Photo by Adobe Stock/haitaucher39
I bought my first solar panel in 1989, a 50-watt Solarex photovoltaic module. Along with an old motorcycle battery, some DC car lights, and a small radio, I created an off-grid room in the house I was renting. When the power was out, and even when it wasn’t, I had lights and music operating on stored solar energy.
When I built my home in the 1990s, it was far enough from utility power that an off-grid system made economic sense, in part because I could do the work myself. Solar panels were more expensive back then, and the only accessible, affordable battery technology available was lead-acid. I’ve had to replace my battery bank about every seven years since, despite different brands, sizes, and configurations. Meanwhile, improvements in chargers, inverters, and PV panels have made lead-acid technology feel more antiquated.
This article compares some of the qualities of lead-acid and lithium iron battery technologies for off-grid applications.
Read my article in Mother Earth News for the skinny on storing electrons!