Your Questions About Solar Energy Generator Cost

Mark asks…

what type of battery should I use?

I am going to be making a small solar generator, what type of battery should I use for the longest lasting quality.

admin answers:

I think lead acid batteries are the lowest cost for the energy stored. But charge/discharge cycles degrade the plates, especially high capacity types intended for motor starting. So either you use over sized starting batteries, so you don’t discharge them very deeply each day, or you buy deep cycle versions that degrade much less for each deep charge/discharge cycle.

Also, low maintenance types (absorbed glass mat and especially gel cells) are very easily damaged by too fast charging or overcharging, since either of those conditions produces gas on the plates. This gas consumes the water in the starved electrolyte (absorbed glass mat types) drying them out, or makes permanent bubbles in the gel of gel calls, damaging them. Flooded cell batteries allow you to replace the water lost to gas production, so that less than perfect charging is a lot less damaging to them.

But any battery will last longer if its charge is controlled by a charge regulator circuit than if it is just charged with whatever the solar cells put out.


John Popelish

Lisa asks…

How do I do a science fair on solar energy with a thermoelectric generator? How would I ask the question?

For example, if I wanted to see how much waste energy from a house can be turned into usable electricity with a thermoelectric generator, how would I do that?

Or any more ideas?
And how would I word that into a question? “How much electricity can a thermoelectric generator power from waste heat from a house?” or something? PLEASE ASAP

admin answers:

The first question would be “How does the temperature of a thermoelectric device effect the electrical output?” You can measure the temperature fairly easily while measuring the intensity of sunlight is more difficult.
The most likely question about waste heat would be one of these two: “Can electricity be produced from the low level of waste heat from a house heating system?” “Is it cost effective to install thermoelectric generators in the heating system of a house?”

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