Types of batteries used in solar-powered systems

Batteries used in solar-powered systems

In the daytime, solar-powered systems produce and run on electricity generated from the solar panels. In the night, when there is no sunlight, or on very cloudy days, a form of energy storage is needed necessitating the need for batteries.

A battery is simply a device that stores energy.
There are two major types of batteries that can be used to store energy from the sun namely: Lead-Acid and Lithium-Ion batteries.

READ: What size of battery bank do I need in my home?

Lithium-ion battery

Lithium-ion batteries are popularly used in electronics like mobile phones and laptops. They have started gaining a market share in the solar industry. An example is a Powerwall battery by Tesla.

Tesla Powerwall Home Battery

Some advantages of these type of batteries are:

1. They have low self-discharge rates.

2. They have high efficiency and energy density.

3. They have a high cell voltage

Some disadvantages of Lithium-ion batteries are:

1. They have high manufacturing costs.

2. They are susceptible to explosions due to mechanical, thermal or chemical stress.

Lead-acid battery

Lead-acid batteries are the oldest form of rechargeable batteries. and the most common batteries used in solar industry in Nigeria. In a lead acid battery, the grids and electrodes are made up of lead. To improve mechanical strength, additives like calcium and more are added.
There are different types of lead acid batteries. They can be classified either based on their application or on the electrolyte used.

READ: 8 Important tips to maintain your battery

Based on their application, we have two types, starter batteries and deep-cycle batteries. Starter batteries are used in automobiles. Deep cycle batteries are used as storage in renewable energy systems

Based on the type of electrolyte, we have the Flooded Lead-Acid Battery also known as wet cell batteries and the Valve Regulated Lead-Acid battery, also called the sealed or dry-cell battery.  Flooded batteries require topping up with distilled water while VRLA batteries do not as their electrolyte is semi-solid in nature.
The sealed or dry-cell batteries are of two types: Gel battery and the Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) battery. Gel batteries have longer life cycles than AGM battery.
In general, some advantages of Lead-Acid batteries are:

1. They are cost effective.

2. They are dependable.

3. They are recyclable.

Some disadvantages are:

1. They are heavy.

2 They have a low cycle and deep discharge stability.

READ: Battery Do’s and Dont’s

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