ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Look Into Renewable Energy Batteries

Updated on September 20, 2014

Renewable Energy House Batteries

ne of the most crucial components of any home that utilizes renewable energy is the house battery bank. You could have 1,000 top of the line solar panels on your roof with a state of the art tracking system but without the battery bank, you'll find yourself sitting in the dark during the night.

Renewable energy house batteries are one of the least understood components of a renewable energy powered home. They are also the most neglected. It doesn't make sense to not be educated when it comes to your battery bank. It makes even less sense to be lazy and neglect them. Quality house batteries are very expensive.

When people think about batteries for solar homes many people have an image of several car batteries wired together. This is a huge misconception. Automotive batteries are designed for very short bursts of energy to start your vehicle. If they are deeply discharged for more than just a few times, they will be permanently damaged and become virtually useless.

When we are talking about house batteries, we are referring to deep cycle batteries. These batteries are much more robust than automotive batteries. They are also specially constructed to withstand many deep discharge and recharge cycles without being damaged.

Most renewable energy applications utilize very large 6 volt flooded lead acid batteries wired together to make up the necessary voltage for a particular type of system. When you wire several batteries together they are referred to as a "bank of batteries".

If the home is a 48 volt system, the 6 volt batteries are wired in pairs of two to make up several 12 volt batteries. These, two battery 12 volt units are then wired to each other until they make up one 48 volt battery. This is usually repeated several times until you have several 48 volt battery banks wired together to increase the banks reserve capacity.

The type of 6 volt batteries are generally used are classified as L16-HC. These batteries generally will store about 400 amp hours of electricity.

Some smaller applications commonly wire several 6 volt 200 amp golf cart batteries together.

If your renewable energy system consists of 20 batteries, think of it as one large battery. Should you neglect them and only one or two were to go bad, you will need to replace the entire bank. This would be very costly and it's really not necessary if you simply perform some basic preventative maintenance.

These deep cycle house batteries are by no means cheap. You can count on paying between $300 and $400 for each battery. Although the initial cost is high, if they are properly maintained, they will outlast smaller, less expensive batteries and will ultimately cost you less in the long run.


Photo Courtesy of www.freeimages.com
Photo Courtesy of www.freeimages.com

Caring For Your Renewable Energy Batteries

ome basic things to remember when caring for a house battery bank are:

  1. Keep them full of electrolyte. The batteries have removable caps covering each battery cell, you simply remove the cap and replenish the evaporated electrolyte with distilled water. It is of the utmost importance that you use nothing but distilled water. Any other type of water will cause mineral deposits to accumulate on the lead plates in the battery. This will quickly ruin your expensive batteries. Distilled water is readily available in one gallon containers at any grocery store.
  2. Keep the batteries clean. It's best to treat the battery terminals with a special spray on anti-corrosive coating. If you don't do this, corrosion will build up on on every connector. This corrosion will damage the batteries and compromise the ability of the wires to conduct electricity. Eventually the battery cells will fail which will require you to purchase a new bank.
  3. Keep the batteries at the proper temperature. Extreme cold and heat will damage batteries. Unless you're using the batteries in the Arctic, they are unlikely to get so cold that they will freeze. None the less, it's important to keep the batteries in an insulated enclosure. Cold batteries cannot store as much electricity as warm batteries. Deep cycle batteries don't like to get hot. Heat will permanently damage them. Keep them in an insulated room or box and out of the sunlight.
  4. Keep all metal objects out of the battery enclosure. Should you drop a shovel or wrench on the batteries and the metal were to touch both the positive and negative terminals, the battery will short out, causing sparks, a possible explosion, and permanent damage to the batteries.
  5. Never let the battery bank stay discharged very long. As soon as the bank is depleted, it's important to fully recharge them. If your array of solar panels is not keeping the batteries fully charged each day, it's time to add more panels to the array or decrease the battery bank size. If the bank is only charged to a certain level during each charge cycle, the bank will develop a memory and lose its full storage capacity

That's it, size your renewable energy battery bank accordingly, properly maintain it and you'll enjoy many years of trouble free energy storage.



Pulsing Desulfators

There are devices that you can buy that claim to repair batteries that are badly sulfated.  According the the manufacturers of the devices, you simply attach them to the battery and leave them plugged in for several days.

It's best to make sure that the battery has a full charge before attaching the device to the battery.

Supposedly they work by sending constant pulses of electricity into the battery to break the deposits up that have accumulated on the lead plates inside the battery and dissolve it back into the battery acid.

I don't know if they work but if you have some sick batteries, it might be worth a try.  There are also chemical battery treatments that you can buy that are supposes to reverse any damage that the battery has received due to improper care.  I'm not sure the chemical battery treatments work either but again, it might be worth trying if there's even a slim chance of saving your expensive batteries.

Photo Courtesy of www.freeimages.com
Photo Courtesy of www.freeimages.com

The Best Medicine Is Preventative Maintenance

The best thing that you can go for your batteries is to take care of them in the first place.  Renewable energy battery banks are expensive and all too often this component of a renewable energy system is neglected.

You should be diligent about monitoring the water level in your batteries.  Letting the water level get too low is the leading killer of renewable energy battery banks.  You should also monitor the battery charge state.  If your solar panels aren't getting the batteries fully charged each day, you should either add more solar panels or reduce the battery bank size.  Not fully charging the batteries frequently, can cause irreversible damage to them.

Excessive heat or cold can be very damaging to your batteries.  You should have your battery bank in an insulated room to prevent freezing and in the summer when it's hot, you should probably run a cooling fan in the battery room to keep temperatures for spiking and causing damage to your batteries.

Renewable Energy Poll

Did you know about proper battery maintenance before reading this?

See results

Alternative Energy Video

Here's an interesting video from National Geographic on alternative energy.

Renewable Energy Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      helene.bliss 7 years ago

      Great hub. I really like reading it and it has lost of information that would really make people have interest in it.

    • profile image

      quiethorse 9 years ago

      Solar panels are too expensive.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      We do not have solar panels, alas!, but this is very interesting information.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)