Solar Batteries Matter

76.jpgIf you want to buy solar panels, you most likely want to connect them to the grid. But there are some  homeowners and others who want to be or need to be off the grid. There are the folks who have a cabin in the mountains and there is no grid anywhere close by. There are the farmers in Northern California who are growing, well, let’s just say they don’t want anyone to know how much electricity they are using. There may also be some homeowners who are on the grid but want a battery back-up system for emergencies or natural disasters.  


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For these solar energy users, getting the right home solar panels is the easy part. The critical component of their off grid solar energy system is the solar battery. Choosing the correct solar batteries and understanding how to maintain and take care of them can be a challenge.  In a recent series of learning articles, we have tried to demystify solar batteries.


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Solar Battery Storage Systems: If You Can’t Tell Your AGM From Your Gel

The learning articles cover three important aspects of solar batteries: what they are, how to take care of them and how to size your system. We focused on lead acid batteries mainly because they are the cheapest and most common kind of solar battery that’s out there. You are probably thinking that we’ve gone a bit battery crazy, and you are probably right. Armed with the knowledge in these solar battery articles, you should be able to single-handedly tackle the world of off-grid solar energy storage.

The main message in the learning articles is that you can’t use any old car battery to backup your house. Unfortunately it just isn’t that simple. There are three kinds of solar lead acid batteries: flooded, gelled and absorbed glass matt (AGM). These are deep-cycle batteries meaning that they can be discharged and recharged deeply during years of continuous use.

Each lead acid battery has its advantages and disadvantages. Flooded batteries are cheapest but require maintenance while AGM batteries are durable but very costly. Gelled batteries, on the other hand, deal well with high temperatures but are easy to overcharge. Also AGM and gel are valve-regulated, so you don’t need to open them up to add water and check their charge level. In the end your solar battery choice will have important effects on your solar home experience. To get the most of your backup panels make sure you check out our online content.