As the trend towards utilization of solar energy to illuminate our roads and streets is happening, we tend to understand the system, especially the type of batteries that are required in the system. The solar street lights with battery are economically friendly and cost-effective,
Generally, the battery types to be considered are:
- Deep cycle VRL batteries
- Lead-acid battery and SMF
- A lithium-ion battery or Li-ion
- Lithium-ion battery phosphate or LiFePO4.
Deep Cycle VRL batteries:
These battery types have AGM and GEL technologies, which means there is no need for water and secondly these batteries can be positioned in any way. The batteries are designed in a way that the oxygen generated due to the use of the positive plates while charging can get shifted to the negative plates where it gets turned to water, automatically decreasing the water loss. Though the cost of these VRL batteries is not much it is better to go for quality rather than price. The low-cost battery will be requiring regular replacements and might also have a shorter life.
Lead Acid Battery and SMF
These are popularly used batteries as they cost less, in contrast to the other battery types. But these types of batteries are also not without drawbacks. These require regular maintenance, chances of the explosion, environmental concern as it has lead and it is not easy to handle these battery types in extreme weather conditions. Its life is around 3- 4 years. However, the major disadvantage of using this battery type is that it requires a large-size solar panel for charging and its size is also big so needs large space. A single solar panel needs to produce 12 V of solar energy for the battery to get charged. This means during cloudy days, it is not easy to generate 12 V.
Lithium Battery or Li-ion
Lithium battery or Li-ion is small in size, priced higher, and needs 3.7 V of power for it to get charged. This means that the size of the solar panel is also small, and the battery can also be charged during cloudy days. These batteries need no maintenance and their life is also 5-6 years. Only one disadvantage of the solar-type is that they can get vulnerable to an explosion in extreme weather conditions, and their efficiency can also get reduced.
Lithium-ion phosphate battery
It is compact but its rate is more than Li-ion, but it is technologically advanced than other types of batteries. It needs 3.2 V of power for charging which means the size of the solar panel can be smaller. On cloudy days, the solar panel can produce the same 3.2 V power to charge the battery. These have a life of 9-12 years and require no maintenance, and can face any weather condition.
How these batteries are used?
Though we can use Lead-acid batteries in solar street lights also but these are generally used for lighting homes and emergency lights. Li-ion and Lithium-ion phosphate battery are best used in solar light systems, especially used in All in One lighting systems like Solar Street Light, Solar Garden Light, Solar Flood Lights, etc. People are now using Li-ion and Lithium-ion phosphate battery for street lights.
One of the pertinent things to look for in the battery for the lighting system is its capacity. The capacity of the battery is very pertinent since it is the measurement of the quantum energy that is stored in the battery. In certain geographical conditions which gets lesser sun needs a large battery, while the areas which get good sun rays will require a battery with less capacity.
Besides, you should buy a battery only from a reputable company even though it costs more. Select a company that chooses to have VRLA batteries that concentrate on deep-cycle technology and have a manufacturing history in the same. Besides Lithium batteries are also getting very popular as they are getting cheaper due to the increase in demand for integrating into the solar street lights with battery systems. There are also now many types of Lithium batteries available, with the best one suggested is the LiFePO4 battery. These are lighter in weight and have the best light charge cycles.
So, whichever battery you choose, find its quality, capacity, and price especially all the proper specifications to get the better result of this nature’s gift to us, solar energy.
Summary: Many solar street light systems need batteries to get charged and store electricity power, which are of many different types. This article is a brief explanation of the different types of batteries available and which one would be best for you.