Difference Between Solar Batteries and Normal Batteries
All batteries have a chemical reaction that results in an electric current that is then used to power things. How the electrical current is formed and stored makes a difference in the amount of electricity the battery can produce.
Unlike regular batteries, rechargeable batteries can recharge by reversing the chemical process. By applying electricity to the battery, the chemical reaction reverses and the battery can power something again.
While the concept of charging and discharging a battery isn’t new, the application of it in other products, such as cars, is different than solar.
How Car Batteries Work
Cars use lead-acid batteries most of the time. These batteries are also known as SLI batteries because their function is to start light and ignite. An SLI battery provides short bursts of electricity to start the engine so the alternator can power the vehicle.
SLI lead-acid batteries have two lead-dioxide plates submerged in sulphuric acid. Together these components create a chemical reaction that produces electrons, which move around the plates and generate electricity.
While SLI is the most popular car battery, there are four battery types that some cars can use. These four batteries group into two categories, known as wet cell and VRLA.
Wet Cell Car Batteries
There are two wet cell batteries on the market. The first is the SLI battery mentioned above.
The second is deep cell batteries. Deep cell batteries, also known as marine batteries, provide long-electric discharges instead of short bursts.
VRLA Car Batteries
VRLA batteries come sealed, so gasses from the chemical reaction can’t escape. The two VRLA car battery types include the gel cell battery and the absorbed glass mat battery (AGM battery). Gel cell batteries use a gell as the electrolyte, while AGM batteries use thin fibers of electrolyte glass to form mats next to the lead dioxide plates.
What Sets Solar Batteries Apart
Solar batteries are deep cycle batteries. Three types of deep cycle batteries get used the most for solar. These include lithium-ion, lead-acid, and saltwater batteries.
Currently, lithium-ion solar batteries are taking the lead in solar and home battery use. They are lighter, have better depth of discharge, round-trip efficiency and lifespan.
Lithium-ion batteries use lithium as the electrolyte that creates a chemical reaction and generates electricity. Lithium is a lightweight metal and an electric current can easily pass through it, which makes it an ideal option for home batteries.
Solar Batteries on the Market
There are several lithium-ion batteries on the market. Taking a look at the home battery specs helps customers determine which one to choose.
Why a Solar Battery is Preferred
While DIY projects are great, using a regular car battery to power a home wouldn’t work out very well. First off, these batteries aren’t large enough to power a house. Secondly, SLI batteries, the most common car battery, give short bursts of electricity instead of long battery-discharges.
A battery tested for residential solar is more likely to meet the energy needs of a solar home. The engineers that designed these batteries have already worked out the possible kinks that come with using a battery to power a home.
Another reason to get a solar battery is that it easily integrates into the home and solar panels. Other rechargeable batteries, such as car batteries, haven’t been engineered to meet these needs.