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Grid Tie and Battery Back-up

30  May  2014

Batteries for Your Alternative Power Needs

The big questions that everyone seems to ask about living on or off grid or setting up any alternative energy systems always seem to be about power sources. Do you go with solar panels or are wind turbines a better choice or both. True, these are major questions but just as if not more important to your renewable energy efforts are your choice of solar battery backup.

Batteries are the fuel tank of your alternative energy system. Without them you would only be able to have power when everything in your system is producing in excess of your power demands. When the sun went down and the winds became calm you would be in the dark with no energy at all.

Marine Battery Mistake

Many people in an attempt to save money or purely on poor advice try to use RV or Deep Cycle Marine Batteries for their alternative energy systems. These will work for very small systems (one or two small solar panels) that will not experience a great deal of cycling (charging and discharging) but will not last long on a renewable energy system of any real size.

Go Industrial Size

For a true home size alternative energy you need Solar Battery Backup Batteries that meet industrial use standards. There are three basic types that fill this bill they are Flooded Cell, Sealed Gel Cell and AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) sealed batteries. All three of these battery types are designed for deep draw down cycles without experiencing internal damage that would kill regular recreational or automotive type batteries.

Flooded Cell- Flooded Cell Batteries are the classic Lead Acid Batteries that most people are familiar with. They are very economical, rugged and available from quite a number of sources. However they do have a couple of cautionary draw backs. They do require that their water levels be checked and topped off regularly with distilled water and they do give off gases that are both toxic and highly explosive. If you use this type of battery for your renewable energy system be sure they are not adjacent to living areas and are well ventilated.

Gel Cell- Gel batteries should not be confused with the Maintenance Free Batteries that are so common in cars today. They area a sealed cell type battery that does not give off any gasses or fumes when charging like the Flooded Cell batteries discussed above. They can safely be used indoors and are more reasonably priced than AGM batteries if you are on a tight budget.

AGM Sealed Batteries- These are the gold standard of batteries for alternative battery backup energy systems. They are constructed with electrolyte holding glass fibbre mats between the plates preventing cell shorts even under the highest energy drains. They do cost a little more but they are completely spill, leak and vapour proof. They hold voltage better, self discharge slower and generally out perform other batteries in every way. That is why you will find them used in such places as hospital and cell tower backup systems.

When you decide to take the plunge into renewable energy sources there are a lot of different factors that you need to consider beyond simple how many solar panels you are going to need. A properly sized battery system is next of the most important you can consider.

For more on this subject and the best in alternative and renewable energy products visit us at http://www.freealternativerenewableenergy.com.

About Author: I am an electrician / computer enthusiast of some 35 years and a keen avid renewable and alternative energy enthusiast who has been playing around with alternative ideas and better ways to save money especially now as the price of power is getting way out of hand.

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