Not long ago, the idea of harvesting energy from the sun was still science fiction. But after many technological advances in the last few years, solar power is now a reliable alternative energy source with the potential to challenge and one day out-compete oil, gas, and other forms of energy.
Solar is now the second biggest source for clean energy generation, following natural gas. This demand for clean energy is higher than ever with the popularity of the green movement. Especially here in Florida and other sunny climates, the residential and commercial demand for solar panels is booming with new home buyers and business owners.
Homeowners and business owners may see substantial savings on their energy bills over time when they switch from traditional energy. Adopting solar energy also comes with rebates and tax incentives that the coal, oil, and natural gas industries can’t provide.
With the rise in demand for solar, many new companies that install panels are popping up. This has caused the price of solar panels and installations to drop considerably over the last several years.
There are now hundreds of nationwide solar retailers, independent dealers, and online solar products for consumers to purchase. Even car manufacturers like Tesla are getting into the game.
Another factor in solar energy’s growing popularity around the world comes from China’s affordable production of solar panels. Chinese solar companies are subsidized by the government, allowing them to manufacture half of the world’s current supply of solar panels. Their cut-rate prices and distribution methods help to benefit the cost of solar in the US.
Once considered a luxury item only the wealthy could afford, more and more homeowners and businesses are now able to adopt solar panel technology.
The solar energy sector is growing at a rapid rate in the US and other developed countries, making it one of the highest areas of growth compared to other energy sectors. Along with this explosive growth comes a new wave of jobs.
Big corporations such as Apple, Walmart, Kohls, and Costco are some of solar’s biggest investors at the moment. These businesses value the cost savings and clean energy benefits so they have been adding solar panels to many of their buildings across the country.
In fact, Walmart installs more solar panels on their stores than any other US business. As solar panel and installation costs continue to become more affordable, you’ll see more and more business turning to solar energy to lower their electricity costs long-term.
Once you decide to go green with solar, you should consult an expert on how many solar panels your home or business will need, along with the overall kilowatts that system will generate. Once you know the overall power that will be generated from your solar system, it’s time to choose a battery bank.
A good battery bank is at the core of every solar system, and without one it’s impossible to store the energy generated from solar panels. This makes choosing the right battery technology extremely crucial for retaining power during off-peak production periods (when the sun isn’t shining).
There are 3 different types of batteries used in off-grid solar systems:
-Flooded lead acid
-Sealed lead acid (Gel and AGM)
-Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4)
Flooded lead acid batteries are a wet cell battery that’s filled with electrolytes. While these are the cheapest batteries available, they have the shortest lifespan and require ongoing maintenance every 30-45 days. Regular maintenance includes refilling with water, venting, and cleaning the terminals. It’s important to handle these batteries with care because they contain highly toxic and corrosive lead/ sulfuric acid. Improper care of flooded lead acid batteries may result in the leakage of explosive hydrogen gas. Most manufacturers recommend to replace these batteries every 3-4 years or 500 discharge/ charge cycles.
Sealed lead acid batteries come in at a slightly higher price point and work better for very demanding off-grid power situations. AGM batteries are a part of this group, and feature thin glass mats that hold the electrolyte in place. For the most part sealed batteries are maintenance free but will need to be replaced every 5-7 years, depending on usage.
Battery cells with lithium iron phosphate technology (LiFePO4) are the best choice for modern solar systems of any type. Lithium-ion batteries are more reliable, more efficient at storing and supplying energy, recharge the fastest, and have the longest life cycle (3000-5000 cycles). Lithium Battery Power offers several large capacity lithium-ion batteries depending on your specific solar wattage needs. Our batteries require absolutely no maintenance and are backed up by a 10 year manufacturer’s warranty. The only downside to lithium is the high upfront cost, but this is eventually offset over time. It’s not uncommon for high-quality lithium batteries to last up to 15 years.
If you’re thinking of investing in solar energy for your home or business, take a look at our complete lineup of solar compatible lithium ion batteries to maximize your performance.