Solar systems are being installed more rapidly now than ever before.  Perhaps this comes as no surprise due to the continual rise in energy costs and the instability of the electricity grid. 

In addition to this, consumers are becoming more conscientious about renewable energy.  The good news is that the cost of solar hardware, most especially that of solar panels, is continually coming down, making it more affordable for people to install a solar solution.

Storage batteries, more commonly known as deep cycle batteries, form a major component of any system.  Lead acid batteries, in the form of flooded, AGM or GEL batteries are still the most cost effective means of storing energy.   Probe’s AGM or GEL type batteries are ideal in a  hybrid type system from a cost benefit point of view , where batteries are used to constantly cycle, giving approximately 20% more life cycles than the equivalent flooded battery.  The Probe flooded range still performs well under high temperature conditions and are well suited for all standby applications in both domestic and industrial applications.
If used correctly, lead acid batteries can offer solid and reliable performance. However, excessive cycling and deep discharge will reduce the lifespan of a battery, often resulting in premature failure due to factors such as sulphation and breakdown of active material within the battery.
Charging rates are just as important for the battery to perform properly.This means that it is critical to ensure that the battery is charged to the manufacturer specifications.  Improper charging will result in poor power delivery and internal battery damage.
People often return batteries for warranty claims well within the warranty period, just to receive the bad news that the battery has been damaged due to incorrect settings or miscalculations by the installer or supplier of the system. This is often an expensive mistake, most especially when banks of batteries are used.  In many instances, the entire bank would have to be replaced.
To avoid situations such as these, it is imperative that the owner of the solar system is informed about how it works, to ensure correct charging rates and inverter settings, which are also critical.  These settings should be monitored and checked from time to time to ensure longevity of the batteries.  

Solar is a long-term investment.  It makes sense to ensure optimal performance to reap a good return on your investment. 

Ingo Eichner – Business Development Manager Gauteng