Maintaining an off-grid solar system is not easy, but is important. The off-grid solar system isn’t connected to an electric company and that is why, one needs to keep it maintained for maximum efficiency and use. It uses the photovoltaic panels to store energy in the battery bank.
If you want to maintain an off-grid solar system, you must start with taking excellent care of its battery bank. It would help extend the life of the batteries as well as reduce long-term cost associated with the maintenance of the solar system. The below tips will help one maintain an off-grid solar system.
- Start by Checking the Charge Level
The first thing which one needs to do is check the charge level of the solar system. The DOD (Depth of Discharge) is the amount of battery which is discharged. Whereas, the SOC (State of Charge) is the opposite of that, for example, if the SOC is eighty percent then the DOD would be twenty percent.
Now, if the battery discharges by an amount greater than fifty percent regularly, it could reduce the lifespan of the battery. Therefore, make sure that it does not exceed this amount. One can easily check the specific voltage and gravity of the battery to find out the DOD and SOC. A hydrometer can also be used to check these.
- Equalize the Batteries
There are several cells in multiple batteries that are inside the battery bank. When the battery is charging, the cells might experience different gravity. In order to keep all of the cells completely charged, equalization is used. Normally, it is recommended for the batteries to be equalized every six months. You can also program the charge controller to perform equalization periodically.
A specific voltage can also be selected for the equalization process. Once, again the hydrometer can be used to check the specific gravity of the cells and equalized as needed.
- Monitor the Fluid Fuel
The FLA (Flooded Lead-Acid) batteries contain water and sulfuric acid. When the battery supplies or charges power, the water evaporates, this shouldn’t be problem for sealed batteries. However, for the non-sealed batteries, distilled water would need to be added. You can use a hydro cap to prevent the water from escaping too quickly.
- Have the Batteries Cleaned Regularly
Condensation may form on top of the battery, when the water escapes through the cap. The fluid is acidic and electrically conductive, hence would create small area between the battery posts. It would lead to more load being used. Therefore, it is vital to have the batteries cleaned regularly. Mix the baking soda with distilled water and use a special brush to apply onto the battery terminals for a through clean. Finally, have the terminals rinsed with water and ensure that all of the connections are tight.
- Avoid Mixing Batteries
Lastly, in order to maintain an off-grid solar system and ensure that it continues to work effectively, avoid mixing batteries. Therefore, the best thing which one can do when changing batteries, is replacing the entire batch of batteries altogether.Avoid Mixing Batteries