4 Ways to Triple the Life of Solar-Electric System Batteries

With regular cleanings, water top-off and equalizations, you can triple the life of the batteries that store power as part of your photovoltaic (PV) system.

Here’s how:

1.  Equalize every time the batteries drop below a 50% charge, sometimes two to four times a month.

2.  Fully recharge your batteries every chance you get. “Mostly” charging usually doesn’t cut it.

3.  Inspect and clean your batteries often. Look for crud on top — it can build up and actually short between the posts, causing a constant discharge. And be sure to give your batteries a good cleaning every two to three months. Get on your grubby clothes, eye protection and gloves, and ensure you have plenty of baking soda next to your batteries. Then mix up a mild soap and water solution and start cleaning. (Use an old paintbrush and rinse all  connections with clean water while checking for tightness and corrosion.) Treat any posts and connections as required. Equalize the battery bank, top off the water, and check each cell’s voltage and log it.

4. Don’t overcharge a gel cell battery. There’s no way to replace the expelled electrolyte, and you’ll shorten the battery’s lifespan.


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