Five applications of Renogy solar systems

Renogy solar systemsRenogy is a well-known brand focused on designing solar panels, solar kits, charge controllers, inverters, deep cycle batteries, battery chargers, accessories, and wiring. Solar panels or solar kits from Renogy as well as its components develop Renogy solar systems.
Renogy solar systems have a wider range of applications including cabin, boating, RV solar as well as solar for other outdoor activities such as camping and fishing. On the other hand, Renogy solar systems have broader applications for commercial solutions such as in agriculture, logistics, and information technology.

1. Solar home systems

    Renogy solar systems are used as power back systems during power outages. They can also be used for cottages or small remote areas and semi-permanent installations that need power on an occasional basis. Renogy solar systems are also used to support sustainable living using solar energy. Examples of Renogy solar systems for powering homes include: Package 1: Tiny House, (1200 Watts), Package 2: Cottage (2500 Watts) & Package 3: Villa (4800 Watts).

    2. Agriculture:

      Renogy solar systems are used for irrigation purposes to power solar water pumps especially for remote areas not connected to the grid. Renogy solar systems power generators, lighting, water pumps etc. thus powering agriculture with sustainable energy. Learn more about Renogy solar systems for agriculture.

      3. Logistics and solar for RV vehicles

        solar panelsRenogy solar systems are used in freight trucks providing off-grid power to power liftgates, HVAC systems, entertainment etc. For instance the Renogy 400W Monocrystalline Solar RV Kit with 30A Charger Controller is designed for off-grid solar panel system, Caravan, RV, boat, Green house Solar panel system.

        4. Street lighting and Information Technology (IT)

          Renogy solar systems are used to power street lighting and security cameras. In IT, Renogy solar systems are used to power data centers helping businesses to run greener and smarter at the same time. Renogy solar systems power the Internet of Things (IoT) networks helping businesses to stay connected with real-time analytics. Learn more about Renogy solar systems for street lighting and information technology(IT).

          5. Outdoor activities

            Renogy solar systems have portable solar solutions for powering your outdoor activities, including camping, fishing, boating helping to support sustainable living. For instance, the Renogy Phoenix 246.24Wh/150W Portable Generator is an all-in-one portable solar power system specifically designed for mobile, off-grid applications, and is ideal for emergencies.

            Four (4) types of Renogy solar kits

            Renogy is an American solar brand that was started as a small project by students at Louisiana State University. Today, Renogy is a well-known international company that has specialized in the solar photovoltaics technology with applications ranging from solar PV for recreational vehicles, boating, camping as well as solar applications for isolated areas and remote homes. In particular, Renogy is well-known for its four (4) types of Renogy solar kits, including starter kits, premium kits, RV van solar kits and bundle solar kits.Renogy solar kits

            1) Starter Renogy solar kits

              Renogy starter kits are designed for solar customers that are new to solar. These Renogy starter solar kits are great for mainly off-grid solar PV applications, including but not limited to RVs, trailers, boats, sheds, and cabins. Specifically, the main purpose of Renogy starter kits are used to recharge and monitor a 12-volt battery bank and the Starter Kits come with basic, easy to install components which are available in 50W-400W. You can check out these PV systems on Amazon.

              • 50 Watt 12V Monocrystalline Starter Kit.
              • 100 Watt 12 Volt Solar Expansion Kit.
              • 100W 12V Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit w/Wanderer 10A Charge Controller. See it at Amazon.
              • 100 Watt 12 Volt Solar Starter Kit.
              • 200 Watt 12 Volt Solar Starter Kit.
              • 400 Watt 12 Volt Solar Starter Kit

              2)Premium Renogy solar kits

                Premium Renogy solar kits offer higher solar efficiency, safety and reliability. Unlike Starter Kits, Premium Kits include additional features such as higher efficiency panels, a Bluetooth module and a MPPT charge controller which increases charging efficiency and performance. These solar kits have a wider application in farms, remote areas away from the grid, boats etc. Renogy Premium solar kits have wattage of between 100W to 800W. You can check out these PV systems on Amazon.

                • 100 Watt 12 Volt Solar Premium Kit.
                • 200 Watt 12 Volt Solar Premium Kit
                • 300 Watt 12 Volt Solar Premium Kit
                • 400 Watt 12 Volt Solar Premium Kit
                • 600 Watt 24 Volt Solar Premium Kit
                • 600W 12V Monocrystalline Solar Premium Kit w/Rover 60A Charger Controller
                • New 800 Watt 24 Volt Solar Premium Kit
                • 800W 12V Monocrystalline Solar Premium Kit w/Rover 60A Charger Controller

                3) RV van Renogy solar kits
                RV van Renogy solar kits are designed for off-grid solar panel system, Caravan, any recreational vehicle (RV), boat, motorhome or a mobile application. Because, these are mobile solar applications they are equipped with additional components such as flush mount charge controller and a cable entry housing unit. Solar kit wattage range between 100W to 320W. You can check these PV systems on Amazon.

