Solar batteries can be installed or stored inside if they are low maintenance. Most solar batteries are flooded with chemicals. They can emit hydrogen gas. Therefore, it should be stored in a well-ventilated place. It is advisable not to put the batteries in the living area.
Can solar batteries be stored outside?
The area with the protected shed where no direct sunlight hit the surface would be the ideal place to store solar batteries. Solar-powered batteries are designed to sustain high temperature. The batteries would have the capacity to deal with the temperature between 15°F to 20°F below 80°F.
When the battery is heated over the average temperature, the internal chemistries in the battery slowdowns, the resistance increases, and the batteries’ capacity goes down.
Also, it directly impacts the charge of the batteries, which slowly drops. The reduced capacity would last until the battery reaches the average temperature.
The reduced capacity of the solar batteries would cause a problem in the winter when there is less sunlight during the day.
The battery would not receive sufficient charge to sustain the whole night. As a result, you will not be able to use solar batteries at the optimum capacity.
The batteries should be stored in a well-insulated and good ventilation place where air can flow naturally. The heated air should be moved out before it becomes lethal for the batteries.
The well-insulated space could protect the batteries from excess heat. Also, the thermal mass covering the battery would protect the batteries from direct sunlight.
Low maintenance batteries can be stored safely in the home. However, it should be kept away from the regular places where people move around.
The flooded batteries must be stored in the locked and well-vented room. If it is in the garages or shed, ensure that it is protected from direct sunlight and heat.
What are the solar battery installation regulations?
As per the new standards of AS 5139 application to the installation of the solar batteries in the fixed location, the voltage of the batteries must be above 12 volts. And the energy storage capacity should be a minimum of 1 Kilowatt-hour (kWh).
The standard is applied to the homes, garages, sheds and commercial properties. It not designed for caravans, tiny houses and electric vehicles.
The standard groups of batteries are divided into different categories. The first two categories are set for the lithium batteries that meet the clean energy council standard.
There is a list of approved batteries and manufacturing procedure that every battery manufacturer should follow.
They are designed as per the electrical safety requirements in the best practice guide. Lead-acid batteries are kept in the third category along with lithium batteries.
Where should you store solar batteries?
Any type of battery is sensitive to heat. It should be stored in a well-ventilated place in a shed. Ensure that the space is well insulated and it has adequate thermal mass.
The shed will protect the batteries from direct sunlight, which may cause the battery to heat quickly. You can store the low maintenance batteries in the house.
Flooded batteries must be kept in a locked box. A well-vented box, a garage or a shed is needed to prevent batteries from damaging internally.
Why you need a protected place for the solar batteries?
The batteries are filled with chemicals that react with the metal. The battery becomes inefficient when the chemical is heated to a certain degree.
Then, the power consumption rate slows down. If you keep the batteries in a heated area, the solar energy generated from the solar panel would not be stored at the average speed in the batteries.
The battery would have difficulty storing the energy generated from the solar panel. As a consequence, the battery will have less amount of stored energy for the night.
There are possibilities that the batteries will not sustain for a longer duration while using them at night.
Also, the safety features state that the battery should be kept in a well-shaded place. Sometimes the direct sunlight may start reacting with the chemicals and metal in the battery.
It may cause the battery to fire, and eventually, it will spread to nearby places. So it would help if you had a maintenance plan for your batteries. Else the unexpected event could have a lethal impact on the surrounding.
What are the general care and maintenance guides for solar batteries?
The idea behind regular maintenance is to improve the efficiency of the battery performance. As the battery becomes older, its efficiency would go down.
Various factors affect the battery life, such as temperature, use, and depth of discharge.
In most cases, the failures in batteries occur due to Sulfating. It is a chemical reaction between the liquid and metal used in the batteries.
Sulfating or sulfation is the formation of sulfur crystals on a battery’s lead plates. It prevents the chemical from reacting with the metal and producing the required charge.
Generally, sulfating occurs during the battery is running on a low charge. The sulfation is dangerous for the battery, so you should have proper monitoring and maintenance to keep the battery in good shape.
When you conduct the maintenance, use the distilled water, digital voltmeter and temperature compensating hydrometer with the proper safety gear.
The batteries need a well-protected place to keep them in good shape. If you are not sure how to maintain the batteries, then take advice from the experts. The batteries are filled with a lethal chemical that is dangerous to life.
Environmental damage could cause the chemical to react with the metal. It may cause damage to the outer layer of the batteries that prevent the liquid from flowing outside. The batteries should be kept in a well-maintained environment.
Also, perform regular testing of the batteries. If you are not using the batteries, keep them charging to avoid the metal to develop sulfur on it.
The sulfating stops the batteries from reacting to the chemical, and you will no longer have the electric charge—the only solution to this problem to replace the metal and the chemical with the new resource.
Eng. Matthew Joseph Nandirio is the Founder of walkingsolar.
After graduating from the University of Houston in 2002, matt started working as a Solar Electrical Engineer for several multi-national solar energy companies.
He has a wide range of experiences including solar system requirement analysis, planning, maintaining, debugging and even solar device development through research.
He now shares his 20 years of expertise through his articles on the walkingsolar website.
Further, he is also the author of two books on Solar Technology, “Solar Power for Villages” and “DIY Solar System for Dummies”.