You have built your new solar panels and they are providing power for your home. But what happens when you leave the house, turning off your lights and appliances? Where does all that fresh clean newly produced solar energy go now that your household demand has dropped to nearly zero?
The answer is Batteries!
A battery is a device that stores electrical energy. Batteries are made up of positive and negative terminal material, separated by an electrolytic medium (something that allows the flow of electrons from one terminal to the other).
There are many types of batteries. Wet, Gel or Dry.
The best example of wet or gel type batteries are the automotive batteries we use in our cars. These are mostly Lead-Acid type.
Marine or Deep Cycle batteries are a special purpose battery designed to provide a constant current for long periods. Automotive batteries are designed to produce a high current for a brief period to start the motor.
The long constant current capability is what makes the deep cycle batteries ideal for solar energy systems.
NiCad batteries are made from Nichol-Cadium and are a dry rechargeable type battery. NiCad are used in many electronic devices but do not have the capacity required for a home solar energy system.
Lithium Ion batteries are the newest and most powerful variety of rechargeable battery. Li Ion batteries have a storage capacity greater than Lead-Acid batteries, and have the same constant current delivery properties as the deep cycle batteries.
Li Ion batteries would be the ideal choice for home solar energy systems, however at this time, they are 3 to 4 times the cost of the available lead-acid deep cycle batteries.
So what are the Benefits of Batteries in Solar Energy Systems?
A Solar Energy System generates power during the day as the sun shines on the solar panels. Typically this provides 5 hours of full strength sun power. This generated power is usually more than what is required by the home user. The excess power is stored in reserve for use at night when the solar panels cannot produce energy.
Batteries are used to store the solar generated energy during the day, and then provide the energy to the home at night. Deep cycle batteries are durable enough to handle this daily charge/discharge routine. Without the batteries, your home would not be able to benefit from the massive energy of the sun generated power.
In this article, we have discussed the basic properties and types of batteries, the various types used in solar energy systems, and how batteries benefit your home energy system.