There are many factors to take into consideration when shopping for solar battery for your home solar power system. Two things to keep in mind are the type of battery you’re looking for, and what exactly you’re wanting to get out of your solar battery.
Batteries used in home energy storage typically are made with one of three chemical compositions: lead acid, lithium ion, and Ni-Cd. In most cases, lithium ion batteries are the best option for solar panels system, though other battery types can be more affordable.
Types of solar battery
There are three main types of battery technologies that pair with residential solar systems:
- Lead acid batteries
- Lithium ion batteries
- Nickel based batteries
Each of these battery backup power technologies has its own set of unique characteristics. Let’s take a closer look at what each type of solar battery has to offer.
Lead acid batteries
Lead acid batteries are a tested technology that has been used in off-grid energy systems for decades. While they have a relatively short life and lower DoD than other battery types, they are also one of the least expensive options currently on the market in the home energy storage sector. For homeowners who want to go off the grid and need to install lots of energy storage, lead acid can be a good option.
The reliability of lead-acid batteries is great for off-grid solar systems, or for emergency backup storage in case of a power outage.
You can read AGM Battery Datasheet
Pros of lead acid solar battery
Lead acid batteries are the cheapest energy storage option, making them the most cost effective. They are also reliable. Plus, because the technology has been around for years, they can be easily disposed of and recycled.
Cons of lead acid battery
Flooded lead acid batteries require ventilation and regular maintenance to operate correctly, which increases the chances of the battery leaking.
This also limits how flooded lead acid batteries can be installed, because they can’t be placed on their side. They also have a low depth of discharge (DoD), so they need to be charged more often.
Having a low depth of discharge also means they have a shorter lifespan – between 5 and 10 years.
Lithium ion solar battery
The majority of new home energy storage technologies, such as the , use some form of lithium ion chemical composition. Lithium ion batteries are lighter and more compact than lead acid batteries. They also have a higher DoD and longer lifespan when compared to lead acid batteries. However, lithium ion batteries are more expensive than their lead acid counterparts.
As the popularity of electric vehicles began to rise, EV manufacturers realized lithium ion’s potential as an energy storage solution. They quickly became one of the most widely used solar battery banks.
Lithium ion batteries are best for residential solar installations because they can hold more power in a limited space, and allow you to use more of the energy stored within the battery, which is great for powering a home.
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Pros of lithium ion battery
Lithium ion batteries require almost no regular maintenance.
They also have a higher battery energy density, meaning they can hold more energy in a smaller space than a lead acid battery.
Lithium ion batteries have a longer lyfe cycle, or lifespan, as well – most have a guaranteed warranty of at least 10 years. This longer lifespan has to do with lithium ion batteries having a higher depth of discharge, so you can use more of the energy stored within the battery before it has to be recharged.
Cons of lithium ion battery
One of the biggest disadvantages of lithium ion batteries is that they are more expensive than other energy storage technologies.
Also, because of their chemistry, lithium ion storage systems have a higher chance of catching fire due to something called thermal runaway. However, if installed properly, the chance of your battery catching fire is close to zero.
Nickel cadmium batteries
Nickel cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries aren’t as widely used as lead acid or lithium ion batteries.
Ni-Cd batteries first sprung on the scene in the late 1800’s, but they got a makeover in the 1980s that greatly increased how much energy they could store. They are a favorite amongst the aircraft industry.
Ni-Cd batteries are popular for large scale applications, like utility solar energy storage, because of their durability.
Pros of Ni-Cd battery
The main benefit of Ni-Cd batteries is that they are durable. They also have the ability to operate at extreme temperatures. Additionally, they don’t require complex battery management systems and are basically maintenance-free.
Cons of Ni-Cd battery
The biggest downfall of Ni-Cd batteries is that cadmium is extremely toxic.
In fact, the use of cadmium is banned in some countries. This makes them hard to dispose of. They also are prone to the memory effect, which limits their ability to hold a charge.
How to find the right solar battery type for you
In most cases, the best battery for you to get for a home solar installation is a lithium ion battery.
They are able to hold more energy in a small amount of space, discharge most of their stored energy, and they have high efficiencies. Also, because these are the most common, many solar companies will be able to install a lithium ion solar battery both accurately and safely.
If you are on a budget, lead acid batteries could be the best option for you. They have been used for decades, plus they come at a low cost.
Although you could get a Ni-Cd battery or a flow battery to pair with your solar system, lithium ion and lead acid are the go-to solar batteries for a reason.
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