Solar Rechargeable Batteries: How Do They Work?
Solar panel use has grown significantly across the world over the past 10 years. In fact, solar power is now the most popular form of new electricity generation out of everything. And solar systems light solar lights have come a long way too over that time frame. They’re far more efficient now than they ever were and one of the reasons for that is down to the introduction of the solar rechargeable battery.
Different solar battery types
There are 4 main types of solar rechargeable battery storage of solar power:
- Lead-acid Battery: Often referred to as the deep cycle battery, the lead-acid battery has been used in solar applications for quite some time. These batteries normally cost a lot less than the lithium-ion battery but are a lot less efficient too. They do work, but to power your whole house you’d need a heck of a lot of them. Lead acid batteries are well known for having a low cycle life too, with a typical lifespan of around 5 years if you’re lucky.
- Lithium-ion Battery: The lithium battery has come a long way over the past few years as auto manufacturers continue to develop them for the electric car industry. They’re the same kind you see in laptops and cell phones and are quickly becoming the most popular choice of battery for use within the home. The main reason why they’re so widely used is because they have a much longer lifespan than the lead-acid battery, typically lasting around 15 years on average.
- Flow Battery: Flow batteries consist of mostly Zinc Bromide and are one of the newest additions to the world of battery storage. They’re quickly gaining popularity as flow batteries have a 100% depth of discharge unlike lead acid batteries, which have a depth of discharge of around 60%, and lithium-ion which have around 80–90%. The main disadvantage of flow batteries is their lifespan isn’t as good as lithium-ion batteries. Typically, they’ll last for around 4000 cycles at 100% depth of discharge, opposed to the 5000–6000 cycles at 80% depth of discharge that that lithium-ion can handle.
- Sodium Nickel Chloride Battery: Another fairly new entrant to the world of batteries is the sodium nickel chloride battery. They too are giving lithium-ion batteries a run for their money as are much more environmentally-friendly and are fully rechargeable. One thing that lets them down is they only have an average life cycle of around 3,500 cycles at 80% depth of discharge. Another is that they’re still very expensive in comparison to lithium-ion batteries.
How do they work?
The way in which solar batteries work is by taking the AC energy that’s harvested by the solar panels and stores it as DC power to be used later on. The higher the capacity of the battery, the more solar panels it can charge. Having a solar battery included as part of your solar panel system, allows you to save any excess electricity that’s produced. Then, when the solar panels aren’t harvesting as much electricity you can simply use what’s been stored up in the battery. That way you will only ever send electricity back to the grid if and when your battery is fully charged.
Solar batteries don’t have to be hooked up to a solar system to be of use. As well as providing you with a place to store your excess solar energy, these batteries are great to use as a short-term solution to power your goods during an outage.
Benefits of solar batteries
There are so many benefits that come with using solar batteries. Here are a few examples:
- Performance: Solar batteries perform well whatever the weather. Even if it’s 0 degrees Fahrenheit, they’ll only lose around 10 percent efficiency. They have to work a little harder in hotter temperatures of around 86 degrees Fahrenheit and above, but will still only lose around 20% of their efficiency.
- Cleaner source of energy: The lithium-ion solar batteries that are widely used today are much kinder to the environment than other battery types. While they do still require a certain amount of mining in which to get the lithium, there’s less material needed in these batteries than others and therefore less impact on the planet.
- Smart technology: A new wave of battery is emerging that uses ‘smart’ technology to function efficiently. These smart batteries have the ability to learn different weather and energy patterns enabling them to store energy in abundance when not needed and distribute it when it is. This helps to minimize the waste of energy.
- Savings: Whatever type of solar battery you decide to use, you will save money in the long run. After the initial cost of buying your equipment, harvesting solar energy is free and can save you a considerable amount of money on your utility bills over a period of time.
- Peace of mind: If you do have a power outage it’s good to know you have some form of back-up for at least the essentials. It’s no fun being left in the dark or without power for and with solar batteries you have peace of mind that you’ll be OK for a good few hours at least.
Solar battery technology is one of the best inventions to come out in the past decade. No longer do we have to rely so heavily on the grid to power our homes. Now, we can take control of our lives, help the planet by using less fossil fuels, and save a great deal of money while doing so. Hopefully, by now, you will have gained a deeper understanding as to what solar rechargeable batteries, how they work, and why it’s beneficial to have one fitted within your home. Now all that’s left for you to do is go get one!