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COMMERCIAL FEATURE THE OPERATION OF BATTERIES IN A DEEP CYCLE APPLICATION By Colin Mackay, who runs the solar division at Specialised Battery Systems Whether for off grid photovoltaic systems, wind power systems or even grid tied solar systems – in order to ensure a constant, consistent and sure flow of power – a battery is required. THE PROBLEM: Premature failure of batteries in deep cycle applications: SOLUTION #1 THE DESIGN OF THE POWER SUPPLY:- Trained and experienced designers will ensure that the power supply is designed around the power requirement, the area in which it is situated and the other components in the system. If the power supply is incapable of supplying the power required – the batteries will not receive the charge they require and they will fail – no matter what quality they are. Specialised Battery Systems offers trained and experienced system designers – eliminating failure due to poor power supply sizing SOLUTION #2 THE SIZE OF THE BATTERY:- The two most critical items impacting a battery in a deep cycle application are the size of the battery in relation to the power requirement and the operating temperature of the battery. The size of the battery in relation to the system is critical to the performance of the battery system over time and to the life of the battery overall. Daily depth of discharge has a direct impact on the life of the battery as does temperature. Specialised Battery Systems ensure the battery is designed to optimise battery performance and battery life CEIL NXT 200 AGM 200AH 12 V BLOCK – five year plus design life. ESI AFRICA ISSUE 2 2014 CEIL SGL 100 GEL Tubular 100AH 12 V BLOCK – 10 year plus design life. SOLUTION #3 BATTERY TYPE:- The third area that can lead to failure is battery type. There are a number of different technologies and types within each technology and the truth is they can all deep cycle. Yes, any battery will provide at least one or two really deep cycles. The difference between any battery and a battery designed to deep cycle is the length of time it will provide deep cycles for. A battery designed for deep cycling will have a longer service life than one which is not. The trick is to get the balance between cycle life and cost right. Specialised Battery Systems has a range of battery types available – among them Lithium Iron and Nickel Cadmium. The most effective battery type – primarily due to cost – is still the lead acid battery. The primary SBS deep cycle product is the CEIL NXT AGM range and The CEIL SGL GEL range, as well as the Hoppecke Tubular range. SOLUTION #4 SYSTEM MANAGEMENT:- Alternative energy systems are in effect mini power stations. As such they need management – demand side management, supply side management and maintenance. Users should have a full understanding of how these systems work so that they can control these aspects on an everyday basis. Failure to manage the use of power from the system will result in regular over- discharge of the batteries and premature failure. Specialised Battery Systems consults with the user from design stage through installation and commissioning. We provide comprehensive training on the operation of the system on commissioning and offer after sales advice and maintenance on an ongoing basis. The solutions above by no means solve all issues related to all battery problems in deep cycle applications – they do, however solve a large majority. For solutions to all issues with deep cycle batteries and solar power systems – contact Specialised Battery Systems. ESI ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Colin Mackay runs the solar division at Specialised Battery Systems. He has 18 years’ experience in the sales, design and installation of solar and battery systems Tel: +27 (0)11 425 3447 www.sbssolar.co.za 83