Best Solar Battery for a Home Solar Power System

Posted on : 27-01-2014 | By : Max | In : DIY Solar

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GUIDE: How To Make a DIY Solar Power System At Home

Best Solar Battery

In their simplest form, solar batteries are devices that are charged by using the sun’s rays, also known as solar power. These days there are many different kinds of solar batteries which work with a solar power system in order to generate clean, free energy for the user. What kind of battery to use will depend on whether or not you plan to use your power immediately, whether you intend to store it, and what kind of solar power collection system you have.

In the past, those who used solar batteries were in the minority, but as gas prices skyrocket and oil supplies begin to dry up, a solar battery bank has become a popular purchase. Once the initial purchase is made, it can be free to charge and recharge batteries for all types of applications, including small vehicles, charging mobile devices, powering a home during an outage, and providing light and energy even after traditional batteries run out of juice.

While the draw for some may be the small startup costs and the ability to access free energy, many others have turned to solar batteries as a way to keep damaging chemicals out of the air and landfill. By using rechargeable batteries and letting go of many of the more traditional energy applications, fewer batteries will end up in landfills and fewer will have to be made. In addition, less oil will have to be drilled and combusted for other types of power.

In order to begin your own solar power storage, you will need a battery bank (which includes a battery charger), solar batteries, a charge controller, and a solar power collection system. Because there are many different types of batteries that can be used in a solar system, it is necessary to know what types are available and which work best.

Are There Different Types of Solar Batteries?

There are three kinds of batteries that are most commonly used as solar batteries. These are lead acid, nickel cadmium, and nickel iron. Each one of these batteries use a different formulation of components to both store and then put out energy as needed. Lead acid batteries are the most popular and the most common. They have been the solar power industry standard for decades, as they are abundant, easy to produce, and hold their power relatively well.

Even among lead acid batteries, there are different variations, classified by their size and ability to charge and retain that charge over time. Large solar batteries, like the ones used in cars, may retain their charge for up to twenty years, if they are well cared for. Others, for example, used in off-road vehicles, may be easier to store, but can only hold a charge for three to five years.

Nickel cadmium (consisting of a nickel node and cadmium node, also called “NiCad”) batteries are used by a small portion of the solar power system population, even though some experts believe them to be the most efficient and safest kind of battery to use for solar, especially because using them in this capacity is much more environmentally-friendly than disposing of them. NiCad batteries are also better for people whose solar power system may be exposed to varying temperatures, as extreme cold or heat does affect a NiCad battery as much as it affects a lead acid battery.

The last kind of solar battery is called a Nickel Iron battery or a NiFe battery. While this battery does not hold a charge as long as its counterparts, the long-term life of this battery quickly outstrips both the lead acid and NiCad batteries. They have other drawbacks, however, that they do not have the ability to put out a consistent stream of voltage, which means that you will not be able to use them to power devices that demand this kind of consistency, for example, a refrigerator.

What Types of Solar Batteries Are Best to Use with a Home Solar Power System?

What kind of battery is best for your system will depend partially on what your solar battery, once charged, will be used for. Most people find that for batteries that are regularly cycled, used, and recharged, lead acid batteries are the best choice. For long-term storage, NiFe or NiCad are the best options. For daily usage and constant turn over, lead acid are the batteries of choice, though a NiFe solar battery may come in handy in some applications.

The other portion of you decision should be made only after considering your budget. Though it is free to collect, store, and use the solar energy, the batteries themselves can be expensive, especially NiFe batteries. Though NiFe batteries are widely regarded as the best new thing in solar power, it turns out that NiCad or the ever-popular lead acid varieties will be more efficient. NiCad is also an expensive choice, but they are more reliable and prone to less discharge than NiFe.

The best all-around solar battery is still the lead acid. With proper care and cycling, lead acid batteries can outlast all other varieties, as well as providing a consistent flow of power and a very low discharge rate, at a reasonable price, even for someone just getting started with a solar power system. Though they may not have as long a life as other solar batteries, they provide a steady stream of voltage, unlike the two alkaline selections. It is vital with this type of battery to invest in a charge controller, as over charging a battery can reduce its life.

For an all-purpose solar battery, especially one that can be used on an every-day basis, choose lead acid. For a solar battery designed for backup power, NiCad is going to be the best choice. No matter which you choose, be sure that you have the proper charging and storage measures, as both of these batteries contain destructive substances that can cause serious damage or harm.

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