Solar devices are used to provide alternative power to run various electric and electronic devices such as smart phones, laptops and other household appliances.
It always has a marked power capacity that shows how much power it can produce and the appliances that it can provide alternative energy to run these devices.
These devices ranges from running small hand held devices, such as solar lights to the huge capacity types that can power a whole house with lots of appliances being powered with it.
These alternative energy devices do not generate power themselves instead they simply store up charges into their inbuilt batteries when they are charged from an AC power source or a solar source from a solar panel.
Though some solar lights do not need batteries, I will briefly talk about batteries, their types, the batteries required for solar lights and the difference between NICD and NIMH type of Batteries.
What are Batteries?
Batteries are devices containing chemical substances and that can be used to generate electric current. Batteries can also be called Cells.
Electrons flow from the two terminals of a battery to produce electricity. This means that chemical energy in the battery has been converted to electric energy. Batteries may be rechargeable or non-rechargeable.
In solar generators however, rechargeable batteries are needed to store energy till the time for use. Charging a rechargeable battery involves connecting it to an AC power source or a solar power from a solar panel. Rechargeable batteries have life span when they are weak and mostly unusable.
Types of Batteries
There are many different types of batteries. I will only talk about the main classes of differences which include the Primary battery and the secondary battery.
The primary batteries are not rechargeable while the secondary batteries are built to be rechargeable.
The Leclanche battery, Alkaline battery, Dry battery are examples of Primary batteries that are non-rechargeable.
The Deep cycle battery, Lead-Acid battery and Flow batteries are examples of rechargeable batteries.
For solar power set up, some particular and specific rechargeable batteries are best used.
Types of batteries required for solar lights
For people who want to prevent further damage to our environment by going green even when they choose to have back-up power for emergency use, the thought of solar electricity/light comes to mind.
It is very pertinent to know that solar lights rely on solar energy from the sun but the sun won’t shine every day or all day. Batteries must be charged to store up electricity in form of electric charges which can later be used.
Not all rechargeable batteries can be suitable for solar lights but some has been found to do well. Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd) batteries are used for solar lights but NiMH batteries are also very useful. Both have differences ranging from being harmful when disposed to their life span.
Difference between NiCd and NiMH batteries
NiMH is a new battery and possesses some interesting attributes than the NiCD battery. The NiMH has higher energy density than the NiCd battery and so, has twice the capacity of NiCd battery.
This means there is no increased run-time from the battery with no additional weight. NiMH batteries are environment friendly than NiCd batteries since they do not contain heavy metals. This means that when disposed, NiMH battery is not harmful to the environment while the NiCd battery can terribly harm the environment if disposed.
Note that not all devices can accept both NiCad and NiMH batteries. So make sure which battery type your device is using before you buy either.