Difference between a Car Battery and Solar Battery

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In order to have a truly effective and efficient solar panel system, you need the right battery option that will fit your electricity needs as closely as possible. A solar panel generates power and stores it in the battery bank, which can then be used as needed.

A solar battery bank functions like an electric car where the electricity is generated and then stored to be used later.  In the case of EVs its when you are driving and solar batteries is at night or during low light conditions.  Solar batteries can provide power during blackouts, so they provide an added level of security for those who live in areas with a high risk of natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes.

What is the difference between Solar batteries and Car Batteries? Solar Batteries and Car batteries both store energy however car batteries are meant to be discharged over a short period of time while solar batteries are meant to be discharged over a long period of time. Solar batteries can be used in Cars and Car Batteries can be used in Solar Applications however they won’t perform those functions as well as the other.

We take you through as to why.

Battery Types

There are three main types of batteries that are used to store power: lead-acid, nickel-metal hydride (NiMH), and lithium-ion (Li-ion). Lead-acid batteries have been around the longest and are still used today in cars and solar applications. The technology has evolved over time, so modern lead-acid batteries tend to be more efficient than older versions. 

However, they use lead which can be hazardous if it is exposed to the air or water. NiMH batteries are typically less expensive than lithium-ion batteries but also last about two-thirds as long. They can be charged and discharged up to 1,500 times and do not suffer from the aging problems of lead-acid batteries. Li-ion batteries cost more than NiMH or lead-acid options but also last longer – five to seven years – and require virtually no maintenance.

Most electric cars use lithium-ion technology which is also used in off-grid solar.  However, this type of battery is not the same type of battery that is used to start your car engine.  And there are other fundamental differences between car batteries and solar batteries.

Car Batteries Vs. Solar Batteries

A car battery works well for things like starting a car since it is capable of releasing a lot of power in a short amount of time. A car battery makes for a poor choice as a solar battery because it doesn’t have the capacity or output required. But they will work.

Car batteries are designed to release all the current they have stored at once, but this is not ideal for solar batteries. Solar batteries should be able to release their current slowly and steadily, so they do not overheat and damage the panels or system.  

If you need a replacement battery for your existing off-the-grid power system, you will need to consider how much energy it uses and what its output capacity is. If you need a battery that can store enough energy for your entire house, you will want to get the biggest solar batteries you can afford.

Car batteries typically come in 12-volt and 6-volt models. The number of volts refers to how much electricity it is capable of releasing at one time. The more voltage a battery has, the more powerful it is. It is important to match the battery with your system, as you do not want to exceed the voltage on your solar panel.

A car battery is not recommended for use in a solar power system because it does not provide steady voltage output and cannot be recharged. However, there are many batteries that can be used to store excess energy from your panels and provide power during a blackout, including nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) and lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries.

Car batteries are not recommended for use in most solar power systems because car batteries cannot be recharged quickly, release their power all at once, and do not provide steady voltage output. Solar battery options are deep cycles in nature. We discuss this next

What is the difference between deep cycle and starter batteries

A starter battery is designed to generate short bursts of high voltage electricity in order to start an engine. They are not designed for continuous discharge and can be damaged if discharged below 50%. 

Deep-cycle batteries, on the other hand, are used when the load isn’t entirely constant or when it needs power for a long period of time. The deep cycle battery is often found in renewable energy systems like solar panels because they can provide sustained periods of power even through interruptions such as cloudy days or nighttime hours. 

These batteries also have much higher capacities than starter batteries which means that they last longer before needing replacement or recharging. However, they do require more maintenance since you need to keep them at full charge by periodically running them down and then recharging them.

In fact, a car battery CAN NOT be used as it is NOT designed to be discharged down below 50%. Car batteries can be expensive and this would make a bad option financially for solar use.

While car batteries do have a high voltage output they cannot provide the amperage required for large-scale power production of solar panels or during heavy use. In order to power a solar panel or other renewable energy sources, you need a deep cycle battery that can provide regular and sustained power for several hours – one that is well suited for the task.

Car batteries were made with short bursts of electricity in mind and not consistent and sustained output like required by solar panels. They are also much more expensive than deep cycle batteries.



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