                • 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Foldable Solar Suitcase w/o Controller
                • 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Foldable Solar Suitcase with Voyager
                • 100 Watt Eclipse Solar Suitcase w/o Controller
                • 100 Watt 12 Volt Solar RV Kit
                • 100 Watt Eclipse Monocrystalline Solar Suitcase
                • 200 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Foldable Solar Suitcase
                • 200 Watt 12 Volt Solar RV Kit
                • 200 Watt Eclipse Monocrystalline Solar Suitcase w/o Controller
                • 200 Watt Eclipse Monocrystalline Solar Suitcase
                • 300 Watt 12 Volt Solar RV Kit
                • 400 Watt 12 Volt Solar RV Kit

                4) Bundle Renogy solar kits

                  Bundle Renogy solar kits are designed for off-grid solar systems and have 100 watts or 200 watts or 300 watts monocrystalline solar panels. They also come with solar components needed to expand on a system already existing system or just solar components needed to complete the system already in place. Bundle Renogy solar kits include the following as shown on Amazon.

                  • Renogy 12V 100W Monocrystalline Bundle Kit solar panel, Black
                  • Renogy 12V Monocrystalline Bundle 100W Solar Panel,30A Charge Controller 9in Adaptor Kit,A Pair of Branch Connectors, w PWM
                  • Renogy 200W 12V Monocrystalline Bundle 100W Solar Panel,30A Charge Controller 9in Adaptor Kit,A Pair of Branch Connectors
                  • Renogy Panel Monocrystalline Solar Bundle Kit, 300 Watt

                  Steps to going solar

                  going solar
                  An online solar panel calculator is one of the most common tools nowadays for consumers looking to go solar. Online solar tools have become mainstream in countries like the USA, Australia, UK, etc. enabling many online users to make online decisions to go solar. For instance, EnergySage has one of the most popular online solar calculators in the States, and millions of people use this platform each year to research and shop for solar through their network of pre-screened, local installers.

                  However, not all consumers have access to online tools to help them make online solar decisions because such tools require a lot of investment to create them. For instance, most of these tools have been developed or informed from solar mapping research conducted using Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology. These tools can determine the specific solar potential for rooftop solar for both residential and commercial places. The cost for LIDAR remains high and it will perhaps take time before it can be reduced.

                  Many solar consumers in countries without site-specific solar data can still determine their solar potential manually by performing a few calculations although it can be time-consuming and tedious. As such, this blog attempts to capture the process or steps for how to determine whether solar is right for your house or business, manually without the use of online solar tools which we promote here.

                  1. Determine the electrical load for your household or business
                  A very straight forward way to determine the electrical load for your household or business is from your monthly utility bills. You can pick out the number of kilowatt-hours of electricity consumed in your household on a yearly basis and then get the average by dividing by 12 to get the monthly electricity consumption and then divide that figure by 30 to get the daily kWh usage.

                  To be more specific, you can list all your heavy electrical appliances such as your refrigerator, washing machine, etc. Determine their wattage and how many hours are used by them to determine the number of watt-hours.

                  Once you complete this step, this will give you a general estimate of your energy consumption. At this point, you can decide whether you need to do something with regards to lowering your energy consumption by implementing energy efficiency measures. For instance, one of the low hanging fruits can be changing all your incandescent bulbs to LEDs. LED bulbs use more than 75% less energy than incandescent lighting which means you can save a huge significant of energy by just switching to LEDs if you are currently using incandescent bulbs.

                  2. Solar Insolation
                  Solar insolation is the incident solar radiation onto some object or specifically the measure of the solar energy that is incident on a specified area over a set period. Solar insolation
                  can be expressed in two ways, that is:

                  • Kilowatt-hours per square meter (kWh/m2) per day which represents the average amount of energy hitting an area each day.
                  • Watts per square meter (W/m2) which represents the average amount of power hitting an area over an entire year.

                  The importance of knowing the values of solar insolation at certain positions on the Earth is to help determine the size and output of your Solar PV system. As such, based on the solar insolation of your location, these values will help to determine the expected output for your solar panels and determine whether your specific location will be good for solar power. There are other factors such as obstructions to your rooftop like trees or building design that will affect solar insolation for your PV system.

                  There are various ways to determine solar insolation for your building ranging from weather databases in your area. As early mentioned on this blog, today there are various tools that use the LIDAR technology that has simplified this process. However, these tools are country-specific, but some tools like Google Project Sunroof are aiming to have global coverage to have online users just plug their address into the tool to determine solar potential. Google Project Sunroof in addition to providing with your solar insolation calculates how much money a user can expect to save yearly by making use of solar power

                  Until, we have a resource that can provide online users with specific rooftop solar insolation like the Google Project Sunroof, online users without this specific information can use for instance the Global Solar Atlas
                  which was developed by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to support the scale-up of solar power around the world. The primary aim of this Global solar Atlas is to provide quick and easy access to solar resource and photovoltaic power potential data globally, at a click of a mouse.

                  The methodology for the Global Solar Atlas is location-specific that involves three main different models i.e. solar radiation model, air temperature model, and PV power simulation model. Solar radiation and air temperature modeling result in a series of pre-calculated data layers that can be retrieved at (almost) any location on the map. Additional information about a possible PV system type and configuration are used for the PV power simulation, which is calculated on-demand using Solargis internal algorithms and databases. For more information, see the details of the methodology of the Global Solar Atlas.

                  However, like every online tool, the Global Solar Atlas can only provide solar estimates and the figures you get are preliminary to provide you with an estimation about your solar potential. It is always advisable to obtain the final word of a licensed and experienced solar installer to make an actual assessment for your solar PV system. Online materials suggested on this platform only provide estimates. For instance, the objective of the Global Solar Atlas is to provide reliable introductory-level data to help policymakers, researchers, and commercial solar companies take better decisions. For project-specific analysis of large -power plants, the data available via the Global Solar Atlas is suitable only for preliminary analysis.

