Introduction to Batteries

In any Stand Alone power System [SAPS] the battery would have to rate as being the core of the system – it is the biological ‘heart’ and is fundamental to good design once the load/demand profile has been determined.

Once you move out of the 12-volt range, the battery will invariably be the most expensive individual ‘component’ and as there are so many options to choose from, due consideration must be given.

Battery life is impacted by many factors, and a good energy system designer will make these known to the client as part of the design proposal.

As a ‘general rule’, a correctly designed, installed, maintained, cycled and used battery system should last 10 – 15 years.

Battery longevity is impacted by many factors [a non exhaustive list];

  • daily loads
  • mean and peak
  • ambient temperatures maximum/minimum/mean
  • battery management/monitoring system ac/dc coupling
  • low daily depth of discharge
  • a ‘redundant’ capacity to meet intermittent peak loads
  • and ‘growth’ in demand, battery manufacturer.

All these factors contribute to design choice in battery type and management system.

There are a number of different battery types;

  • the ‘wet’ lead acid [FLA – Flooded Lead Acid]
  • Gel – Valve Regulated Flooded Lead Acid]
  • Lithium Ion
  • and Lithium Iron Phosphate.

All of these have their pros and cons, which should be considered when designing a quality Stand Alone Power System {SAPS}.

A quality SAPS designer will ensure the client is aware of all the battery options, and what is being recommended is within the context of a quality system proposal. Because at the end of the day you will be the owner/operator of a power plant which you need to have confidence in, and that begins with confidence in the design!