Most solar power installations or backup power units tend to use lead-acid batteries, and while these are an extremely hardy and reliable way to store power, there are certainly ways in which you can make them last longer.
One important thing to remember is that these batteries are extremely susceptible to temperature
If temperatures rise very high, the level of liquid inside a lead-acid battery can go down, and this not only directly affects battery performance, but it can also directly damage your battery. There are lead plates inside the battery, and the electrolyte, that is to say, the liquid in the battery (which is sulfuric acid) is supposed to cover those lead plates, both during charging and discharge of the battery.
If temperatures are abnormally high, and the level of the liquid falls drastically, the resulting exposure of the lead plates during the charging and discharge process can cause permanent damage to the battery.
Similarly, extremely low temperatures can affect battery performance adversely and can cause lots of issues with how well the battery works.
The easiest way to deal with these problems is to add a lot of insulation to the battery.
If your solar power installation is in an exposed area, extremes of temperature could adversely affect your batteries.
Adding insulation to the batteries of your solar power installation or backup power unit can vastly improve the performance of your batteries.
If push comes to shove, you can always place your battery setup underground. The ground offers perhaps the best insulation, and if the batteries are in a pit or basement, and also covered with insulation, you will find their performance vastly improved. They will also last a good deal longer.
We spoke about falling levels of electrolyte, that is to say, of the liquid inside the battery.
One excellent maintenance procedure is to check your battery every week or every fifteen days or so, and top up this liquid with distilled water. You need to make sure that you only use distilled water and not acid, or even normal tap water. Doing this can extend the life of your battery far more than you could imagine.
Another point to remember is that you should ensure that your solar power unit does not overcharge the batteries, and similarly, that your backup batteries do not overcharge under the same circumstances.
This is not as much of a problem these days as it used to be as there's usually a cut-off circuit that will prevent the batteries from overcharging in most modern units. But you need to check with your manufacturer that there is indeed such a cut-off circuit - and if there isn't you need to manually prevent the batteries from overcharging.
Not only does overcharging damage the batteries, but there is also a release of hydrogen gas, which creates explosive mixtures with air, and is a positive danger to your house and to any equipment you have in the vicinity. So, prevent overcharging and stay safe.
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