When most people think of solar batteries, the first think that comes to mind is “weak”….While this may, to a degree, still be true, it is definitely changing. Today renewable energy only are better than they’ve ever been before, and so are devices that protect them. More often than not battery failure today is due to other factors aside from the battery itself. Still, effective and complete battery care can complement and extend the life of your solar battery.
Proper sizing a Bank and PV Array
when using the solar battery you want to size it to a capacity of a 5 day load. Energy use usually increases in a home over time so you want a size for above what the usage you have. Why? Well, it’s not really a good idea to just add battery banks of your usage increases, especially not in the newer systems. More about increases the risk of stray current flows and causes losses of current. Besides a larger system can also have problems with equalizing. If you battery is the primary source of energy for the solar system, it needs to be sized to create 30% more energy than the load actually requires. This will compensate for battery losses or less than ideal charging conditions.
Pay Attention to Quality
remember that you always get what you pay for. So you have to keep in mind that a deep cycle battery is an essential item for your solar system. A good deep cycle battery can last for as long as 15 years and is even more, but cheap batteries can give you trouble in less than half the time.
Keep It Simple
the best battery bank is one that simple; one that consists of a series of cells and previously sized for the load it carries. Look for higher capacity batteries as these also tend to have thicker plates and greater longevity. Fewer cells reduces the chance of defects and reduces the amount of maintenance you need to perform. So if you need a 700 Amp-hour bank you can use 2 large L-16 style batteries at (350AH) or a single industrial battery instead of 3 parallel golf cart batteries.
Avoid installing more than 3 parallel battery strings as this might mean the bank loses equalization and results in weak cells.
There are precautions to take when wiring two or more strings of batteries key here is to maintain equal charge as those that receive less charge are more likely to fail sooner. So be sure to arrange batteries so they keep even temperature distribution throughout the bank.
Corrosion of cables and terminals can be problematic and even a potential hazard. Plus once corrosion starts it can be very hard to stop. However, corrosion is very easy to prevent, just apply a non-hardening sealant to all the terminals and metal parts at the time of the time of the solar assembly. Be sure to coat the terminals lugs and nuts individually. Use petroleum jelly to coat lugs and nuts to protect from corrosion. Just apply a thin coating with fingers. However if you do see an exposed terminal make sure it gets sealed using heat shrink tubing or electrical tape.
Place the batteries over a floor drain or an area above a floor so it can be rinsed. You want to wash the battery tops about twice a year as this will reduce corrosion and prevent stray currents.
Keep Temperatures Moderate
Batteries lose about 25% of their capacity at lower temperatures of 25°F to 30°F compared to when they sit at a moderate 77°F. When they are at higher temperatures they also tend to deteriorate faster, so you want to avoid direct heat and cold which could cause battery damage.
Use Low-voltage Disconnects
When you disconnect the battery to exhaustion this also causes the loss of capacity and a lower life expectancy. Use a low voltage disconnect system to prevent over-discharge. Most battery systems have this integrated automatically into the system.
Fully Charge Every Couple of Weeks
Bring your batteries to a full charge every 3 to 4 weeks as this reduces degradation and gives you better equalization. It keeps weaker cells from falling behind. The charged indicator will give you a 100% reading or you can use a voltmeter to check full charge.
Use a Good System Monitor
Metering is not just an extra thing you don’t really need. A good system monitor helps you read the status of the system. This is a system that monitors the current and voltage accurately and displays the state of charge.
The deep cycle batteries in your solar system are the heart of your power, so you need to pay attention to them and keep them well maintained. It just requires understanding the best placement and some simple cleaning maintenance once in a while. Tis is what will keep your batteries lasting longer.