EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SOLAR BATTERIES

Solar batteries can be considered as the arteries of a solar panel system. They help in storing the sun’s energy (through the solar panels) and allow the efficient utilization of this energy via an inverter.

Solar batteries need to meet the requirements of variable grid energy, irregular full recharging and heavy cycling (charging/discharging). There are numerous types of solar batteries that are used for these distinctive requirements. The decision to choose a specific battery is dependent on the cycle life, cost, installation and maintenance.

TYPES OF SOLAR BATTERIESTypes of solar batteries

Some of the common types of solar batteries include:

LEAD-ACID BATTERIES

Renewable energy has been making use of lead-acid batteries in off-grid applications for several decades. Flooded lead-acid solar batteries require refilling on a regular basis since the electrolyte fully submerging the solar battery plates tends to evaporate during charging.

LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES

Irrespective of the application, lithium-ion batteries are considered to be the most widely used storage technology. There are basically three types of lithium-ion batteries-1) used in tablets and smartphones (pouches) 2) used in power tools (cylindrical) and 3) used in electronic vehicles (prismatic).

FLOW BATTERIES

Another fast emerging storage option is the redox flow battery. The charging/discharging procedures are managed by the integrated power electronics and offer a minimal cost of ownership. However, the chemistry of flow battery can be complex and typically demands supporting equipment like sensors, pumps, control units as well as additional containment vessels.

TIPS ON SOLAR BATTERIES

Here are some tips to get the most out of your solar system batteries and avoid operational failures:

PROPER BATTERY BANK SIZE

It is vital for a battery bank to have a minimal five-day load capacity. In majority of the households, energy use will increase over a period of time. After a year of use, you should not consider enlarging the battery bank with the addition of new batteries. This is because the voltage response of batteries changes as it becomes older. There is a flow of stray currents which can lead to equalization failures. If a PV array is the main source of energy, it needs to be sized so as to be able to generate about 30 percent greater energy than required by the load. This will help in compensating for below-average charging conditions and battery losses. The good news is that it is possible to expand a PV array at any point of time.

SAY NO TO MULTIPLE PARALLEL STRINGS

The truth is that the best battery bank is actually the simplest. It consists of a single cell-series which are specially designed for the job. Studies show that there is a tendency among higher capacity batteries to have denser plates which means greater longevity. With reduced number of cells, there will be a minimal risk of random defects and maintenance will also be low.

You need to be extremely careful when buying solar batteries as some might guarantee full capacity or the promise of reaching full capacity within a few cycles. The batteries which have gone through more than a hundred cycles will be warmed up and outlast all those which claim an extremely high initial capacity.

If you have any questions or would like more information on solar batteries contact us or, come see us at our new location where you can have the chance to touch and learn about solar batteries and battery storage!

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NET ENERGY METERING 3.0 INFORMATION

Net Energy Metering 3.0 (NEM 3.0) is the incoming law created by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The new tariffs and fees will impact both residential and commercial solar systems built in California. 

As this notice is posted in November of 2022, the Proposed Decision from the CPUC outlining the proposed NEM 3.0 terms is expected soon. This comes after a year’s delay. Once the new agreement is finalized and passed into law, there will exist a designation of the deadline under which new systems will continue to qualify for NEM 2.0 rates. 

The new NEM 3.0 rates will be designed to lower the value of electricity during the daytime hours, when solar is producing, and increase the value of electricity during the evening hours, when solar homes and businesses purchase electricity. In short, NEM 3.0 will create a “sell low, buy high” proposition to new solar system owners. 

To Californians looking to install a solar system on their home or commercial building, the NEM 2.0 rates will be preferred. As of this post, the solar industry does not know the details of how different the NEM 3.0 rates will be from the NEM 2.0 rates. 

Please use the HES Solar website as a resource to learn more, and please take our offer to speak with an HES Solar Energy Consultant at no obligation.

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Robert Laverty

Senior Energy Consultant, Residential

Robert Laverty joined the HES team in the summer of 2018, bringing his ten years of solar design experience and his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Puget Sound with him. Robert is dedicated to finding solutions to help families produce and store electricity in order to reduce their reliance on grid power as well as help reduce their household’s carbon footprint. Robert’s experience as a newspaper editor as well as his involvement with the sustainability-focused Rocky Mountain Institute drives him to constantly seek out innovative ways to meet energy needs through renewable resources as well as helps him share those ideas with Southern California homeowners. When not at work or volunteering time with his church or community, Robert spends time with his wife and two sons or pursues his passion of fly fishing.
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