Choosing the Right Battery for Your Solar-Power System

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John Ruiz

 

Integrating solar power into your household doesn’t have a huge laundry list of requirements. In fact, you can purchase an entire package usually consisting of a solar panel, voltage regulator, inverter, and battery. Installation isn’t all that complicated and in the end, you have a free and fairly sustainable energy source. However, this type of basic setup has limitations that you’ll quickly come to realize during unpleasant scenarios such as rainy or cloudy days.

The idea is to harness as much power as you can from the sun so you have extra energy for those cloudier days when the solar panel loses its effectiveness. I recommend you invest in a good battery to really maximize your solar-powered setup. We love BLUETTI, and we’d like to thank the company for being an ongoing sponsor of the blog, which helps us keep the lights on.

Bluetti, portable power, ac180

Bluetti AC180.

Why You Need a Battery for Your Solar Setup

Imagine a solar-powered arrangement where you don’t have a battery in the equation. The solar panel collects energy from the sun and the system converts it to usable electricity which then powers the connected device or devices. Not having a battery means the devices constantly use power as it is collected with no means of storing the energy for future use. You don’t need solar panels to turn on light bulbs during the day so, of course, you want to store the solar energy for nighttime use when the solar panels can no longer function. Think of batteries as your mini power stations when both the sun and the grid aren’t available.

Common Types of Batteries for Solar-Powered Systems

Not all batteries are created equal. Various types of batteries exist each with their pros and cons and it’s important to know them so you can weigh these characteristics and figure out which battery type is ultimately best for your household and budget.

Lead-Acid Batteries

Lead-acid batteries have been around for a long while and for good reason too. They offer high surge currents and possess large energy storage capacities while not costing very much. The main downside of lead-acid battery is the maintenance required to keep the battery in good working condition. You must remember to fully discharge and recharge the battery every few months or else the battery will suffer from significant reductions to the overall battery capacity. Practicing good maintenance habits will help make lead-acid batteries a decent bang-for-buck investment but for the long-term, superior options exist.

Nickel-Cadmium Batteries

Nickel-Cadmium Batteries have also been around for decades and car manufacturers would rely on them for powering the older electric vehicles because they boast long lifespan, are highly durable, and can withstand extreme temperatures. However, cadmium is extremely toxic and requires special procedures for disposing and recycling. These types of batteries are also more expensive.

Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lithium-Ion batteries are the types of batteries that modern laptops, phones, tablets, electric vehicles and virtually all modern rechargeable gadgets rely on. These batteries can store a lot of energy in a small surface area and doesn’t require much maintenance. Lithium-Ion batteries for solar-powered setups can fall under one of two common categories – lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) and lithium iron phosphate (LFP or LiFePO4). LFP batteries offer five times as many charge cycles as NMC batteries and are less prone to catching on fire.

Bluetti AC200P.

Why LiFePO4 Batteries are Best for Solar-powered Systems

Whether your household has light or demanding solar energy needs, having a battery with a longer lifespan will always be a net positive. LiFePO4 batteries can maintain near maximum capacities for long periods of time even if you don’t use them regularly which means you save more in the long run simply because you don’t have to replace them often. Generally, you can expect LiFePO4 batteries to last up to 3,500 cycles before they become less effective. Think about how many times you need to charge the battery with the sun say each week and do the math!

Why BLUETTI Is a Leading Brand for LiFePO4 Battery

A LiFePO4 battery array is just a single component of the solar battery system itself. So don’t go out to buy the first solar battery you see that uses a LiFePO4 battery because battery manufacturers may compromise on other components just to cut costs. It is vital to go with a reputable battery manufacturer like BLUETTI because the company has years of experience in developing high-quality components from the power systems to the battery housings themselves. Here’s some of the features you can expect from a BLUETTI battery.

Self-Heating Function

Some BLUETTI products like the B300S expansion battery for the AC500 come with temperature sensors that enable self-heating whenever the battery is exposed to extremely cold temperatures as low as -20° C (-4° F). With the self-heating function active, the battery can perform as advertised without compromises under these harsh conditions.

Integrated Power System

BLUETTI products have durable housings that contain all the vital components needed to not only function as a solar battery but also a fully featured power generator complete with integrated MPPT controllers, efficient sine wave inverters, multiple power outlets, UPS functionality, and peak load shifting.

Wide Compatibility

Using an inferior battery in your solar-powered arrangement? A BLUETTI battery can fit right in as the company offers various models to choose from across different sizes and capacities.

Bluetti AC500.

How to Choose the Right Battery Product?

For Residential Solar Systems

If you have a large solar panel array on your rooftop and expect it to collect enough energy to power large appliances like refrigerators and washing machines, consider getting the BLUETTI AC500 as it has a 5,000W power output with a 10,000W surge. This battery also has a modular design which means you can expand its capacity by adding up to six BLUETTI B300S expansion batteries. Considering each B300S adds 3,072Wh capacity to the main unit, you can expect the entire battery system to power your home for at least a week. Finally, the battery boasts a 3,000W solar input so you can harness more from the sun and further increase your energy savings. Because of its compact design, the AC500 is also easier to set up or relocate.

For Balcony/RV Solar Systems

Balconies and RVs generally have smaller solar arrays which means that you can opt for a lighter and less expensive battery like the BLUETTI AC200P or AC300. The AC300 is best if you like the modular features the AC500 possesses but want a smaller package. This means you can still expand the total capacity to 12,288Wh using the B300 expansion battery. But if you are okay with just 2,000 watts, you may opt for the BLUETTI AC200P (learn more on our blog) and its 2,000Wh capacity. No matter which option you pick, you still get a decent variety of power outputs.

BLuetti AC300.

All BLUETTI products use LiFePO4 batteries which means that you’ll get all the crucial safety and stability features while maximizing savings since they should hold up well in the long term. Just pick the proper size relative to your solar panel arrangement and you are gold!

 

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