After discussing the process of installing photovoltaic panels, it is only natural to move on to batteries, which are necessary for a solar system to function autonomously or for its self-consumption to be increased. The power generated by your solar panels will need to be stored in an inverter battery for home usage if you have chosen for an off-grid installation and are not linked to the electrical network. When using renewable energy sources for personal use, it is often preferable to store some of the energy generated for later use or sale at a profit. In this case, you may use a variety of battery types.
Review of Battery Operation
The battery is a device that stores and releases electrical energy electrochemically. The anode and the cathode are the two electrodes that make up the battery, and they both sit in an electrolyte (a liquid, a paste, or a gel) that facilitates the flow of electrons and, by extension, electricity.
During this process, chemical energy is transformed into electrical energy when the electrodes react with the electrolyte. Since the anode and cathode are made of different materials, an electrical voltage is produced when the circuit is closed because electrons flow from the anode to the cathode and vice versa. During this process, the battery is slowly draining.
In order to reshape the electrodes, the chemical process must be reversed during the loading phase. The battery’s capacity naturally degrades over time as a result of repeated discharge and recharge cycles. “landfill sensitivity” describes this phenomenon. Therefore, the sensitivity to discharge may range from very high to very low, significantly extending or shortening the battery’s lifespan, depending on the kind of battery being used. Accordingly, it is crucial to choose the appropriate battery for the intended use.
What are the many battery options available?
Most batteries fall into one of three categories:
- Lead-acid batteries: Lead-acid batteries are widely used, have been around the longest, and are the least expensive option. The lead-acid batteries often used to crank over automobile engines fall into this family. Due to their overall poor energy density, lead batteries can only store a limited amount of energy proportional to their weight. Therefore, most of them will be bulky batteries, which is an issue only for mobile use; fixed storage places less emphasis on portability.
- Lithium batteries: Lithium battery, the most up-to-date technology, offers a longer lifespan but are very maintenance-intensive. Their once unaffordable prices are slowly becoming more accessible. With a high energy density and low weight, these batteries are convenient for use in a variety of applications. However, lithium batteries are so sensitive to electrochemical changes that they must be used in conjunction with a Battery Management System (BMS), a circuit that regulates the voltage of individual battery cells. Depending on the manufacturer, this BMS may come standard or be an additional purchase. As a result, installing these batteries might be more time-consuming and labor-intensive, but they provide an absolute assurance of reliability and performance throughout the life of the system.
- Nickel batteries: If properly cared for, Nickel batteries may survive for twenty years or more. Alternatively, they are rechargeable batteries that may be repackaged to extend their shelf life. On the downside, nickel batteries aren’t always the easiest to recycle without causing damage. Nickel cadmium batteries, the most toxic kind, are now thankfully illegal to produce.