Alternative Home Energy

Deep Cycle Battery Systems for PV Solar Electricity

Since solar electricity is seldom generated during nighttime hours, surplus electricity generated by PV panels during the daytime needs to be stored for later use. This is best accomplished through the use of a deep charge battery system.

Solar Photovoltaic Battery

Solar batteries are used to store power generated from the sun, and then discharge the power when energy is required. Upon leaving the battery, the current still needs to pass through a solar inverter in order to be utilized by household AC appliances. This is typical of all photovoltaic energy.

Deep cycle batteries are not only rechargable, but they're designed to be repeatedly discharged almost all the way down to a very low charge. Comprised of solid lead plates, it's not uncommon for deep cycle batteries to be emptied to as much as 20% of their total capacity before energy ceases flowing from the battery. Deep cycle solar batteries are designed specifically for storing energy generated by photovoltaic PV systems and then being drawn upon for power on a consistent, daily basis.

Solar Charge Controllers - How They Keep Your Deep Cycle Battery at Peak Capacity

Nestled between a home's solar PV panels and the deep cycle battery is the solar charge controller. This device acts as a regulator between the panels and the battery, determining when it's time to charge the battery or when it's already at full charge. One of the main jobs of the charge controller is to prevent battery overcharging.

Almost every solar charge controller these days will come with the option of automatic or manual equalization. This allows the homeowner to determine exactly what amperage or voltage the battery should be maxed out at, but it also lets them see how much charge is left on the battery at any given time. Some of the best models of solar charge controllers are made by companies such as Morningstar, Blue Sky Energy, Steca, and Apollo. As far as PV battery manufacturers, the top name brands would be Deka, Concorde, Surrette, Crown, HuP, and Trojan solar batteries.

Other Types of Solar Battery Systems - Gel Electrolyte Regulted Lead-Acid Batteries

In the effort to improve deep charge battery performance, gel batteries were developed. These products consist of valve regulated lead-acid, where the electrolyte has the look and feel of petroleum jelly. The gel can't flow like the liquid in other batteries, which is why the gel battery is often called non-spillable. Even when turned upside down, there's no risk of the battery leaking acid and therefore damaging solar components.

By using gel instead of liquid, the lead plates making up the battery are a lot more protected in the event of deep discharges. Correct mixing of the gel is critical to solar battery performance, as well as to the battery's life cycle. Batteries manufactured using a vaccuum process will perform more consistently than those formed using vibration methods to remove air pockets during construction. Welds made deep inside the battery must also be correctly done, or the solar battery may slowly leak, a condition known as 'self-discharge'.

Photovoltaic Solar Battery Chargers - Other Uses

Aside from charging your PV batteries, modern solar chargers have a variety of other uses. Lithium-ion batteries for cameras, cellphones, or iPods can be charged. Rechargable batteries can also be juiced up, from AA and AAA to C, D and 9V batteries for any other type of portable electronics. When coupled with portable solar panel kits, your solar charger becomes invaluable on camping excursions, vacation spots, or trips to the beach.

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