Batteries For Solar Power

Store extra energy produced by solar panels by using batteries for solar power after dark.

  • Deep-cycle batteries are one of the most common batteries for solar power used by low-budget homesteaders. This is a deep-cycle battery purchased at Wal-Mart. It's rated at 125 amp-hours and comes with an 18-month free replacement warranty.
    Photo by Steve Gregersen
  • The Wal-Mart deep-cycle battery viewed from the top. It has a reserve capacity rating of 205 amps. We purchased four of these at $80 each. We've since replaced them with six golf cart batteries.
    Photo by Steven Gregersen
  • This is one of our charge controllers (we have three) that limits the voltage from the solar panels to prevent the batteries from overcharging.
    Photo by Steven Gregersen
  • In "Creating the Low-Budget Homestead," Steven D. Gregersen provides practical tips and instruction for fulfilling the dream of self-sufficient living.
    Cover courtesy Paladin Press

Creating the Low-Budget Homestead (Paladin Press, 2011), by Steven D. Gregersen, provides practical advice for building your dream homestead. Living an off-grid, independent lifestyle takes a lot of planning, but with Gregersen’s help, anyone can save time and money making their self-reliance dreams come true. In the following excerpt from “Power,” learn how to store electricity afterhours using batteries for solar power.

Purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Creating the Low-Budget Homestead.

Types of Batteries for Solar Power Storage

Batteries for solar power store the excess energy from your solar panels for use after the sun goes down or at times when your electrical loads are drawing out more than the panels are putting in.

You’ll have to choose between deep-cycle batteries, golf cart batteries, sealed (or not) batteries, lead-acid batteries, absorbed glass mat sealed lead acid (AGM) batteries, gelled electrolyte sealed lead acid (GEL) batteries, and a few others that aren’t so well known. Each one has strengths and weaknesses. For the most part you’ll get what you pay for, so make your choice wisely.

The two most common types of batteries for solar power, used by the low-budget homesteader, are the deep-cycle batteries sold to boat and RV owners, and similar (but larger and more durable) golf cart batteries. Golf cart batteries are usually 6 volts, so you’ll need multiples of two for a 12-volt off-grid system and multiples of four if your system is 24 volts. The big complaint about regular deep-cycle batteries is their short lifespan in off-grid applications. The big drawback to other types is the price. This is another area in which you’ll need to do your own research before you make a purchase.

You’ll hear different arguments about the lifespan of different types of batteries, and while these may be good for comparative purposes, there’s no way anyone can tell how long your batteries will last. The most important factors in battery life are how many charge/discharge cycles they go through, how deep these cycles are, and how well you maintain them.

8/16/2015 1:17:28 PM

Hi all! My name is Tony Long, I am a housewife. I had a terrible problem with my Best Deep Cycle Battery, thank for share this article. It is helpful for me, see the same at:

2/2/2015 5:30:58 AM

Are there any other storage technologys coming around?(pumped storage micro hydro,compressed air,different elastic accumulators,anything)what about the flow batteries? and how about the systems,I've heard about you rent for about 50$ a month that are guarenteed to cost you no more then $50 a month from the utility?This system is said to use forklift batteries,I suppose people need to focus more on peak usage to make the storage feaslble-Kevin

2/1/2015 7:34:12 AM

Okay I caught the electric lawn tractor bug this year,while fooling with a 20 hp gasoline riding mower(it doesnt like cold weather)hard on gas too)'I would truly like to have some abilities left if SHTF and the grid crashes-so what I'm really asking is any new developements on the electric lawn mower front and other transpotation,have a friend how may eventually charge Her "leaf" from a solar array and any othe developements on the energy storage front?,Thanx-Kevin PS,GREAT ARTICLE



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