Home Power Thinking About Batteries

Justine Sanchez has a good article on Battery Bank Design & Sizing in this month’s Home Power Magazine. The focus is on residential systems and not on RV systems. It includes consideration for “areas with utilities unfriendly to net billing” which is one way of saying areas whose populations don’t like subsidies for energy fantasies. But the subsidies are often forced on utility customers and other modern concerns such as load leveling have become an issue in electrical power systems. 

The battery types discussed here are being mass-produced—there is a formalized testing process in place with material safety handling data sheets, etc.—and are currently available for the U.S. residential storage market.
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No matter what type of system you have, there are some basic pieces of information you will need for sizing. This includes the daily energy the battery bank will need to supply and the DOD recommended for that battery type.
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A primary factor in off-grid battery bank design is “days of autonomy”—the number of days that the bank should meet loads without being recharged due to clouds hampering PV output.

There is a good discussion of considerations that differ between whether the batteries are providing service for off-grid, backup, or load leveling situations. An RV has the potential for much greater variance in energy requirements in most cases. That means that a greater reserve capacity is needed. Weight, maintenance charging, and other factors are much more important in RV systems than they are in Home systems, too.

 

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