Solar Energy Insights Five

BATTERIES

The batteries are used for both residential and commercial solar system projects, wherein the battery back-up is essential. We can opt to use a single battery or a number of batteries in order to form a battery bank. Generally speaking, there are different kinds of batteries that could be used in the solar system as a battery back-up.

FVLA – FLOODED VENTED LEAD ACID BATTERY

FVLA – Flooded Vented Lead Acid Battery. The salient features of the flooded vented lead-acid battery are, ability to supply high surge current, large power to weight ratio, low cost, low energy to weight ratio, and low energy to volume ratio, make it an attractive choice to use in motor vehicles with the advantage of the ability to provide high current desired by starter motors. Lead plated cells are used in lead-acid battery with Sulphuric Acid and Water in a mixed proportion being used as an electrolyte. The 12V and 100/135/175/200 Amps batteries are usually attached to solar panels. Whereas, small amperage batteries could also be used to facilitate charging directly with a 12V Solar Panel.

VRLA – VALVE REGULATED LEAD ACID BATTERY

VRLA and/or Valve Regulated Lead Acid Battery which is also known as SLA – Sealed Lead Acid Battery. It is a kind of battery classified by a limited amount of electrolyte and/or starved electrolyte which is absorbed in a plate separator or duly formed into a gel. Taking due care in proportioning of the negative and positive plates, so as to facilitate oxygen recombination within the cell and the presence of a relief valve is to ensure retaining the contents of the battery independent of the position of the cell. There are in fact two primary kinds of VRLA Batteries, that is, AGM and GEL. On account of their construction VRLA Batteries can be mounted in any orientation and do not require constant maintenance like FVLA Batteries, but do require regular cleaning and functional testing.

AGM – ABSORBENT GLASS MATT BATTERY

These batteries feature fiberglass mesh between the battery plates, so as to contain the electrolyte and also to separate the plates. This is to be noted that AGM Battery does differ from Flooded Vent Lead Acid Battery by virtue of holding the electrolyte in the glass mats. Moreover, it is added here that very thin glass fibers are woven into a mat with the objective to increase the surface area well enough to hold an adequate amount of electrolyte on the cells for their life span. These batteries are expensive than FVLA Batteries with a longer life span. AGM Battery of 12V and 100/150/200 Amps are available. Deep cycle AGM Batteries are used in off-grid solar and wind power installations as part of an energy storage bank.

GEL BATTERY

These batteries feature the addition of silica dust to the electrolyte so as to form a thick putty-like gel. Gel and/or deep cycle gel battery have gelled as an electrolyte, with low discharge voltage compared to AGM and FVLA Battery. Interestingly, life expectancy is superior to its counterparts. Mind you, specific and dedicated battery charger to be used for optimum results. The specifications are 12V and 100/150/200 Amps. These Gel batteries are the number one choice for solar system applications.

To be continued on Solar Energy Insights Six …

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