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Battery Charging in Photovoltaic Applications

Garth P. Corey

Throughout the world. b,attery selection for small photovoltaic (PV) systems is frequently driven by the availability of batteries in the host country. Offshore projects frequently have very limited sources for deep cycling lead-acid batteries and sometimes must employ starting-lighting-ignition (SLn batteries which are designed especially for power, as opposed to energy, use. SLI batteries are not intended for deep cycling operation, nonetheless, they are commonly found in small PV systems. To compound the problem, battery management is frequently inadequate and the battery subsequently yields very poor performance in these systems. Recent testing of SLI batteries has been implemented at Sandia National Laboratories to assist photovoltaic system integrators in developing a battery management scheme which will help improve SLI battery performance in shallow cycling applications. This paper discusses the test procedure and reports on the successful results obtained from life testing of a 100 Ah flooded SLI lead-acid battery in a simulated PV environment. Mitigation of failure mechanisms which contribute to the early failure of SLI batteries used in stationary environments is also discussed.

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