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If you are planning to install solar energy systems on your residential or commercial buildings, then it is imperative to know about solar batteries and their cycle life. Solar batteries are installed to store extra energy and use it as a backup at night. But the important question is, “How long do solar batteries last?”
You don’t want to install batteries whose storage capacity starts diminishing before it gives your full return on investment. Hence, knowing about solar batteries and their cycle life is the linchpin that can make or break your solar energy storage system.
In this article, we’ll explore the concept of cycle life, what factors affect it, the types of solar batteries available, and how to maximize the longevity of your batteries.
In the context of solar batteries, the cycle life of batteries refers to the number of times the battery undergoes charging and discharging before it starts degrading in its capacity and overall performance. A solid understanding of the battery’s cycle life is imperative as it directly affects the performance and longevity of the battery. Hence, always ask about the cycle life from the batteries supplier before purchasing.
Before going to the solar batteries supplier, you should know about the factors that affect the cycle life. Numerous factors affect the cycle life of batteries over time. Usually, batteries supplier knows about it and informs their customers; however, it is essential that you should have some prior knowledge about it.
Following are some key factors.
1. Battery Chemistry
Usually, batteries suppliers have batteries with various battery chemistries. It simply refers to the chemical components and materials used in the construction of the battery that are involved in energy storage. The type of battery chemistry greatly affects the cycle life. Some common battery chemistries are lithium-ion, lead acid, nickel-cadmium, and sodium-ion. So, before making a purchase, know about battery chemistry from the batteries supplier.
2. Depth of Discharge (DoD)
It simply refers to the percentage of the battery’s stored energy used before it needs recharge. It is a critical factor in the longevity and performance of batteries particularly used in solar energy systems. Batteries with shallow DoD are better than those with deeper DoD because a higher percentage of a battery’s capacity (i.e., deeper discharges) during each cycle can lead to more rapid wear and a shorter overall lifespan.
3. Operating Temperature
Solar batteries operate with the highest efficiency in a certain temperature range. Too hot or too cold a temperature can affect its performance and cycle life. For example, the operating range of nickel-cadmium batteries is -40 to 60°C while it is 0 to 65°C Reusable Alkaline batteries. Your battery supplier will tell you the best operating temperature for each battery type.
4. Maintenance and Care
Proper maintenance and care can also potentially increase battery cycle life.
As of now, you are totally aware of what is the cycle life of batteries and the factors that affect it. Now, it is the time to understand what is the cycle life of your batteries. Following are some types of batteries and their respective average cycle life.
1. Lead-acid batteries.
They are the oldest technology and are the most cost-effective. Their average cycle life is around 300-700. So, if your batteries suppliers have given you led-acid batteries, you need to replace them after around 700 charge-discharge cycles.
2. Lithium-ion batteries.
These batteries are known for their high energy density and longer cycle life. This is an ideal battery for solar energy systems. These batteries have a life cycle of around 1000-5000 or even more.
3. Flow batteries.
They are a relatively new technology. These batteries have extended cycle life due to their specific design of energy storage from power output, which increases cycle life. They have approximately 15,000 – 20,000 charge/discharge cycles.
4. Sodium-ion batteries
Sodium-ion batteries is the latest technology, and they are expected to have a very good cycle life; however, they are not as widely available as lithium-ion batteries with batteries suppliers. These batteries can reach up to 10,000 cycles before degrading.
Although various factors control battery cycle life; however, you can take the following steps to extend its cycle life.
1. Regularly inspect and maintain your solar battery system.
2. Try to avoid deep discharges
3. Install your batteries in a temperature-controlled environment and maintain optimal temperature
4. Using battery management systems that monitor and manage the health of your batteries.
Understanding battery cycle life is imperative to increase the longevity and performance of the storage system of your solar energy systems. Multiple factors impact battery cycle life, and each battery type has its own cycle life. Lithium-ion batteries have ideal cycle life and cost-effectiveness for commercial and residential usage. AllTop Electronics offers a wide range of lithium-ion batteries in various sizes and shapes, making them the most credible choice for your energy storage needs.
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