mobile | classic
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology Magazine

Follow us on:
Follow us on Facebook Share via Twitter Share via LinkedIn


Electronics Buyers' Guide

Electronics Manufacturing & Production Handbook 2019


Durability, dependability and other factors make for an ideal solar battery solution
21 February 2018, Power Electronics / Power Management

Once the sun goes down or it gets cloudy, a solar system is only as good as the method used to store the harvested solar energy. Batteries are normally used as a power bank to provide the necessary storage to ensure the continuity of power supply by storing the surplus energy during the day. Battery capacity, power consumption, depth of discharge and round-trip efficiency need to be considered when choosing a battery for a solar power application.

Capacity is the total amount of electricity the battery can store. The power consumption and the depth of discharge (DOD) will affect the power storage plan and battery service life. The round-trip efficiency or energy conversion efficiency represents the ratio of energy put in versus the energy retrieved from storage. The energy plan should match the supply to the demand, and ensure the storage is sufficient to cover the periods when sunlight is not available.

Battery life is another factor to account for when choosing a battery. A battery with good cycle performance has much better economic benefit. The relative cost is lowered considerably, especially for applications in cycle use such as solar. Also, if the battery is installed in an environment without a temperature control system, a battery with a wider operating temperature range is better adapted to changes in ambient operating temperatures, resulting in prolonged battery life.

DIY or specialist installer?

For a small portable device or a home solar application, it may not be necessary to seek expert assistance. One could merely list the expected power consumption requirements and select the battery storage that is sufficient for the demand. Naturally, it is always important to follow the product installation instructions and make sure all the charging and discharging settings are correct and place the battery in a suitable working environment.

For a sizeable solar application, a specialist company is required to design a power solution to ensure that all details are taken into account. The battery solution might include not only the batteries, but also racks, temperature control system, online battery monitoring, etc. A battery management system (BMS) can also be beneficial; this typically comprises a more complete functional design to monitor the state of the battery in terms of voltage, temperature, charge, discharge, state of battery health, coolant flow and battery current. A BMS can also calculate the power requirements to adjust parameters dynamically, and implement a battery protection system to prevent the battery from entering an erroneous operation mode.

Maintenance and monitoring

A BMS is recommended for solar applications which should cover battery monitoring and protection features. However, a full-featured BMS is costly and may not be an option for consumers with a limited budget. Regardless, it is always recommended that the battery should be placed in an environment with temperature control, with the ideal operating temperature being between 20°C and 25°C.

Battery life might be reduced or the possibility of thermal runaway increased when operating at too high a temperature. In contrast, the discharge time will decrease if the battery is working at a lower temperature, and charging at a lower temperature may also shorten service life. Faulty procedures or inadequate charging methods, over-discharge, over-charge and insufficient charging time will result in failure to recover to normal capacity, reduced capacity, or shortened battery service life.

For solar applications, in particular, it is essential to know the power demand. The correct storage and charging plan is vital to avoid battery damage. It is also necessary to perform periodic maintenance for assurance of the optimum reliability of the battery if there is no battery monitoring or control system. Inspections can be conducted to identify a gradual decrease of the capacity of the system and to detect any abnormal error or individual battery conditions that may impact on system reliability.

Sealed lead-acid meets solar challenges

A sealed lead-acid battery is the least expensive battery option per watt-hour. The manufacturing process for sealed lead-acid batteries is a mature, reliable and well-understood technology. Sealed lead-acid batteries offer a wide range of capacity options for different applications and equipment. What is more, sealed lead-acid batteries have one of the lowest self-discharge rates in the family of rechargeable battery systems. This means they are not only economical, they also have two critical abilities – durability and dependability.

