For wind and solar beginners who are just getting started, don't spend lots of money on forklift batteries, instead, purchase a 12V automotive battery or deep cycle marine battery. This will be sufficient until you are more familiar with how your wind turbine or solar panels will work and are ready to expand.
Batteries for the Beginner
In this video, Jeff talks about the different types of Trojan wind and solar batteries: 2-volt, 6-volt, 12-volt and disconnect switches for battery banks.
Popular Batteries in Alternative Energy
The following batteries are the most commonly used for storing energy produced by wind turbines or solar panels. There are pros and cons to each.
Flooded, Wet cell
• The second most popular battery type
Deep Cycle Flooded
• New on the market – Renewable Energy Battery
Absorbed Glass Mat
• True deep cycle battery expensive option
• Doesn’t need to be vented, can lay on their side, last longer than the wet cell
• Very expensive and sensitive to charging
• If these batteries are allowed to be overcharged, they will be ruined
DC Disconnect Recommendation
We recommend using a DC disconnect switch in line with your batteries inverters as shown below.
Batteries work great at 72 degrees Fahrenheit. However, when temperatures fluctuate up or down, the batteries degrade and are hard to charge. To keep your batteries at an ideal temperature, build an insulated plywood box that is vented outside to keep the batteries operating optimally! Batteries placed directly on a cold concrete floor won’t charge easily at all.
Desulfation of Batteries
If your alternative energy employs more than one battery, consider the issue of desulfation. Sulfates build up between lead plates within the unit and will wear the battery down.
To prevent a build-up of sulfates, pair your system with a PWM (pulse width modulation) charge controller (typically for solar only applications) to knock the sulfates off the plates, prolonging battery life.
If your system includes a wind turbine, the turbine charge surges in the battery that will knock sulfates off the lead plates.
The batteries listed above are meant to charge & recharge frequently. Follow manufacturer recommendations at what percentage to discharge each battery to keep from shortening battery life. For instance, a single solar panel would take such a long time to charge a large battery bank that you will likely drain the battery below the recommended percentage. More batteries isn’t always better!
Try to get the right amount of batteries for your project. Don’t pair a huge 5000-watt inverter on a single 12 Volt battery as it will cause the battery to drain way too quickly. Try a 500 watt or 1000 watt inverter with a small battery.