Your solar battery hand guide
The country’s issue with load shedding has led many South Africans to consider investing in a PV array with energy storage. Such systems have the ability to store excess energy generated during the day for later use, like on cloudy days or at night, allowing home and business owners to utilise their own supplies in the event of a power outage.
However, cutting (or at least loosening) your ties to the national grid comes with a higher upfront cost than transitioning to a PV system without backup power. And whilst this is the most cost-effective solution in the long run, with no fluctuating energy bills to worry about, selecting the right solar batteries work is essential to ensure the investment is worthwhile.
So, keep reading to find out all you need to know about solar batteries — and which Pylontech batteries we recommend!
Installing and maintaining solar batteries
In PV systems with energy storage, the energy flows from the solar panels to the inverter before reaching the battery itself. This energy will be stored until it is ready for use, at which stage it will be converted from chemical to electrical energy, most often through lithium-ion (Li-ion) technology.
Li-ion batteries are favoured over lead-acid models due to their higher storage capacity and depth of discharge (DoD) — the percentage of the battery that can be used, otherwise known as its usable capacity — and longer life span.
Solar batteries typically last between five to 15 years, but this will vary depending on usage cycles, meaning each round of complete discharge and recharge, and how much damage is done to the battery during its lifetime.
Damage might be caused by overcharging, where current is pushed into a fully-charged battery — leading to overheating and an increased fire risk that could degrade or destroy the system. Storing PV batteries in too warm of an environment can also cause damage.
To maintain optimum battery health, it is recommended that batteries are kept in cool, dry places, and that all the components of the system it exists within have enough space for proper air circulation.
Thankfully, the solar market is full of energy storage solutions that ensure product safety and system maintenance are fuss-free.
Pylontech’s battery solutions
When choosing a PV battery, installers must pay attention to the voltage — how much energy is produced in a single cell.
Low-voltage batteries are easy to install and upgrade and can ruin continuously without exceeding power limits, so temperatures stay low. These types of batteries can be linked in a parallel for a higher energy output. Alternatively, high-voltage batteries are much larger and more powerful, with fast charging times — ideal for systems with higher energy requirements.
We stock a range of low and high-voltage batteries, including a vast selection from one of the most experienced names in the industry, Pylontech.
The Pylontech UP25000 operates at 24 V and can support 6000 cycles at 90% DoD. This low-voltage model comes with a 15-year design life and is compatible with KODAK Solar Products and Victron Energy inverters of equal capacity.
More demanding residential systems can benefit from the UP5000, a 48 V, 4.8 kWh battery with a 95% DoD for a higher usable capacity. This model features a modular design for ease of expansion, making for a highly efficient and dynamic product.
Pylontech also offers hybrid energy storage systems (HESS) that come with their own Li-ion cell for optimum safety values. These models, the US2000C and US3000C, also boast a 95% DoD and come with a self-designed BMS for protection from common faults, such as abnormal temperature, current and voltage, for a reduced risk of damage.