Solar Panel Tips - Picking Out And Protecting Your Batteries

If you want to reduce your home electrical costs and your carbon footprint at the same time, then it is in your best interest to look into solar panels. Professionally installed panels can help to create all the electricity you need for your home. Deep cycle batteries must be attached to these panels to store electricity. A good set of batteries can keep your appliances running in the evening and on cloudy days. The batteries must be chosen and protected properly though, and the tips below can help you with this maintenance.

Choose the Right Batteries 

Sealed Batteries

When you solar panels are initially installed, you will have the opportunity to secure a bank of batteries to the panels right away. There are two types of batteries you can choose from. Completely sealed batteries are one option, and these devices are considered maintenance free. Sulfuric acid in the batteries is formed into a gel and secured over lead plates, or the acid is held in foam mats.

Unfortunately, these batteries are quite expensive and they can be damaged permanently if they are accidentally overcharged. Overcharging can dry out the battery as well, and a replacement will then be required.

Wet Batteries

Wet or flooded liquid acid batteries are the other option you can consider when adding solar panels to your home. These batteries contain sulfuric acid fluids and distilled water that surround lead plates. The liquid batteries are cheaper and they come in a variety of sizes that allow you to increase the amperage needed to power your home.  

The batteries do require some maintenance though. They need to be checked often to make sure that leaks and spills do not occur and distilled water needs to be added on occasion. The batteries are less sensitive to overcharging though. Bubbling may occur, but the batteries will not be permanently damaged. Wet batteries are often considered the best choice for home solar power use.

Buying the Right Number

After you make your battery choice, purchase enough batteries to supply your home with consistent electricity. Ask your solar panel installer how much energy your panels are likely to output each day. Multiply this number by three or four and purchase batteries that can store this amount of electricity. This way, you will be able to pull electricity from the batteries when solar output is low on cloudy days.

Protect Your Batteries From the Elements

Stopping Corrosion

Once you choose the batteries for your solar power system, you will need to make sure they are safe from corrosion. Corrosion usually starts around the lead terminals that sit on tops of your batteries. The wires that attach the batteries together and the nuts that secure the wires to the terminals can corrode as well. Corrosion can cause shorts in the electrical system and the rust can travel inside the batteries and damage the lead plates. This can result in poor performance and the need for early replacements.

You can easily stop corrosion by applying a sealant around battery terminals and nuts. You can use petroleum jelly to protect the metal components or you can purchase a product meant to cover the battery parts.  

Reducing Temperature Fluctuations

Batteries are affected by fluctuating temperatures. The heat can cause batteries to overcharge or overheat and the cold can reduce the storage capacity. This means that you need to protect your batteries from extreme temperatures to reduce maintenance and performance issues. The easiest way to do this is to make sure that your batteries are stored close to your home. This will provide shade and keep the wind from chilling the batteries too much.

Your batteries should also be housed or enclosed in a structure to insulate them from both hot and cold temperatures. Stainless steel cabinets and wooden storage spaces are both good options. Just make sure the enclosure contains small vents to allow for some air flow around the batteries.  

If you are thinking about investing in solar panels on or near your home, then you need to make sure you purchase batteries that can store the energy produced by the panels. Picking out the right batteries and protecting them properly is necessary for good function, so make sure to follow the tips above.