You might wonder how a solar system would provide you with enough electricity on rainy days and during the winter when the nights are very long. Batteries are the answer.
Batteries enable solar systems to store extra electricity produced on sunny days so that you can have plenty on tap during cloudy days. The same goes for the nighttime.
After the sun has set, you need either batteries or electricity provided by your local utility company. A good battery backup system can ensure your home or place of business has the power you need when you need it.
There are different types of batteries used for solar and or backup systems. Many use one of two types of lead-acid batteries.
Flooded Lead-Acid Battery
The flooded lead-acid battery has been around for well over a century and continues to work well as a power storage device. It is a proven and still-useful technology that can store a lot of energy but does not hold it for as long as other types of batteries.
Flooded lead-acid batteries are the most affordable batteries but require more maintenance. The batteries must have the acid levels monitored and topped off to continue holding a full charge.
Sealed Lead-Acid Battery
A sealed lead-acid battery reduces maintenance and increases safety compared to flooded lead-acid batteries. The battery uses an absorbent glass mat or gel substance to help store the electrical charge.
The sealed lead-acid batteries cannot spill their contents and do not require maintenance of acid levels. They are good for vacation homes and second properties that are not occupied all the time.
Lithium batteries also are very good at storing electricity generated by solar panels on sunny days. Lithium batteries are self-contained and simple to use. There is no potentially harmful acid that requires monitoring or any danger of spilling, nor is there any gas that might escape and affect the stored charge.
Lithium is rare and highly in demand for electric vehicles and just about any other item that uses a battery. Lithium batteries are much costlier than the lead-acid options but worth the investment for commercial enterprises.
Which battery is best for solar systems?
Your situation likely will dictate which battery is best for solar systems that you use. The lithium battery is the best battery of the bunch and works well for commercial applications. It might not be ideal for you, though.
One of the lead-acid varieties would be great for your home or small business. The sealed lead-acid is the best of those two options and the most user-friendly. That would be our suggestion for your home, cabin, or small business.
Why is solar a good backup solution?
Solar electricity is as close to free energy as you can get. You need to invest in solar panels and batteries and connect them to your electrical system. You also need to maintain and sometimes repair parts of the system, but the benefits outweigh the nominal costs.