Batteries are the lifeline of any solar light. If the solar batteries are not working properly, it will directly affect the solar panels and its brightness. Although manufactures consider the battery lifespan as a major factor and design specifically to resist heat and cold cycles to make the solar batteries robust but within a span of time they stop working.
It becomes important as an owner to know about these batteries as it will help them to get prolong service for the price they have paid. Check if the batteries contain Lithium in it as it has a lot of benefits in increasing the battery lifespan. These type of batteries are lighter and they have a higher DoD and longer lifespan when compared to lead acid batteries.
Now let’s see what makes some solar batteries last longer even after having the same source of power. There are 3 factors generally which affects the lifespan of a solar battery. These are :
- Cycle life: Cycle life decides the life span of a solar battery. Like a gel battery can last for 500-5000 cycles, a flooded battery can last for 300-700 cycles whereas a lithium battery can reach up to 2000 cycles.
- Temperature: Solar batteries are impacted by its temperature. When we store a solar battery in a room with low temperature it tends to decrease the capacity of the battery. But when we store it in a high temperature room it will increase its capacity however, the battery’s life cycle will decrease gradually since chemical reactions are found to be higher in a battery when stored in high temperatures.
- Depth of Discharge: The depth of discharge (DoD) of a battery refers to the amount of a battery’s capacity that has been used. A higher DoD means we will be able to utilize more of our battery’s capacity. When we charge a battery everyday it starts degrading and slowly it loses the capacity to store energy. For example, a battery with a nominal capacity of 100 kWh at 60% DoD will have 40 kWh of charge remaining.
How to extend the lifespan of a solar battery?
Just like any other equipment, however good the quality is, one day it is tend to lose the capacity if you do not maintain it properly. Below given are some points on how to maintain your solar batteries to give it an extended life;
- Minimize the number of batteries: Using more batteries will increase the connection and resistance which may lead to uneven charging. So try to control the number of batteries in the bank or limit it for up to 4 or less.
- Charge the batteries at certain intervals: If we leave solar batteries uncharged for a long time it will get damaged hence, it is always better to keep the charging source turn on so that the batteries charge continuously.
- Battery equalization: Uneven charging of batteries can cause sulphation on the plates and overcharging it can remove it through gassing. Battery equalization is the method of overcharging the solar batteries in a controlled manner. Modern solar batteries already have this controller to avoid overcharging so this operation.
Use the right battery- Lithium batteries are the ones always recommended for a solar light. These batteries can last upto 8 years and they can even be replaced easily due to the waterproof plug and connectors. Make sure that the battery used has a rated voltage of 12.8V or 25.6 V so that it lasts longer and they are much cleaner and eco-friendly in nature.