Choosing the Right Batteries

Posted in: DIY, Home and Shelters, Tech 5

Choosing the Right BatteriesI’m back with more info that will help you get started on the whole going off the grid process. As Bob told me, it’s very important that we are informed when buying important components for our solar power system. After all, we do want to build something that will last and will provide the amount of energy we need don’t we?

Batteries are critical components of any solar power system, as they are the component of the system in which the power produced by your solar panels is stored until you are ready to use it. They come in a variety of different sizes and types. In fact, there are 4 basic types of batteries you may choose from. As I told you last week, it is crucial that you first asses your energy needs.The battery you choose will depend upon your power needs as well as the other parts of your solar power system, including your solar panels and inverter.

Here are some facts about the 4 types of batteries you can choose from:

RV/Marine/Golf Cart

These batteries are designed for small vehicles and boats and also for small solar power systems. They are also named deep cycle batteries. However, they don’t have the ability to provide continuous service through many charges and discharges over the years. So if you use this type of battery, you will notice that it will not last as long as many of the other types of batteries.

Flooded batteries

Flooded batteries are lead acid batteries that are designed with caps for you to add water to them. These are popular battery types of solar panel systems, as they not only work efficiently for many years, but they are also cheap. They release gas when they are fully charged, so don’t use them indoors. Be careful if using them in an enclosure, as those gases can be explosive if the enclosure is not ventilated.

Gel batteries

Gel batteries are suitable for indoors because they don’t release gas, like flooded batteries. These batteries are able to maintain a constant temperature, which means that they generally have better performance than flooded batteries.

AGM batteries

AGM  or Absorbed Glass Mat batteries are amongst the best available batteries for solar power systems because of their excellent performance. AGM batteries are designed with a woven glass mat installed between plates to hold electrolytes. They are leak-proof and don’t emit gas. AGM batteries last a long time, they self discharge more slowly than other batteries, and, therefore, last longer than other batteries. These batteries can often be found in airplanes, hospitals, and remote locations.

It is important to know how to care and maintain the batteries as well. There are some general basic rules in that respect.

Store your batteries at about 77 degrees. Cold batteries lose voltage and, as a result, performance from them will suffer. Remember that these temperature considerations may influence whether or not you choose a battery that can be stored indoors.

The most important aspect you should know is how to discharge the battery. The Depth of Discharge (DOD) is the percentage for how low you let your battery get in its charge before you recharge it. In general, you can let your battery discharge to about 50% before recharging to still get the best performance. However, the battery will last longer if you keep it as charged as you can, especially if it is a lead acid battery. In a pinch, most batteries can withstand discharges to about 20%.

I hope this information helps you to choose the right battery for your home. Just take your time in choosing the right one, and ask for help if you think it’s necessary. Next time I’m gonna tell you what I found out from my neighbor Bob about the other components of an electrical solar power system.

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