If you haven’t installed a solar generator, this post should get you convinced that a solar generator is a good investment. But, optimizing them could yield more returns. I will be sharing two tips that result in major savings for solar generators.
1. Move your batteries to well-ventilated areas
Keep your inverter and batteries in a cool and dry place. You’ve seen a similar caution on a number of products. For your batteries, complying could mean huge savings. Because Battery university states that every 8°C rise in temperature cuts the life of a sealed lead-acid battery by 50%.
Nowadays, most batteries are sealed, maintenance-free, gel-batteries (VLRA-type). They can easily reach lifetimes of 10+ years at 25°C. At 33°C, your batteries will only live for 5years.
Typical temperatures in Nigeria range anywhere between 20-40°C. Therefore, your batteries could be exposed to even higher temperatures if they are not properly ventilated.
Victron energy suggests that one way to slow down death, in sealed lead-acid batteries, is to combine it with a charge controller that features a temperature-adjusted regulation of its charging voltage and float voltage. These adjustments may extend the battery lifetime by 15%, given the still persisting corrosion caused by elevated temperatures.
If you can, move the batteries to somewhere cooler or airy around your house. Ensure it is safe from direct sunlight and heat. If you have a large power bank with a series of batteries, consider installing a cooling system.
Taking proper ventilation into consideration could add a year or two in battery life, saving you about ₦12,000–₦40,000 per battery depending on your battery type.
We can’t overemphasize this. Energy-saving appliances are usually more expensive upfront, yet they turn out to be the more economical option over time. Take the ordinary bulb for example. It uses 75% more energy than a CFL(Compact Fluorescent Lamp) or an LED bulb to provide the same amount of light. (LED bulbs are the most efficient. They also have a longer lifespan.)
Likewise, a fan with better copper winding will consume lesser power than a fan with poor quality winding. Since poor quality copper winding increases the resistance and load on inverters. Check out this post for a list of energy-saving appliances.
We also need to cultivate the habit of disconnecting appliances. Especially when they are not in use. A common culprit is laptop chargers.
Always leaving your laptop computer plugged in, even when it’s fully charged, consumes a similar quantity as when charging. The charger would drain 4.5 kilowatt-hours of electricity in a week, or about 235 kilowatt-hours a year. Your power consumption may vary, depending on model and battery but that is roughly ₦6050 for households and ₦9800 for businesses per laptop a year.
Installing smart meters allows you to track how much energy your home consumes on a regular basis.
Rusting in terminals reduces the current flow to and from the battery. This restricted flow of current results in slow battery charging which ultimately reduces battery life. Call a technician if the terminals are corroded. Rusting and corrosion are very bad for battery performance.
Use your solar generator on a regular basis. Ensure you discharge the battery completely once every month and then recharge it for a longer lifespan.