                  The Global Solar Atlas provides an opportunity to do site prospection and pre-evaluation of the potential of solar energy in different countries and areas. For instance, in our context, you can check the solar energy potential for a specific site for instance for your home or business. In this case, you can determine how much electricity will be generated and in what time. Also, analysis of the averaged solar radiation components for specific locations helps with planning and pre-evaluation of opportunities for solar energy projects.

                  3. Determine capacity of solar panels or how many solar panels you need
                  Once you have determined the solar insolation which is sometimes referred to as “peak sun hours” measured in kWh/m2 per day, it is easy to estimate the capacity of solar panels or how many solar panels are needed. The term “peak sun hours” refers to the solar insolation which a particular location would receive if the sun were shining at its maximum value for a certain number of hours. Each peak sun hour is defined as one hour when the intensity of sunlight (solar irradiance) reaches an average of 1,000 watts of energy per square meter (roughly 10.5 feet). Since the peak solar radiation is 1 kW/m2, the number of peak sun hours is numerically identical to the average daily solar insolation. For example, a location that receives 8 kWh/m2 per day can be said to have received 8 hours of sun per day at 1 kW/m2. Being able to calculate the peak sun hours is useful because PV modules are often rated at an input rating of 1kW/m2.

                  Also, there are various solar panels out there of different sizes ranging from 500-watt solar panels, 300-watt solar panels, 250-watt solar panels to 1watt solar panels, and so on. However, it is good to know what size of solar panels to pick depending on the size of your rooftop or anywhere that you want to place them to harvest solar energy.

                  Once you have estimated your average kWh used monthly in step one (1) above, it is easy to estimate the capacity of solar panels needed in your building. Let us say that you use an average of 1000kWh per month, to get the daily kWh usage divide 1000kWh by 30 to get about 34 kWh daily usage. Assuming you want to off-set the 34 kWh daily electricity usage with solar panels at 100%, using a 250-watt solar panel and your site location is getting 4 hours of sunlight per day that means 250W multiplied by 4 hours which is 1000 watt-hours per day or 1kWh a day.

                  Since you are consuming 34kWh daily, then you need 34 solar panels each with a 250-watt power rating. This is just a rough estimate and a lot of other factors such as cloud cover, system design, etc. will affect the sizing of your system. However, to help you make the decision to contact a solar installer in your local area, doing a preliminary feasibility study will help you to make a good decision on whether to pursue solar for your home or business. Other factors such as solar panel efficiency and whether your solar panels come with warranties are important while conducting your research.

                  Remember, the above example assumes you are going solar 100% however, considering you have a net-metering arrangement in your area, you can decide to off-set your current usage at 75%, 50%, 30%, and so on. For instance, if you decide to off-set your current electricity usage at 50%, this means 34kwh/day multiplied by 0.50 which is equal to 17kWh/day which means you will only need 17 solar panels each with a 250-watt power rating.  

                  Depending on the amount of electricity usage you want to offset using solar panels, you will probably need to invest in some additional equipment often referred to as balance-of-system
                  to condition the electricity, safely transmit the electricity to the load that will use it, and or store the electricity for future use. For off-grid systems or those not connected to the grid, you will need batteries and a charge controller to store excess power produced during the day and use it at night when there is no sunshine. Grid-connected PV systems you will need power conditioning equipment such as solar inverters to convert your DC generated power to AC to comply with your power provider’s grid connection requirements.

                  This article just provides the initial steps that can help you figure out how to go solar. To get specific information about solar panels and balance of system, please contact a solar installer in the local area. If you are in the USA, this solar resource can help you locate a solar panel cost calculator and obtain multiple solar quotes from your local area. Learn more here.

                  Lithium-ion batteries for your solar PV system

                  Lithium-ion batteries are now widely used in very many applications and hence are becoming an everyday part of our lives. These applications include but not limited to laptops, electric vehicles to stationary and building-sized applications. This rapid change has been enabled by the reducing price of lithium-ion batteries which has dropped more than 70% between 2010 and 2016. 

                  Battery electricity storage (BES) using lithium-ion batteries seem to have a similar story of price reduction just like solar photovoltaics (PV) which dropped in price with over 60% in the last decade. As a result, solar + storage is now a common product sold to businesses and homes by solar companies such as Tesla that are able to provide the Tesla power wall and solar panels. Other quality solar battery power systems offering reasonable prices are the Enphase AC Battery and SonnenBatterie Eco.

                  The lithium-ion batteries are the new generation of battery energy storage advancing from the traditional lead-acid based deep cycle battery technology. Lead-acid batteries are widely used in many sectors because they cost less upfront, but they have a shorter lifespan and require regular maintenance to keep them running properly unlike lithium-ion batteries which are more expensive up front, but maintenance-free and have a longer lifespan. According to EnergySage, a lead-acid battery system cost a few hundred or thousands less than a similarly sized lithium-ion setup. Lithium-ion batteries for solar power systems can cost anywhere from $5000 to $15000 including installation and this is dependent on the size of the PV system.