Supplied By: Forbatt SA
Tel: +27 11 469 3598
Fax: +27 11 469 3932
  Share on Facebook Share via Twitter Share via LinkedIn    

Further reading:

  • Wireless charging set to pull the plug on wired technology
    30 January 2019, TRX Electronics, This Week's Editor's Pick, Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT, Power Electronics / Power Management
    The technology will fully deliver on its promise when people can go about their everyday lives without ever worrying about carrying cables or power banks along with them.
  • DIN rail power supply
    30 January 2019, Accutronics, Power Electronics / Power Management
    Accutronics announced that it has been formally appointed as the exclusive representative of TDK-Lambda and its entire range of products for the South African territory. Together with this announcement, ...
  • 600 V GaN HEMTs
    30 January 2019, Altron Arrow, Power Electronics / Power Management
    Gallium nitride (GaN) offers fundamental advantages over silicon. In particular, the higher critical electrical field makes it very attractive for power semiconductor devices, with outstanding specific ...
  • Ultra slim DIN-rail PSUs
    30 January 2019, Vepac Electronics, Power Electronics / Power Management
    XP Power has announced the DSR range of AC-DC DIN-rail power supplies approved for industrial control systems and information technology equipment applications. These versatile supplies provide reliable ...
  • Constant-current LED drivers
    30 January 2019, Altron Arrow, Opto-Electronics, Power Electronics / Power Management
    Infineon Technologies’ LITIX Basic+ LED drivers serve as an extension to the existing LITIX Basic family. The new linear constant current sources, with their 1 to 3 inputs/outputs, build a scalable ...
  • Multiple-output PMICs
    30 January 2019, CST Electronics, Power Electronics / Power Management
    The MAX17270, MAX77278, MAX77640/MAX77641 and MAX77680/MAX77681 power-management integrated circuits (PMICs) from Maxim Integrated Products help to reduce the power management footprint for space-constrained ...
  • Buck-boost converters with I²C interface
    30 January 2019, NuVision Electronics, Power Electronics / Power Management
    The MP8860 from Monolithic Power Systems is a synchronous 4-switch integrated buck-boost converter, which is capable of regulating the output voltage from 2,8 V to 22 V input voltage range with high efficiency. ...
  • PMIC for optical measurements
    30 January 2019, CST Electronics, Power Electronics / Power Management
    The ultra-low-power MAX20345 from Maxim Integrated Products provides a way for designers of always-on wearable and Internet of Things (IoT) devices to extend battery runtime while shrinking form factor. ...
  • 1800 W electronic load
    14 November 2018, Conical Technologies, Test & Measurement, Power Electronics / Power Management
    Itech announced the release of the latest addition to its electronic load range, the IT8615. This e-Load has a compact height of only 3U for an 1800 Watt load, with an AC frequency adjustable from 45 ...
  • Programmable DC power supplies
    14 November 2018, Accutronics, Power Electronics / Power Management
    TDK announced the addition of high-power GSP models to the TDK Lambda GENESYS+ series of programmable DC power supplies. This expansion now provides 2U high, 10 kW and 3U high, 15 kW versions with output ...
  • Li-ion battery fuel gauges
    14 November 2018, CST Electronics, Power Electronics / Power Management
    Designers of lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery-powered mobile and portable devices can improve the end-user experience by extending runtime and delivering accurate battery state-of-charge (SOC) data with the ...
  • AC/DC converters for cost sensitive applications
    14 November 2018, Avnet South Africa, Power Electronics / Power Management
    Aimtec's new AC/DC series offer greater cost effectiveness following new production automation, leading to improved reliability and performance. Offering a commercial input voltage range of 85-264 V a.c. ...

Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd
1st Floor, Stabilitas House
265 Kent Ave, Randburg, 2194
South Africa
Publications by Technews
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology
Electronic Buyers Guide (EBG)

Hi-Tech Security Solutions
Hi-Tech Security Business Directory

Motion Control in Southern Africa
Motion Control Buyers’ Guide (MCBG)

South African Instrumentation & Control
South African Instrumentation & Control Buyers’ Guide (IBG)
Terms & conditions of use, including privacy policy
PAIA Manual


    Classic | Mobile

Copyright © Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.