No matter how strong your batteries are, one day they shall need to be replaced. Why you ask? Once you start using the battery it starts to depreciate and over years of depreciation the battery eventually dies.
Depreciation is not the only reason why your batteries may need replacement. In this post, we are going to discuss other various factors that may lead to solar batteries replacement. We will also give you tips to help maintain the effectiveness of the battery. Stick around to learn the dos and don’ts when it comes to solar batteries.
Do solar batteries need to be replaced?
Solar is the cheapest and the cleanest form of energy. After setting up the solar equipment, the solar panel harvests energy from the sun which is then stored in solar batteries. As simple as all these sounds, do you know your battery might become defective and need a replacement?
Every gadget has its expiry date. Others last longer depending on the quality and the maintenance care provided. This applies to solar batteries. Most solar battery manufacturers indicate that their batteries last up to 30 years without the need for a replacement. However, not all batteries get to complete their life span. Here is why.
Most people assume that batteries do not need any care. The opposite is true. If you do not maintain your batteries, they might end up getting damaged.
- Solar batteries require a fluid refill once in a while to prevent the lead oxide plates from drying. Distilled water is the best refill fluid as it does not react with the plates.
- Regular cleaning of the battery and the solar panel is required if you want your battery to last longer. A dirty solar panel will inhibit the charging process of the battery.
It is possible to assume that solar energy can cause battery overcharge. You might even not know that is a dangerous thin When the battery overcharge the plates might burst and or even worse explode.
- To prevent an overcharge, it is better to invest in high-quality maintainers. Maintainers also known as battery tenders automatically shuts off any current from reaching the battery once it is fully charged.
- Check if your solar panel has a hot spot. Hot spots collect most heat from the sun and all the energy is directed to the solar battery which might lead to overcharging.
There is a high possibility that a drained battery will not reach its expiry date. When the battery is completely drained the electrolytes plates dry up and constant draining eventually damages the battery.
- Invest in a solar battery trickle for effective charging even on bad weather.
- A solar battery tender stores some extra charge on the battery if the battery is not in use to prevent the battery from draining.
- Place the solar panel where it is exposed to the sun. During winter .
- Do not buy a solar battery that has been in storage for more than six months. This batteries cannot hold charge for long.
- Ensure you setup the solar lights system correctly. Some setups might be reversing the solar charging process causing a discharge.
- Your solar sensor should be up and running throughout. A solar sensor automatically shuts he solar lights during the day for charging.
Low quality solar batteries
It is no brainer, low quality products cannot serve you for long. A cheap solar battery lack some important features that make your battery last longer.
- Invest in a high quality battery. High-quality batteries can store charge for a long time. Their discharge rate is also low.
- Make sure you read customer reviews before you buy any solar batteries. This way you will know what to expect with the battery you will buy.
Sometimes the battery not reaching its life span is not your fault. You might have bought a battery with defects. If you happen to notice your battery is not storing charge for long, contact the manufactures for replacement. Manufacturers of solar batteries offer 30 years on their items.
Do you have to replace lar batteries?
A faulty battery will not serve you as expected. The lights might be going off during the night since the battery cannot store charge for long. On worst cases the battery might not charging.
To reduce the frustration that come with a battery not working as expected, it is better to have a replacement. So how do you know you need to replace the solar battery?
When Should I Replace My Solar Battery?
There a number of reasons why you should replace your solar batteries. One of the reason is to reduce the frustration of being in the dark. Below are some of the common indicators you should change your battery.
- In case of a pool of liquid pool near the battery which indicates the battery is leaking.
- If the battery cannot light up your residence the whole night. This means the battery is drained.
- When the battery is not charging entirely
- If you notice discoloration near the base of the battery.
- Rechargeable batteries are replaced once in four years.
- When the battery has completed its life span.
- Sometimes you can replace the battery if you are going for more quality batteries.
The above reasons are some of the common indicators your solar batteries need to be replaced. You can check here for some other indicators that your solar battery need a replacement.
How much does it cost to Replace Solar Batteries?
If you bought your battery with your solar lighting equipment it might have been expensive. However, you only need a battery during replacement. Factors like quality, size and brand will determine the amount you spend on your solar battery.
A standard solar battery will cost you around $5000-$8000+. This however does not include the cost of installation.
How long do solar rechargeable batteries last?
Most solar lights companies indicate that their rechargeable batteries can last up to four years without a replacement. You should again read customer reviews to reduce future frustrations. Rechargeable batteries are quite affordable.
You an get a set of ten rechargeable batteries for $200.
Can you Replace Solar Lights Batteries with Regular Batteries?
Solar lights batteries have specifications that are unique. For example most solar batteries use lithium-ion or flooded lead batteries while normal batteries are lead-ion. Normal batteries have thin lead-oxide plates that cannot withstand constant discharge and recharge.
Normal batteries also have very low power holding capacity. For this reasons normal batteries are not ideal for solar lights.
Should I Use High capacity Batteries in My Solar lights?
High capacity batteries require high current to charge. Solar panels to cannot produce the required amount of current to recharge them. Therefore high capacity battery are not ideal for solar lights.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are rechargeable batteries expensive?
Rechargeable batteries are quite affordable. You can get a set of ten batteries for $200. This however depends on the type and the capacity.
What is the life span of solar light batteries?
Most solar light batteries life expectancy is between 5-30 years. Proper maintenance like regular cleaning of the solar panel and the batteries will improve the performance of the battery.
If the battery becomes defective within the first few months of use, you should request a replacement from the manufacturers. Most solar companies offer up to a 12months warranty.
What are the best replacement batteries for my solar lights?
When replacing the batteries it is advisable to use batteries with the same capacity and similar voltage. If your solar lights were using NiMH 1.2V 600mAh As batteries replace them with the same batteries. You can however use batteries with slightly different capacities.
What is the difference between rechargeable batteries and normal batteries in solar lights?
A normal battery comprises multiple cells connected in a series of three parts with an anode and cathode. The cells are contained in a chemical known as the electrolyte.
Rechargeable batteries contain multiple batteries with the same capacity and voltage and are placed inside a battery compartment. Rechargeable batteries reverse chemical reactions by forcing current in the opposite direction.
Proper maintenance of your solar lighting system extends the life expectancy of the batteries. If the battery is charged properly, the chances of getting drained are low. Furthermore, solar light requires a low current to charge and light up the lamps.
Sometimes solar batteries getting faulty might be the manufacturer’s fault. Ensure you check the manufacturing date of the battery. Batteries that have been in storage for more than six months have a high discharge rate.
Ensure you have supportive devices like the solar battery trickle and solar battery maintainer. These devices help improve the performance of the battery while also protecting the battery from variables that might cause permanent damage.
In case your battery is dead, you can have a replacement. Use a battery with the same capacity and voltage. But ensure you have read customer reviews before you buy the battery.
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”.