                  Based on chemistry there are various types of lithium-ion for battery electricity storage that are produced by different battery manufacturers such as Discover, SimpliPhi, etc. The term “lithium-ion” refers not to a single electrochemical couple but to a wide array of different chemistries, all of which are characterized by the transfer of lithium ions between the electrodes during the charge and discharge reactions. Li-ion cells do not contain metallic lithium; rather, the ions are inserted into the structure of other materials, such as lithiated metal oxides or phosphates in the positive electrode (cathode) and carbon (typically graphite) or lithium titanate in the negative (anode). Lithium-ion chemistry combinations include Lithium Ferro Phosphate (LFP); nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC);lithium manganese oxide (LMO ), nickel cobalt aluminum oxide (NCA) and lithium titanate (LTO). Generally, the various material combinations or chemistry of lithium-ion batteries yield unique performance cost and safety characteristics.

                  The different chemistries allow for battery energy storage optimization to meet various performance and operational objectives (IRENA, 2017). As such, different electrode or electrolyte selections may be used to design for different applications where reduced costs or high power or high density is required. For instance, lithium titanate (LTO) batteries have very good thermal stability, long cycle life-time, high rate discharge capability and has no solid electrolyte interphase issues (IRENA, 2017). However, LTO batteries will be cost-prohibitive because of the high cost of titanium and will have reduced cell voltage and low energy density compared to lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide which can be tailored for high power or high energy stable thermal profile and can operate at high voltage.

                  EnergySage Buyer’s Guide for Solar Batteries

                  EnergySage has prepared a comprehensive solar batteries guide where consumers can browse hundreds of solar batteries from top manufacturers around the world. Solar batteries can provide numerous benefits, especially for property owners in areas that experience demand or time-of-use charges or where net-metering policies are limited in terms of compensation from the grid. Essentially, electricity demand tracks the total amount of energy that is being consumed at a given time. The more devices using electricity at the same time, the higher the customer’s demand charge.

                  As such, solar batteries can reduce demand charges and provide resiliency, while adding value to solar installations at the same time. When you install a solar battery alongside a solar panel system, you can store extra solar electricity produced by your panels for later use after the sun goes down. Learn more about other aspects of going solar such as obtaining solar quotes and using the EnergySage buyer’s guide for solar panels, solar batteries, and solar inverters. See this solar resource for more details.


                  Reference:

                  IRENA (2017), Electricity Storage and Renewables: Costs and Markets to 2030, International Renewable Energy Agency.

                  Solar batteries for your-solar PV system

                  Why solar batteries?

                  solar batteryA battery is a device that stores chemical energy and converts it to electricity through the electrochemistry process. A battery can be made up of one or several electrochemical cells. Each electrochemical cell consists of two electrodes separated by an electrolyte allowing the flow of electrons between the two electrodes and electricity is produced. Generally, batteries store energy for later use and can have many applications such as powering equipment or gadgets not connected to the grid. Also, solar batteries are used to store power from solar panels for later use perhaps at night when there is no sunshine or during cloudy days when less power is generated by solar panels.

                  What are solar panel batteries?

                  Solar batteries are devices that are built using the electrochemistry technology and contain electrochemical cells that are connected in series with 2 electrodes immersed in the electrolyte solution and a circuit formed between the electrode and the electrolyte to produce an electrical current. The electrochemical cells are the ones that convert chemical energy into electrical energy.  There are several types of solar batteries that are used in connections to store electricity that is tapped from the solar system. However, the most common solar batteries include the lead-acid batteries and lithium-ion batteries.

                  1. Lead-acid batteries generally used in motor vehicles and are low-cost compared to all other types. They are generally bulky but have a relatively large power due to their ability to supply high surge currents considering their volume and relative weight.
                  2. Lithium-ion batteries are known for their best energy density and a very slow loss of charge when not in use and commonly used for portable electronics such as cellphones and electric vehicles. A popular example is Tesla Powerwall.

                  solar batteryWhen are solar panel batteries needed?

                  Solar batteries are useful to store excess electricity for your solar photovoltaic system in cases where:

                  1. You want to supplement power from the grid with your solar power to reduce electricity costs.
                  2. You are completely not connected to the grid and you use solar panel batteries’ to store electricity for later use.
                  1. Supplementing your grid-connected solar power system with batteries:

                  Through net-metering, a solar power system can be connected to the grid to help feed excess electricity to the grid or draw it to supplement your energy demand. Feeding excess electricity to the grid through net-metering comes with incentives such as reduced utility bills. However, in areas where net metering policies either don’t exist or are limited, adopting solar batteries can help to store excess electricity and use it when it is much economical to do so.

                  electric gridAlso, depending on the type of electricity rate structure including time-of-use (TOU) rates as well as demand charges, solar batteries can be used to store electricity to reduce these utility charges. As such, solar batteries will be useful to help to reduce your electricity bill when you understand your TOU and demand charges. TOU rates approach allows utility companies to charge different rates for electricity, where the cost of energy varies based on the time of day it is consumed.

                  On the other hand, the demand charge is set based upon your maximum hourly power requirement and hence the best way to decrease your electric bill when energy demand is factored in is to decrease your electric bill all at once. As such, utilizing solar batteries will help to lower your overall energy demand thus reducing your energy demand charges as well as high TOU rates. For instance, you can use electricity stored in the solar batteries during high TOU rates and consequently reduce your utility bill.

