Thursday, August 27, 2009

Solar Knowledge: What is a Battery Bank?

Battery BankBattery
AKA: storage battery

Your PV panels will produce electricity whenever the sun shines on them. If your system is off-grid, you’ll need a battery bank—a group of batteries wired together—to store energy so you can have electricity at night or on cloudy days. For off-grid systems, battery banks are typically sized to keep household electricity running for one to three cloudy days. Gridintertied systems also can include battery banks to provide emergency backup power during blackouts—perfect for keeping critical electric loads operating until grid power is restored.

Although similar to ordinary car batteries, the batteries used in solar-electric systems are specialized for the type of charging and discharging they’ll need to endure. Lead-acid batteries are the most common battery used in solar-electric systems. Flooded leadacid batteries are usually the least expensive, but require adding distilled water occasionally to replenish water lost during the normal charging process. Sealed absorbent glass mat (AGM) batteries are maintenance free and designed for grid-tied systems where the batteries are typically kept at a full state of charge. Gel-cell batteries can be a good choice to use in unheated spaces due to their freeze-resistant qualities.

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