Adding solar batteries to your solar power system can help you to expand its functionality and provide you with the opportunity to achieve true energy independence. But which type of solar battery is best? This article will explore the different types of solar batteries on the market and help you choose the best chemical configuration for your needs.
Lead-acid batteries have been around for decades, even before the age of solar power. This tried and true battery option is the cheapest one on the market, so they’re great for building a solar battery bank on a budget. They’ve proven themselves to be reliable in solar applications, and because they’ve been around for so long, they’re easy to recycle when they reach the end of their lifespan.
Unfortunately, that lifespan is rather short—only 5 to 10 years. They have a low depth of discharge, which means that they can only provide a small percentage of their stored power to you without damaging themselves from over-discharging.
Nickel-cadmium, or Ni-Cd batteries aren’t as popular as other battery types, but they’ve been around for just as long as lead-acid batteries. These highly durable batteries are most popular in the aircraft industry, but can make good solar batteries. They’re basically maintenance-free and don’t require a complex battery management system.
The major downside to these batteries is that they’re very toxic—so toxic, in fact, that they’re illegal in some countries. This makes them hard to properly dispose of when they reach the end of their lifespan. Additionally, Ni-Cd batteries are prone to the “memory effect,” which can reduce their ability to hold a charge.
Lithium-ion batteries are the newest addition to the solar power storage scene, but that hasn’t stopped them from quickly becoming the most popular option for solar battery banks. They require no regular maintenance, and because they have a higher battery energy density, they can hold more energy in a much smaller space; that means less storage space taken up by a bulky battery bank. Their lifespans are also much longer, with most lasting over 15 years. Perhaps most important, however, is that they have a higher efficiency than other batteries and a greater depth of discharge, which means a lower cost per watt.
If you’re building a solar battery bank, look for lithium solar batteries for sale if you want a bank that’s going to provide you with the most power for the lowest long-term cost.