Preventive Maintenance of Solar Battery Bank
Maintenance and care for solar battery bank are essential for a successful off-grid solar PV system . Some factors that can cause poor performance of solar battery are manufacturing defects, installed environment, the type of battery technology and battery abuse. However, abuse of battery is one most common reason that had caused failure in many off-grid PV systems. This article explains some of the factors that can lead to battery abuse.
Abuse of Battery
Abuse of a battery may be as a result of several factors. Some of these factors are as follows:
- Leaving the battery in a low SoS for a long period without charging it.
- Allowing the battery to self-discharge,
- Leaving ‘phantom loads’ or ‘ghost loads’ plugged even when they are turned off or they are not in use, etc.
- Failure to use appliances according to the energy use plan. For example, if a TV is supposed to be used for three hours but it is used for six hours, then the battery will inevitably drain.
In the above situation, a customer needs to be well educated on how to use a solar PV system. This will require the installer to develop a post-commission manual and/or provide on-site training for the customer.
Other preventive maintenance best practices that will increase a battery life cycle and keep it in good working condition are:
- Prevent loose connections on the battery terminals.
- Remove corrosion from battery terminals as often as possible.
- Identify bad batteries before they can affect the rest of the string.
- Avoid storing a battery for a long time without charging it
- Store the battery off the floor in a wooden battery tray or non-metallic tray
- Keep the top surface of the battery clean.
- Keep the battery terminals clean and greased.
- Don’t operate the battery in an environment where the temperature is higher than what the manufacturer specified.
- Don’t operate the battery below the SoS specified by the manufacturer.
Note: Remember to let the batteries reach a full state of charge every time they have been run down to a low state of charge before connecting the battery to load.
Interestingly, recent development in battery technology has made it possible for some batteries to be unattended to within a specified period. Such batteries are usually buzz about by manufacturers as ‘maintenance-free’. However, even though sealed batteries are sometimes referred to as maintenance-free, it is still required that a scheduled maintenance and service be carried out on them. Maintenance-free simply refers to the fact that they do not require watering unlike the tubular batteries.