Solar batteries are an essential part of home solar PV systems. Without them, solar energy would be unsuitable for most applications as they would only produce power during sunlight. Batteries act as a buffer against the vicissitudes of weather conditions and connected load. How long your solar energy system can take you through the night is dependent on how good the batteries are, so it is important to take care of the batteries to ensure optimal functionality and durability.
Here are important measures to take care of your solar batteries:
- Avoid discharging the battery too far
Batteries are not meant to discharge to 0%, discharging a battery too far can reduce the lifespan of the battery. The general rule is to not go below 50% during discharge. This typically equates to 12volts for a 12V nominal system. This is where charge controllers come in to prevent over discharging of the batteries. Most solar PV systems come with charge controllers which regulate the rate of charge and discharge thereby putting the owner’s mind at rest and protecting battery life
- Ensure that the batteries come back to full charge regularly
Charging your batteries full at least once a week can help extend the lifespan of the battery. It may be difficult to determine when the battery is full. This is another place where the charge controller plays an important role
- Add distilled water (for flooded lead acid batteries)
Electrolyte level should be monitored at least once every week and should be topped up with distilled water only. Tap water may contain minerals which may reduce the effectiveness of the battery. Overfilling of the battery should be avoided as it may lead to loss of useful electrolyte. To avoid this maintenance routine, you can opt for the gel lead-acid battery or the lithium-ion battery which are more expensive.