Inverter batteries are vital to the performance of an inverter power system. An inverter must run on more than 1 battery because the power used by the inverter to provide power needs, is drawn from a set of batteries. As the main job of an inverter, is to convert DC stored in the inverter battery to AC used to power electrical appliances.
Battery Bank: It is important to note that the battery bank an inverter requires depends on the capacity of the inverter; this is also related to the load capacity intended for the inverter, including the expected backup duration to carry that load.
Batteries have to meet the demands of unsteady grid power, heavy cycling (charging and discharging) and irregular full recharging. There’s a range of battery types fitted for these sole requirements
Lead- Acid batteries
- Flooded lead acid batteries (Wet Cell Batteries) have detachable vents that must be removed to check precise gravity of acid with a hydrometer and add distilled water on a regular schedule. As it is not sealed, it is designed to output the hydrogen and oxygen gas that is formed during its charging process.
- Sealed lead acid batteries are usually available as either Advanced Glass Matt or Gel. An AGM battery has the electrolyte in a spongy mat while the Gel battery has a thicker gel that keeps itself distributed within the battery. Sealed lead acid battery is an excellent choice for battery backup systems. Sealed lead acid battery is a safer option than flooded battery as it is sealed and won’t spill; it requires no monthly maintenance, just occasional inspection to ensure it is in good shape. Deep cycle, lead-acid batteries have been widely used for renewable energy and constantly used in off-grid applications globally for decades.
Lithium-ion batteries are the most familiar storage technology, regardless of the application. There are 3 types of lithium batteries; pouches used for smartphones and tablets, cylindrical used for power tools and prismatic (comes in different shapes) – LFP (lithium iron phosphate used for solar energy storage application.
Flow batteries are rechargeable batteries where rechargeability is supplied by two chemical components dissolved in liquids contained within the system and are generally separated by a membrane. One of the key benefits of flow batteries is that they can be charged almost instantly by replacing the electrolyte liquid while improving the spent materials for re-energization.Various classes of flow batteries have been developed, including redox and hybrid. The basic difference between conventional batteries and flow batteries is that energy is stored as the electrode material in conventional batteries but as electrolyte in flow batteries.
Before choosing a battery, you should consider
- Lead-Acid; Cost about half as much as a lithium-ion
- Lithium-ion; are more expensive; part of this cost comes from needing a battery management system to monitor the voltage and temperature of each cell to prevent excessive charging and discharging
- Flow; Cheaper but the complexity of flow battery chemistry often requires ancillary equipment such as pumps, sensors, control units and secondary containment vessels. This infrastructure takes up appreciable installation space.
- Lead-Acid; AGM batteries are primarily built for dual-purpose or standby applications like emergency backup. The new deep-cycle AGM designs have increased performance and total energy output making them a good choice for renewable energy applications at a lower price point than gel batteries.
- Lithium-ion; Delivers more cycles in their lifetime than lead-acid. Provides for solar application high charge and discharge efficiencies, which help harvest, more energy. Loses less capacity when idle, which is useful in solar installations where energy is only used occasionally
- Flow; has no cycling limitations. Batteries can be charged and discharged completely without impact on their lifespan.
Replacement and Maintenance
- Lead-acid; flooded (wet) lead-acid batteries have to be refilled regularly because the electrolyte that fully submerges the battery plates evaporates during charging. The battery enclosure needs ventilation to keep hydrogen gas from accumulating to dangerous levels.
- AGM and gel technologies are recombinant, meaning they internally convert hydrogen and oxygen into water and do not require maintenance and can operate over long periods without maintenance
- Lithium-ion; Can be lighter and more self contained than lead-acid batteries; easier to install and change out. Can be wall-mounted and located indoors or outdoors; they are solid, so don’t require refills or maintenance.
- Flow; Electrolyte doesn’t degrade over time, so they can last much longer than other technologies. You can increase battery size by simply adding more electrolytes.
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