Types of batteries for solar panels
readers will recall that we got excited about a potential plug
and play solar setup
a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, as many of our commenters
suspected, the battery
packs had very
little longevity and have already died.
We still want to start
small with what we can pay for now rather than buying a
full-house-style solar setup on credit. But we also want to make
sure the batteries go the distance this time around, so I've put some
time into researching our choices. Here are the options I've come
- Car batteries are not
recommended. Yes, they are cheap, but car batteries are designed
to discharge a lot of energy at once and then recharge slowly, while a
solar setup needs just the reverse --- a battery that will recharge
quickly and discharge slowly (known as deep cycle). Experts say
you'll get a few months of life out of a car battery hooked up to solar
panels, but that's it.
- RV or marine batteries
are the next cheapest, but still aren't recommended by experts.
They're usually easy to find locally and they do last a bit longer than
car batteries, but probably will die within a year. They also
have a tendency to explode
if not cared for well.
- Golf cart batteries are
considered the minimum acceptable batteries by solar experts.
They are generally 6 volts, so you'll need to buy them in pairs and
wire the batteries together to create a 12 volt system. Golf cart
batteries usually last two to four years when connected to solar
panels, and one site claims that Deka batteries will last 5 to 10 years
and another lists Trojan T-105 batteries with the same cycle life.
- Gel cel or absorbed glass matt
(AGM) batteries make it easier to design your battery box since
they don't need to be refilled and don't vent explosive gases, but they
cost about 30% more than a similar capacity golf cart battery and don't
last any longer.
- Fork lift batteries ---
Only one website mentioned these batteries, but the author glowed over
their life expectancy. Otherwise, they're similar to golf cart
batteries, only much more expensive.
We also have a source
for used bulldozer batteries, but I have a feeling these are going to
be like car batteries, just higher capacity. What do you think?
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I'll go into how many
batteries I think we need in a later post, but I hope to hear from our
experts (Roland, Zimmy, etc.) to critique this stage of my
research. At the moment, I'm leaning toward golf cart
batteries. Which would you choose and why?