                  2. Areas not connected to the grid.

                  Areas not connected to the grid can benefit a lot from solar power. However, since there is no sunshine at night, you will need solar batteries to store excess electricity produced during the day for later use at night when it is extremely needed for lighting and other uses. About 1.1 billion people around the world still lack electricity and solar-powered mini-grids are well-suited in remote areas as it is much affordable and faster to electrify these areas using renewables than extending the main grid. As such, solar batteries will be needed to help store excess power produced by solar panels during the day and use it at night when it is needed.

                  How much do solar batteries cost

                  Just like solar panels, upfront costs of solar batteries depend on the make and model and there are various types and models of solar batteries in the market today. According to EnergySage, solar batteries’ cost before installation range between $5,000 to $7,000 or from $400 dollars per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to $750/kWh. This cost does not include the cost of the installation which is done by a licensed electrician. For instance, the 13.5-kilowatt-hour (kWh) Tesla Powerwall 2.0 is priced at $6,700 but has a built-in inverter while the LG’s 9.3kWh Chem RESU battery does not have a built-in inverter and cost about $6,000 to $7,000. However, as mentioned before will vary based on how many solar batteries are needed, the make, and the model of the solar battery. At EnergySage, you can get solar battery quotes from different vendors and compare their different prices.

                  The EnergySage Solar Batteries Buyer’s Guidesolar batteries

                  The EnergySage has developed a comprehensive classification system where users can browse and compare several solar batteries’ to evaluate their quality ratings based on their most important aspects such as cost, capacity, power, round-trip efficiency, degradation rate, and warranty.

                  This classification system captures various battery technical specifications such as performance, durability, warranty, and overall quality, and using this system, the EnergySage has grouped different solar batteries into five different classifications i.e. Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good and Excellent. EnergySage solar batteries buyer’s guide has captured several solar batteries from different top manufacturers and you can get price quotes here.

                  The EnergySage platform is a good starting point to assist you with your solar buying decision, however, it will take a licensed solar installer to make a good assessment of your household or business. In particular, a solar installer will assess your power project requirements, your energy requirements to help you decide on your solar panel and battery requirements.

                  Get started with a solar panel cost calculator from the EnergySage to estimate your solar panel requirements and get more advice about your battery requirements based on your energy profile or consumption.

                  How and where to dispose of batteries in a sustainable way?

                  where to dispose batteriesThe battery technology just like solar PV technology continues to advance and today there are various types of batteries being used to help power equipment or store energy for electricity. As the solar PV sector continues to grow whether with on-grid or off-grid solar applications; the battery technology will help to accelerate the increased adoption of solar PV in domestic, commercial and utility sectors and other renewable energy technologies that are intermittent in nature like the wind energy.
                  Similarly, with the rapid development of electric cars in various countries, it means that we will see the demand for battery technology continue to grow exponentially. Solar PV and electric vehicles(EV) will definitely demand increased usage of the battery technology among other sectors that require batteries such as agricultural, commercial or even the household sector where batteries are used for TV remotes, flashlights, children’s toys and small electronics like cellphones.

                  However, even with these technological developments; how and where to dispose of batteries after their useful life is completed is one aspect of sustainability that will need to be tackled from a system thinking perspective. At the development stage of these batteries, it calls for implementing sustainable design to make it easy to recycle most of the components of the battery technology in question. For instance, researchers at the IBM research unveiled recently a new battery technology that will eliminate the need for heavy metals in battery production hence improving sustainable design.

                  As such, before looking into proper ways of disposing batteries, it is good to know what batteries are, the different types of batteries, and what they are made up of, making them something that requires proper disposal. Well, batteries are a collection of one or a group of cells that undergo various chemical reactions to create a continuous flow of electrons in a circuit.

                  Battery cells are generally classified into three components that is the anode, also known as the negative electrode, cathode, also known as the positive electrode, and finally, the electrolytes. For sustainability, the battery chemical composition will matter as it will guide how a battery will be disposed of after its useful life. For instance, in the USA, when it comes to lead-acid batteries, 99% of these batteries are collected and recycled.

                  However, according to the World Economic Forum, recycling lithium-ion batteries is a bit challenging due to the diversity of cell types and the broad range of materials such as an alloy of cobalt, nickel, and copper that may require manual sorting and handling or even smelting (pyrometallurgy) to recover individual metals or battery raw materials such as cobalt carbonate.

                  Types of batteries

                  There are many types of batteries classified according to their chemical composition, formation factor, size, and the purpose they serve. They include:

                  1. Primary batteries: These are a kind of batteries that cannot be recharged once fully used. These batteries are made up of electrochemical cells that their electrochemical reactions can also not be reversed. This kind of battery is usually used in devices that require no charging. Primary batteries are made up in a way that they provide high specific energy, and whenever used, the devices consume little power to ensure the battery has a long life span. The most common kind of primary batteries is alkaline batteries. They have higher specific energy levels, are environmentally friendly, and are cheaper to purchase.
                  2. Secondary batteries are the direct opposite of primary batteries. Secondary batteries can be recharged, and their electrochemical cells and electrochemical reactions can be reversed when all the energy has been fully used up. The secondary batteries are commonly known as the rechargeable batteries. Secondary batteries can be classified into different groups depending on their chemistry or chemical composition.
                    1. Lithium-ion: they are also known as Li-ion batteries. They are used in smart devices such as mobile phones and other battery home appliances. It has Lithium electrodes on it.
                    2. Nickel Cadmium: Also known as Ni-Cd batteries. They are made up of nickel oxide hydroxide chemical and the metallic cadmium as the electrodes.
                    3. Nickel-Metal hydride. This kind of batteries has the same chemical reaction to Ni-Cd batteries, which is nickel oxide hydroxide. Although, a negative electrode uses hydrogen-absorbing alloy, but not cadmium like the Ni-Cd batteries.solar battery
                    4. Lead-acid batteries: Lead-acid batteries are cheaper efficient power batteries that are used in heavy-duty applications. They are usually used in instances where they are non-portable because of their weight. Lead-acid batteries are used in an application that includes vehicle batteries for ignition and lighting and also as solar-panel energy stores. Lead-acid batteries are made up of acid that is used to ensure proper current flow in the circuit. Lead-acid batteries are the oldest form of secondary batteries and are relatively cheap compared to the other secondary batteries.

