energy independent. They are often called deep cycle batteries for their ability to charge and discharge a good amount of energy.
Before you invest in a good solar battery, it is crucial to know more about the different types of solar batteries in the market.
Types of solar batteries
There are mainly four types of solar batteries used for residences with solar panels. Let’s have a look at each of these.
Lead acid batteries – These are known to be the most reliable of the lot and have been in use since the 1800’s. These time-tested deep cycle batteries are of two kinds – flooded lead acid batteries and sealed lead acid or valve regulated batteries. Lead acid batteries are the most cost-effective option when it comes to solar batteries and ideal for use for off-grid solar systems, or as emergency backup storage in case of a power outage. Also, considering it is an old technology, they are easy to dispose and recycle. Flooded lead acid batteries need proper ventilation and timely maintenance for best effect. They have a lifespan of 5 to 10 years.
Lithium-ion batteries – Pretty much the new kid on the block; lithium-ion batteries have evolved as the most used solar energy storage batteries. They are almost maintenance free and can hold more energy in a smaller space than a lead acid battery. This makes them ideal for use in residential solar installations. Lithium-ion batteries last long because of their higher depth of discharge. This means you can use more stored energy before every recharge. The downside of lithium-ion batteries could be its pricing – it is more expensive than other solar storage solutions.
Nickel cadmium batteries – These are not as common as lead acid or lithium-ion batteries. Nickel cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries, which gained popularity in the late 1800s are more commonly used by the aircraft industry and other large-scale commercial installations. In the 1980s, it saw a transformation with increased energy storage capacity. Sturdy and durable, lithium-ion batteries work well in extreme temperatures and don’t require much maintenance. The biggest negative when it comes to Ni-Cd batteries is its toxicity, and the difficulty to dispose of them.
Flow batteries – These batteries are a promising and fast emerging technology in solar batteries. A water-based electrolyte liquid flows within two chambers inside the battery causing a chemical reaction, which helps the energy to be stored and later discharged. They boast of a high percentage of depth of discharge and one can use all the energy stored safely. A low maintenance battery, it is a fire retardant too and has a lifespan of 30 years. Being big in size and hence more expensive, this may not be the best option for residential use. They can be used for large scale systems.