How to Charge a Solar Battery with Electricity? (Simple Guide!)

There are a few ways how you can charge a solar battery with electricity.

  • The most common way is to use a solar panel to convert sunlight into electrical energy, which can then be stored in the battery.
  • You can also charge the battery using an external power source, such as a generators or mains electricity.

Whichever method you choose, it is important to make sure that the solar battery is properly protected from overcharging, as this can damage the cells and reduce its overall lifespan.

Do you have a solar battery? If not, you should consider getting one! Solar batteries are a great way to store energy from the sun so that you can use it later. In this blog post, we will discuss how to charge a solar battery with electricity.

How to Charge a Solar Battery with Electricity

When you purchase a solar panel, one of the other considerations is solar batteries. Once you have a solar array hooked up to your rechargeable batteries, you can use solar power even when the sun is not shining.

Sometimes there may not be enough power from the solar panels to charge the batteries. In such an instance, you might wonder whether it is possible to use your solar batteries to store power.

The short answer is yes. Solar batteries can be charged using grid electricity. It is not the preferred option but it can still work for emergencies.

How Charging the Battery Bank Using Regular Power Works

To charge the battery bank using a solar panel, you must remember that grid power is supplied as AC. To use it to charge the batteries, it has to be converted into DC power.

This conversion process is not 100% efficient, which is why storing grid power in the battery bank should be reserved for emergencies.

As a rule, if you have a large battery bank, you should charge it with solar power. This is because a solar system supplies you with free energy while charging batteries using the grid is inefficient and will lead to a higher electricity bill.

Besides that, grid power may be coming from non-renewable sources, which defeats the whole purpose of installing a solar system.

How to Charge Batteries with Grid Power Supply

Most modern systems come with a dual-charge feature. This allows you to charge batteries using solar power as well as grid power. No matter which mode you use to charge the batteries, it is important that you ensure the power going to the batteries is safe.

That means you need to use the right battery chargers. If you are unsure of what equipment to use, you can always contact the battery manufacturer, who will provide you with the right information on how to do it.  

Why It Might Be Necessary to Charge Your Batteries with Grid Power

There are several reasons why you might want to charge your battery using grid power. The first is to avoid losing battery capacity.

For instance, if your battery bank comprises lead acid batteries, it is not safe to keep them discharged for long periods. A lead acid battery will quickly deteriorate once it is kept below a certain charge for an extended period.

If the area experiences long months of winter, and there is not enough sunlight to charge the batteries, it will become necessary to keep the batteries powered to avoid losing efficiency.

A transmission tower.
Grid power can also be used to top up your battery bank. This is especially useful if your solar panels are not able to provide enough power to fully charge the batteries.

Another reason why you might consider having the battery simultaneously charging from the grid and solar system is the grid reliability. If your local grid is notoriously unreliable, it might become necessary for you to store power using your batteries for when the grid goes down.

Another reason why you will want to charge your batteries using grid power is that they may be fully depleted when you buy them. In such a case, it makes sense to charge up for the first time using grid power, and then hook them up to solar panels for subsequent charging.

When to Charge Your Batteries Using Grid Power

If you plan to use an AC supply to charge your batteries, you must keep costs as low as possible since grid power is many times more expensive than using solar panels. One way to achieve this is to charge the batteries at night when the grid power costs less.

However, keep in mind that even then, it will still cost many times more than simply using solar systems to charge the battery. Charging solar batteries is most appropriate when you only have to charge small batteries.

For example, you can use AC power to charge the solar light batteries if the light has this feature. This ensures that if your light did not charge correctly during the day, you can still use them at night to light up your home.

When charging your solar light batteries for the first time, we have a great guide that will help you do it correctly.

There Are a Few Things to Be Aware of When You Solar Charge Batteries

To charge lead acid batteries, you need to apply DC volts to the terminals of the battery. For slow charge, you need to apply 2.3 volts per cell and 2.45 volts per cell for fast charging.

If you are charging a battery, you need to be aware of overcharging. When too much charge voltage is sent to the terminals, it could cause decomposition of the water into electrolytes, which leads to premature aging.

It is the reason why you need a charge controller as part of the battery charger package. A charge controller detects when the battery is full and switches to trickle charge mode. It helps to ensure that batteries do not suffer any long-term damage when being charged.

Cartoon image of a large sun shining on 3 solar panels.
The solar charge controller will protect your batteries from being overcharged by power being generated by the solar panels.

We have a guide in another post If your solar charge controller is not charging your battery. Read it for a few simple tips.

Besides overcharging, there is the risk of undercharging. If the charge voltage used is too low, the current flow will stop before the battery is fully charged. As a result, some lead sulfate remains on the electrodes, which eventually affects the battery’s capacity.

Batteries that are left in the discharge state or kept in store for too long will eventually start to accept less current than normal. This happens due to something called sulfation, which is where the charger is left connected to the battery for too long.

In some cases, the battery may have been in discharge mode for too long, which makes it necessary to replace the battery.

Temperature Considerations When Charging Batteries

An important consideration when charging lead acid batteries is the temperature. At low temperatures, the charge efficiency is reduced.

When temperatures rise about 45 degrees Celsius, the charge efficiency rises so rapidly that there is the risk of thermal runaways if there is no temperature compensation.

When picking a solar battery charger, it is always important to think about the temperature variation. Luckily, there are many options out there today.

Whether you need to charge small batteries for your solar lights or you need to charge a huge solar battery bank using AC power, you can always find a solar charger option that suits you best.

FAQ

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it! That’s how to charge a solar battery with electricity. By following the simple guide above, you can keep your solar batteries charged and ready to go when you need them most.

Have you tried charging your solar battery with electricity? Or are you still deciding if solar batteries are worth it?

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