                  where to dispose batteries

                  Where to dispose of batteries

                  Batteries are disposed of depending on the type which determines their chemical composition.

                  a) Household batteries: Household batteries can be classified into two groups, either rechargeable or non-rechargeable batteries. Disposing of the household batteries is not as complicated as disposing of the vehicle and industrial batteries.

                  According to battery solutions, alkaline batteries (AAA, AA, C, D, 9V, etc.) can be recycled using a specialized “room temperature,” mechanical separation process to recycle alkaline batteries.

                  The alkaline battery components are separated into three end products, that is, a zinc and manganese concentrate, steel, and paper, plastic and brass fractions. All of these products are put back into the market place for reuse in new products to offset the cost of the recycling process.

                  However, when it comes to rechargeable batteries, for example, lithium batteries are recyclable. They can, therefore, be disposed of at the battery recycling centers, electronic retailers who recycle batteries, or a waste collection site for hazardous materials. Therefore, ensuring you dispose of batteries properly.

                  b) Industrial batteries.

                  Industrial batteries can also be referred to as forklift or traction batteries. Industrial batteries can normally be drained to about 20% of the maximum charging capacity before a recharge.

                  Industrial batteries are manufactured with lead plates making them not disposable in the trash. Lead is considered to be a hazardous waste that is highly toxic to the environment. So when it comes to the industrial batteries, an estimated 60 to 80 percent of the used battery is normally reclaimed. More than 95 percent of the industrial lead-acid batteries are recycled.

                  The outer plastic shell is recycled to make some new plastic items, whereas the metal plates undergo purification to manufacture new batteries. In most states, there is a law that accepts the return of the industrial batteries to the retailer for disposal purposes. In case one cannot trace the retailer, they can contact the government officials for the information on the directions to follow to ensure proper disposal of the industrial batteries, industrial batteries maybe containing sulphuric acid that is harmful.

                  Safety precaution is normally advised when transporting the batteries for disposal. One should also avoid exposing the batteries to open flames or incidental devices like the cigarette lighters just for precaution measures.

                  c) Vehicle batteries: Car batteries are made out of lead-acid which is hazardous. It is, therefore, essential to dispose of it carefully just to avoid harmful side effects that can be life-threatening to human beings. There are many ways to dispose of vehicle batteries.
                  where to dispose batteries

                  • Returning the battery to a retailer. When purchasing the battery, there is normally a core charge fee certain retailers usually add in the receipts. This charge means that the battery is essential to the retailer. It can either be recycled or be rebuilt. Meaning that you can return the battery to the retailers, and they refund back your money with the same amount you paid as a core charge fee.
                  • Taking the car battery to a recycling depot: You can check on the closest designated recycling depots near you on the internet and dispose of your car battery there for disposals.
                  • Taking the car battery to an auto parts store: You can make your take battery to an auto parts store as you go buy another one.
                  • Selling the car battery to scrap metal depot: One can decide to sell their batteries off to the scrap metal depot near them at a fee.
                  • Taking the car batteries to battery recycling centers where they can recycle them and make something good out of them.

                  Each state has its own recycling program while resources such as Earth911 have a comprehensive online platform for helping online users decide on how to dispose of old batteries. Earth911 provides a recycling locator for all types of batteries where you just enter your zip code and it pulls the details for your specific battery and how or where to recycle them.

                  Call2Recycle is another online resource that offers a network of over 34,000 local recycling centers and drop-off locations for rechargeable batteries such as local municipalities and local retailers like Best Buy.

                  Save 50% on the select product(s) with promo code 50UVHPUW on Amazon.com

                  Sustainability, Systems Thinking, Going Green & Going solar

                  switchtosolar llc

                  What are we about?
                  Switchingtosolarpv.com is your platform to help you figure out your best going solar options and other clean energy options available to you.

                  We are about helping you to find tools and information mainly about sustainability options, systems thinking, going green and going solar through our blog posts and data science analysis.

                  Solar Energy Options & Sustainability
                  We provide tools and information to help you decide about renewable energy options, including but not limited to:

                  Solar Panel Calculator

                  If you live in the United States, you can use a solar panel calculator today to determine if solar energy is good for your home or business through this Solar Calculator.

                  Please feel free to contact us with any questions or clarifications that you may have.

                  Thank you and best regards,

                  SwitchtoSolar Online MKT, LLC

                  Why off-grid photovoltaics (PV)systems?

