Solar lights are all the rage nowadays. From working entirely on solar energy to reducing your electricity costs, they also provide you with an environment-friendly option to power your house. However, after using these lights for quite some time, you might notice that these lights aren’t as bright as they used to be at the start. At this time, one question which arises in everyone’s mind is that “Do solar lights need special batteries?”
Rechargeable batteries are one of the most critical components of this particular product. While it’s up to the solar panels to convert sunlight into electrical energy, this energy is then stored in the rechargeable batteries. As the day ends, and the sunlight begins to diminish, it is then utilized to power a number of different light fixtures around your homes, offices and other such locations.
Do Solar Lights Need Special Batteries: The Different Types
There are four types of rechargeable batteries which are normally used in the solar lights. Each one of these types comes with its own sets of pros and cons. So it is imperative to know about them before purchasing any one of these batteries.
A short form of Nickel-Cadmium battery, this is one of the oldest types of rechargeable batteries. In fact, they were used for the very first time at the start of the 20th century. With the passage of time, they no longer possess the same capacity and power which is part and parcel of other rechargeable batteries.
However, the Ni-Cd batteries are still very famous for their durable lifespan. Furthermore, they consist of a straightforward mechanism which makes them ideal for all those customers who’re using the solar lights for the very first time. They also come at a lesser price which makes them an ideal purchase for the budget-oriented homeowners.
Another advantage, which is usually associated with the Ni-Cd batteries, is the fact that they tend to discharge and recharge in a very short span of time. They also perform quite well in colder outdoors, and you can even use them below the freezing temperature.
Having said that, this type of rechargeable batteries is deemed hazardous for the everyday environment. The reason behind it is that they use pure cadmium— it is a highly toxic form of metal. Once these batteries run dry, you cannot dispose them at your own place. You have to take them to the select disposal stations which have the relevant experience with the disposal of this particular metal.
The Nickel-Metal hydride batteries normally come with the same voltage and capacity as that of Ni-Cd batteries. However, one major difference between both these products is that while the latter makes use of a toxic cadmium metal, the former replaces it with the hydrogen-absorbing alloy. So, if you’re looking for an eco-friendly counterpart of the Ni-Cd batteries, you can purchase the Ni-MH batteries without any hindrance.
The Ni-MH batteries feature a higher energy density as compared to many other types of rechargeable batteries. In simple words, they are capable of storing more energy as compared to other such products in today’s market. Additionally, you cannot completely discharge this particular product which eventually protects its cell from permanent damage.
Nowadays, there is a wide range of solar lights which comes equipped with the Ni-MH batteries. It includes both low-end and high-end products which are produced by a wide range of manufactures. This is due to the reason that as compared to other types of batteries, this particular model doesn’t lose its capacity with the passage of time. It is also effortless to dispose of as no toxic material is used in its construction.
One disadvantage which is commonly associated with the Ni-MH rechargeable batteries is their expensive cost. You cannot make this acquisition at a low price rag which can be a drawback with the budget-conscious shoppers. Furthermore, it is recommended to use special types of chargers for this unit; otherwise, ordinary chargers can cause this battery to overheat.
The oldest type of rechargeable batteries, the first lead-acid battery was invented way back in 1859. Even after all those years, this product is still going strong in the solar light marketplace.
The lead-acid batteries can be categorized into two different types: Starting batteries and deep-cycle batteries. The starting batteries, as evident from their name, are used in the engines of different automobiles. As per the deep-cycle batteries, they are normally used in various types of solar lights.
This type of rechargeable batteries is normally preferred for moderate to extremely low temperatures. Apart from using them at regular conditions, you can also use them in extremely cold outdoors.
The biggest drawback with the lead-acid batteries is their relatively lower energy density. As compared to another type of rechargeable batteries, this one comes with the lowest energy storage capacity. It eventually forces the manufacturer to come up with a larger design which ultimately restricts the portability of this unit. Furthermore, you always have to store these batteries in the charged state or else, sulfation might form in the interior of this product.
When the lithium-ion batteries were originally developed, they used pure lithium metal. However, it was an unstable material which caused all kinds of safety issues. As a result, today’s lithium-ion batteries are making use of the safer lithium ions.
Incorporating high specific energy, this type of rechargeable batteries includes a more compact design as compared to any other product in this list. It is also quite lighter in weight, so apart from using the lithium-ion batteries in the floodlights, you can also use them in portable solar lights.
Another thing which is quite impressive about this product is that it is virtually maintenance-free. It won’t lose its storage capacity with the intensity of usage which makes it an ideal component of the solar lights. It also features a longer life expectancy, so after making this purchase, you don’t have to purchase another rechargeable battery shortly.
However, you have to pay big bucks in order to get all your hands on a lithium-ion battery, especially if you’re making this purchase for high-intensity floodlights. You can purchase the lead-acid battery at a much lesser price as compared to that of a lithium-ion battery.
Do Solar Lights Need Special Batteries: The Conclusion
When it comes to the rechargeable batteries of solar lights, they should always be replaced after every one to two years. It will help these lights to stay efficient, and they will keep on providing you with the maximum level of illumination. So depending on the type of solar lights which you’ve purchased, it is recommended to invest in the best and special type of rechargeable batteries.