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What Is a Solar Battery?

By Ken Black
Updated May 28, 2024
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A solar battery is one that receives its energy from the sun or from some other light source through the use of photovoltaics. In most cases, a solar-powered battery is implanted in an electronic device and not capable of being removed. A solar powered battery is usually capable of fully charging after just an hour or two of exposure to sunlight.

The surest evidence of a solar battery is an array of solar cells, usually in a line or perhaps in a block, somewhere on the device. These cells collect the light and cause electrons in semiconductors to begin to move along that semiconductor and to metal contacts. Once at these metal contacts, the energy generated can then be stored in a solar cell, or it may be put to direct use.

If that energy is stored, the solar powered battery will discharge it at the appropriate time. For example, that time may be when it is turned on by a person, or it may come on automatically, as with some lighting applications. The power is then drawn from the solar battery much like it would be any other battery.

solar battery

Choosing the Best Solar Battery Charger

A solar battery charger uses solar panels to turn light energy into electrical energy. Solar chargers provide a convenient and environmentally friendly way to charge batteries in situations where it might not otherwise be possible to charge batteries. When choosing the best solar battery charger, there are a number of things to take into consideration. The solar charger that you choose depends on what kind of battery you are charging, how portable the charger needs to be, and the price that you are willing to pay for the charger.

A larger solar charger provides more surface area to absorb sunlight, which allows the charger to produce more power. The size of the solar charger that you need depends on the capacity of the battery that you are charging. For a small battery, such as a cell phone battery, a small charger will work fine. For larger batteries, such as laptop batteries, a larger solar charger is necessary.

The types of solar batteries most often used are lead acid and nickel cadmium. The lead acid batteries are cheaper, but come with a number of restrictions, such as not being able to be fully discharged. Nickel cadmium batteries do not have these restrictions, but are generally more expensive. In the long run, given the durability of the battery, this may be the most economical option. Most products with a solar powered battery will make use of nickel cadmium.

Portability and Convenience

portability and convenience

Another important factor to consider when purchasing a solar charger is the portability and form of the solar charger. Solar chargers are often used during outdoor activities such as camping. If you plan on using your charger for outdoor activities, it is important to make sure that you choose a solar charger that is durable and portable enough to take with you. A folding solar battery charger is much more portable than a flat panel solar charger and is probably a better choice if portability is important.

Many solar chargers designed for electronics use a universal serial bus (USB) port to charge through. This is practical because almost all modern electronics can be charged through USB cables. Some cell phones and music players also have cases specifically designed for them that have built-in solar panels. Other chargers charge through metal clips, which allows them to charge almost any kind of battery.

While much talk has been made about the potential of solar energy as an alternative energy source, there are some drawbacks to solar power. Currently, the technology is mainly used only for smaller electronic applications. While it may be possible to build a solar power system that will take care of home energy needs, the solar powered batteries needed would be immense. There are systems available, but they are prohibitively expensive for most people.

solar battery

Despite these limitations, the solar powered battery still has numerous practical uses. It can be used for lighting, as previously mentioned. In this case, it saves the landscaper from having to run wires to lights, which can be a significant hassle. Plus, the energy gained is free. Other applications include calculators and keyring displays. However, those wishing to use this technology with a calculator should make sure it has a solar battery. Many calculators simply convert light to electrical energy for immediate use but have no ability to store that energy.

Another option is to build a solar battery charger instead of purchasing one. It is fairly easy to build one, and is less expensive than purchasing a solar charger. Homemade solar chargers may not as durable, reliable, or portable as purchased solar chargers, however.

The Solar Panel Guide is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By wikesupply — On Nov 02, 2010

A solar battery is used to store electricity generated from solar panels, which is necessary part for a complete off-grid solar system. By using a controller, the appliances can work with 110/220V electricity current from the battery.

There are two kind batteries mostly used, lead-acid and gel battery. A lead-acid battery has a shorter lifetime and will pollute environment in some cases but it is cheaper.

A gel battery is environment-friendly and has a longer life, but at a higher price than lead-acid.

Both of them aren't right energy stored material. We hope there will be new batteries with very big capacities, very long lifetimes, small volume and no pollution, and most important, very cheap.

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