                  How has solar PV technology advanced?

                  off grid solar

                  With the decreasing cost of photovoltaics (PV), going solar is becoming more cost-effective and adoption rates continue to increase for both on-grid and off-grid applications. The solar PV technology continues to advance to provide power solutions for both businesses and individuals. From a very massive utility-scale power plant providing over 2GW (2000 MW) of generating capacity to a 4 or 5-watt panel for charging your cellphone or mp3 player, it is proof that solar PV technology has advanced and has very many applications. Research and development (R&D) efforts for photovoltaics continue with the aim of determining the right combination of materials to enhance or increase solar panel efficiency to generate more electricity per unit area of the solar panel.

                  When it comes to off-grid solar, more solar applications are developed with the aim of powering rural areas. Rural electrification, especially in developing countries, has been made more cost-effective since grid extension is still very expensive in rural areas. Scattered households and lack of a critical mass of households to make grid extension more cost-effective are one of the major reasons why the private sector does not find incentive in developing many rural grid electrification projects without subsidies from the government.

                  Many rural electrification projects using grid extension has remained a project for governments and non-governmental organizations. However, because of the reducing solar panel cost, the private sector is increasingly getting involved in many rural electrification projects that use innovative business models such as pay-as-you-go (PAYGO)  and other off-grid solar projects to provide electricity to rural communities in developing countries.off-grid solar

                  Solar PV and rural electrification

                  With the right mix of technologies, off-grid solar PV systems can help to overcome the barrier to rural electrification without grid-extension. This can also take the form of off-grid solar PV combined with other sources of energy including, but not limited to wind power, bioenergy, geothermal, and small hydro resources. However, apart from solar energy, many of these other forms of renewable energy resources are site-specific and would work well where such resources are available and from a sustainable source.

                  Off-grid solar has numerous applications and solar is in abundance in most rural areas where it is needed because of its wider applications. A lot of food is grown in rural areas and off-grid solar would play a vital role in providing water from the wells through solar water pumping irrigation as well as other productive uses, especially in agriculture. Also, since many people have cellphones today, charging cellphones using solar power would be ideal, especially in areas not connected to the grid.

                  Off-grid solar also means portable solar solutions providing emergency power or standby power where there are many power outages. Some of these portable solar solutions include solar generators, solar battery chargers, and other portable solar gadgets. Solar lighting options for homes or street lighting are also applicable in rural areas.

                  Of all the above off-grid solar applications, solar water pumping for irrigation would provide many sustainability benefits in both short-term and long-term, creating jobs in the agricultural sector, especially in dry areas that can be transformed for growing food crops. On the other hand, off-grid solar would also provide a huge sustainability impact for homes through improving livelihoods with solar electrification.

                  Off-grid solar water pumping for irrigation:

                  For dry off-grid areas, solar photovoltaics can provide water for irrigation using solar water pumps and is more cost-effective compared to diesel-powered water pumps considering the long-term costs. The life-cycle cost of a solar water pump used for irrigation will be lower because once the solar water pump has been bought, there will be no lifetime fuel costs associated with the solar water pump.

                  solar irrigation

                  However, a diesel-powered solar water pump will continue to rely on diesel over its lifespan. The solar water pump to be used will depend on many factors including the size of the farm, power rating (voltage rating), flow rates, and so on. There are two major types of solar water pumps: surface and submersible solar water pumps. Learn more about solar water pumps in this article.

                  Off-grid solar for rural electrification:

                  Rural electrification comes in many ways including, but not limited to grid extension, microgrids powered with renewable energy, or powered with fossil fuels. Powering rural areas using solar is increasingly being applied in many developing countries because of the reducing cost of solar panels. As such, solar PV is used as a clean technology to mitigate climate change with the right combination of technologies and with the right financial instruments.

                  Looking into the future, the centralized grid power system in rural areas will not be common as many investments will be used to develop decentralized power systems because of economics and the need to mitigate climate change using decentralized renewable energy systems. Also, solar packaged systems, as well as innovative business models such as pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) models, will continue to penetrate in rural areas of developing countries helping to provide affordable power to rural communities while mitigating climate change.

                  Renewable energy micro-grids such as off-grid solar PV systems with battery storage will overcome the high costs of grid extension. Standalone off-grid solar systems will be more ideal for rural electrification in areas where grid extension is expensive, and households not concentrated in one area, but scattered over a large area where grid extension could be expensive. Learn more about solar packaged solutions and rural electrification.

                  Are hybrid-solar PV systems worth it?

                  solar photovoltaicswind power

                  Hybrid-solar PV refers to combining solar photovoltaics (PV) with renewable energy technologies such as bio energy, wind turbines, geothermal etc or with conventional power technologies like diesel powered generators. Because of the intermittent nature of solar PV, developing a hybrid-solar PV helps to stabilize the grid or to produce power continuously in off-grid rural areas. Also, hybrid-PV systems have been used in micro-grids in rural areas of developing countries to substitute for fossil fuels while helping to mitigate climate change.
                  In some cases, for example with renewable generation that is affected by temperature, hybridization with PV can be used with renewable resources that are affected by high temperatures. For instance, during the hot summer seasons, the solar generated peak for the solar PV augments the capacity for the geothermal generated base load power increasing the power yield for the geothermal solar PV hybrid system.

                  So why have a hybrid-solar PV system?

