To every technology available,there is usually the backend where other supporting components work to ensure that the overall purpose is met.For solar,batteries are a support to inverters and affect how they function.
Basically, batteries are vital parts of a solar home system. The performance and life span of an inverter largely depends on it. However, inappropriate choices or poor maintenance of them can limit performance and reduce the shelf-life of inverters. Therefore, caution is key here.
They come in different types. Here are the most common of them:
Lead Acid Batteries
Sealed lead acid batteries (Maintenance Free)
Lead Acid Batteries
Lead acid batteries are the most common type of inverter batteries. They are rechargeable and produce huge current flow. They are lighter in weight and very economical. They usually last between 3-4 years. However, they require regular maintenance- electrolyte level check and topping up has to be done regularly. They also release harmful gases during charge and discharge. Hence, they must be installed at a well ventilated place in the house.
Sealed Lead Acid Batteries (Maintenance Free)
Sealed lead acid batteries are maintenance free and do not require electrolyte level check and topping up. They are fit and safer compared to normal lead acid batteries. But comparatively, they are costlier have shorter shelf-life.
Tubular batteries are the most popular and efficient inverter batteries. They are built with a more sophisticated design, have longer operational life (8+ years) and require little maintenance. Hence, their rise in cost.
Why use distilled water for Inverter battery?
An Inverter battery has internal plates that is covered with water-which makes it work better. During operation, water goes through chemical reaction and it is broken down into hydrogen and oxygen gas. These gases evaporate from battery and gradually, the water level drops. This way plates remain no longer covered with water. In order to ensure the battery performs effectively well, it is important to top it up with distilled water.
Water from faucets, wells and other natural resources usually have dissolved minerals, salts and impurities. These minerals and salts fill the pores and form layers on the plates thereby affecting the normal electro-chemical reaction that generates power in the battery. Presence of such chemical ions may drastically reduce the lifespan of the battery. Filtering tap water merely removes the suspended matter but not the dissolved minerals and non-ionic compounds. Advanced filters like ion-exchange or activated carbon filters remove most of the ionic and larger non-ionic compounds leaving smaller molecules in the solution.
But distilled water contains no dissolved minerals, salts, organic and in-organic compounds that may harm the battery. Therefore, battery manufacturers recommend distilled water for better performance and longer battery life.
When next you see an inverter,remember to appreciate one of its supporting component- Batteries!