Solar power is the buzzword of the 21st century. It’s nonpolluting and the electricity produced by harnessing solar energy can be used in the same way as electricity produced by burning fossil fuels. From running lights and fans to heavy-duty appliances – everything is possible with solar power. Did you know that the Kochi airport runs entirely on solar power? If it can power an airport, it can meet all the electricity requirements in your home. What do you need – solar panels, a solar inverter and a solar inverter battery. Let’s take a look at some of the things to keep in mind when you choose a battery for your system.
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Can you do without a battery?
Solar power is dependent on sunlight. Hence, once the sun sets, you will not be able to generate any electricity. With a solar power system, you can choose to be independent and completely cut off from the main power grid or remain connected to the power grid. In case of the latter, the excess power generated by your system is shared with the grid during the day and at night, you can draw electricity from the main grid. When you share power to the grid, you earn credits. These credits are used to offset your electricity consumption at the time of calculating monthly bills.This sort of system I also helpful in cases where you have many months of very little sunlight.
However, in the case of an off-grid system, you cannot pull any power from the main grid. Hence, you must have a battery. This is where power will be stored during the day and from where the inverter will pull power after sunset. In such cases, a solar inverter battery is non-negotiable.
Select the right sized batteryand inverter that matches your power requirements
The price of a battery increases with its size of capacity. It isn’t always necessary that you buy the most expensive battery. If you buy a battery with a capacity much higher than your needs, the battery will never be fully discharged and you will not be able to make optimal use of the power stored. On the other hand, if you choose a battery with a lower capacity than your needs, your power needs will not be met resulting in frustration.
To calculate your power requirements, add up the power consumed by all the lights, fans and appliances you want to run on the battery. Next, find out the VA rating of your inverter. There are no inverters that function with 100% efficiency – most inverters function with a efficiency of 60-80%. This gives them a power factor of 0.6-0.8. The VA rating of an inverter can be calculated as your power requirement divided by the inverter’s power factor. In most cases, you won’t find an inverter with the exact VA rating as required. Always choose one that has a slightly higher VA rating than your needs. For example, if your calculations result in 780VA, you could choose a 800VA inverter.
Now you need asolar inverter battery that matches your inverter.
Battery capacity is typically measured in terms of Ampere Hours(Ah). Most batteries available in the market range from 100Ah to 180Ah. To calculate the numbers of hours these batteries will provide power, all you need is a simple calculation. Multiple the Ah rating with the battery’s voltage and divide the same by your power requirements. This will give you an approximate idea of how long the battery will take to be fully discharged.
If you know the number of hours you need a backup for, you can multiply this with your power requirements and divide the result by the battery voltage to calculate the ideal Ah requirement. As with the inverter, choose a battery that has a slightly higher Ah rating than your needs.
Choosing the right battery technology
Batteries can be categorized as flat plates and tubular batteries. The former has a slightly lower price point but the latter is technologically ahead. the Tubular battery is called so because of the tube-like structure within the battery that houses the electrolyte. Minimized exposure of the electrolyte ensures that the battery lasts longer, discharges at a slower rate, and charges in less time.
These batteries are safe for homes and can be placed inside your home without ant fear of toxic fumes or leaks. Maintenance is also lower and distil water top-up requirements are fewer.
Do you need branded batteries?
Both branded and locally made, unbranded inverters are available in the market. Unbranded batteries are definitely cheaper but they have a number of downsides. Firstly, there’s no guarantee on the quality of components used. This means that they may not be very reliable ad usually have a shorter lifespan. If you need servicing or repair work, there’s no assurance that the seller will help you out. Similarly, you cannot get reliable aftersales service. On the other hand, branded inverters come with a long warrantee and assured quality These brands have a reputation to live up to and hence will maintain higher quality standards. They also usually offer help with installation and maintenance. When your battery has reached the end of its lifespan, you can usually get good exchange offers on branded batteries. This reduces your outgoing expense while letting you enjoy reliable power.
Always choose a battery from a well-known brand. Just as you compare prices, also compare warranties and after ales service offerings before you make your decision.
With the right-sized solar inverter battery, your solar power system should be capable of meeting all your power needs. You’ll never have to worry about a blackout again. Contrary to popular belief, solar power systems can function throughout the year – unless you live in a place where there are months of very little sunlight. In most places, as long as the panels are positioned correctly, you should be able to meet your electricity needs independently. This reduces your carbon emissions and helps you do your part towards lowering global pollution levels. So, are you ready to switch to solar?