                  1. The peak operating times for wind and solar systems for example can occur at different times of the year and hence use of hybrid-PV systems is necessary to produce more power than needed which can be stored in energy storage (batteries) or sold to nearby neighbors in areas with net-metering schemes.
                  2. Most hybrid -PV systems operate in off-grid areas, that is, mostly in developing countries in places not connected to the grid. For instance, most hybrid-PV systems will be charging their storage batteries mostly during off-peak hours when a lot of power is not being consumed directly by the available electrical loads which are mostly switched off. For instance, if the hybrid is a solar PV wind power system, the power will be generated and stored in batteries during off-peak to be later used at peak hours, that is at night when there is less solar PV electricity generated by the solar panels.
                  3. Solar PV diesel hybrid system mainly used in rural areas can be used to lower fuel costs while helping to reduce the risk of high fuel prices and reducing carbon emission as PV will off-set part of the diesel that could have been otherwise consumed if PV was not included in the power plant.
                  4. Solar PV hybrid systems can be programmed through artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to help maximize power output during peak hours. Energy analytics provided through software can help the system to learn from historical data and help in planning to boost the performance of the hybrid system. From data analytics, the system can be programmed to store a specific amount of power in storage and to use it at a specific period in peak times when it is definitely needed.
                  5. When diesel power needs to be replaced for climate mitigation, hybrid PV systems combined with wind or bio fuels powered generators can be used to off-set carbon emissions associated with diesel powered generators.

                  The above are just a few hybrid solar PV options which could be feasible based on many factors such performance, size, economics and the underlying objectives of a project. Interested about going solar? Learn more about how much you could pay for a solar power system by using this solar calculator. 

                  Grid stabilization with increased renewable energy.

                  AI and solar PVWith the growing environmental concerns about climate change and the need for decarbonization, many private sector organizations, governments, and civil society have committed to a 100% renewable energy future.

                  As of late 2016, more than 300 cities, municipalities, and regions including Frankfurt, Vancouver, Sydney, San Francisco, Copenhagen, Oslo, Scotland, Kasese in Uganda, Indonesia’s Sumba island and the Spanish Island of El Hierro have demonstrated that transitioning to 100% RE is a viable political decision.

                  It is no doubt such ambitious targets to transition to 100% renewables will require new tools, concepts, and technologies to cope with the increased penetration of intermittent renewable energy into the grid. The good news is that technological developments, in the artificial intelligence and analytics space have already created tools and solutions needed to enable the decarbonization of the economy according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

                  As such, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has developed solutions in its recent report on the “Innovation Landscape for a Renewable Powered Future” which provides a toolbox of solutions for policymakers and guidance on how to apply them system-wide in a coherent and mutually-reinforcing way.

                  In particular, these solutions center around the application of digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data and analytics in increasing flexibility in the system for larger integration of renewable energy.

                  According to IRENA, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and big data, the Internet of Things and batteries are innovative solutions that will enable massive solar and wind use and amplify the transformation of the power sector based on renewables.

                  Why AI, Big-Data, and Analytics?

                  The increasing electrical loads such as electric cars, energy storage (batteries or pumped hydro) as well as decentralized renewable energy power such as rooftop solar PV systems, commercial solar, and wind power systems will need a more stable grid or a smart grid.

                  A smart grid is able to learn and adapt based on the load and amount of variable renewable energy put into the grid as a result of having lots of rooftops solar PV, other extra loads to the grid such as electric cars, energy storage (batteries and pumped hydro) and increasing decentralized intermittent renewable energy.

                  AI and Internet of Things

                  Without a smart system using artificial intelligence (AI), big data and analytics, grid operators will definitely not cope with the changing electrical loads and the increasing penetration of renewable energy into the grid.

                  Also, at its core, AI is a series of systems that act intelligently, using complex algorithms to recognize patterns, draw inferences and support decision-making processes through their own cognitive judgment, the way people do.

                  How can AI support the large integration of renewable energy?

                  Since renewable energy is very intermittent in nature as we would expect because there is no constant wind or solar generation due to weather changes, renewables such as solar and wind can be unreliable and many utility companies utilize energy storage (batteries or pumped hydro) to deal with this issue.

                  Excess solar or wind power is stored during low demand times and used when energy demand goes high. As a result, AI can improve the reliability of solar and wind power by analyzing enormous amounts of meteorological data and using this information to make predictions and knowing when to gather, store and distribute wind or solar power.

                  smart grid AIOn the other hand, AI used in smart grids can be used to balance the grid especially when rooftop solar and other decentralized renewable energy are involved and put into the grid. AI systems utilizing neural networks or complex algorithms to recognize patterns associated with various loads (electric vehicles or energy storage) and increased rooftop solar or other forms of distributed energy (wind or solar) which can make the system to be unstable. The most efficient way to balance this variability in the system is through AI in analyzing grids before and after they absorb smaller units, and in working to reduce congestion.

                  The IRENA’s report Innovation Landscape for a Renewable Powered Future explains these new AI tools and digital technologies that will support the deployment of renewables as the power sector complexity continues to increase.

                  According to IRENA, most of the advances currently supported by AI have been in advanced weather and renewable power generation forecasting and in predictive maintenance. However, in the future, AI and big data will further enhance decision-making, planning and supply chain optimization while increasing the overall energy efficiency of the energy systems.

                  For the renewable energy sector, AI and analytics can support it in several ways such as better monitoring, operation, and maintenance of renewable energy.