Solar Market Outlook in Barbados
Barbados is emerging as a leader in the renewable energy industry in the Caribbean region. Due to the country’s vulnerability to natural disasters, this has driven the government and economic leaders to strive for a more diverse economy. Shifting to renewable energy sources is a viable solution to this, which is why the government is investing more in renewable energy and in promoting sustainability.
Despite Barbados being a small island, it has taken significant steps toward transitioning into renewable energy. It targets to achieve 100% renewable energy consumption by 2030. This is an ambitious target but the government has obtained loans to build solar PVs for both industrial and residential installations.
The country is also geographically advantaged to allow it to exploit natural sources for renewable energy, particularly solar and wind. With more than 8 hours of sunshine per day, it’s no reason why Barbados cannot generate adequate solar power.
Another motivation for the government to switch to renewable energy sources is the high costs of producing electricity with crude oil. By reducing spending on fossil fuel, the government aims for an improved overall economy.
Solar Energy Equipment Supply Capacity in Barbados
Barbados is a small country so there are a limited number of suppliers and distributors within the island. Thankfully, there are global suppliers that export solar power equipment for those unable to build their own.
Top 8 Major Seaports & Logistics in Barbados
Barbados is an island nation. This means that it is easily accessible by water and most of its logistics activity is done through its major seaports such as the Port of Bridgetown.
All solar power systems are composed of solar batteries. However, not all solar panel system manufacturers and installers provide one solar battery type. Most of the time they offer different models of batteries. Generally, there are four main types of solar batteries that are paired with residential solar panel systems. The commonly used batteries are Lead-acid batteries, Lithium-ion batteries, Nickel-based batteries, and Flow batteries. Each of these solar batteries has its own characteristics. But among the four types, the most commonly used is the lead-acid batteries, and this type of battery also comes with different variations.
For today’s article, we will discuss one of the lead-acid battery types, which is the Gel battery.
What is Gel Battery?
A gel battery is a common type of sealed lead-acid battery. The major difference between gel batteries among the other lead-acid options is the material inside. Generally, a gel battery is made up of silica in its inner electrolyte mixture, which is responsible for producing a gel-like substance. Among other lead-acid batteries, gel batteries produce more power. Besides, this battery is valve-regulated, low maintenance, extremely robust, and versatile.
Since the battery is also “sealed”, it does not require water level monitoring unlike standard lead-acid options, plus it does not expel gas. It only produces few fumes so it’s ideal to use in any place without much ventilation. These factors make it a safer option for solar panel systems than other traditional lead-acid options.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Gel batteries
Gel Batteries are becoming increasingly popular when it comes to solar battery choice due to their several advantages and minimal disadvantages.
- It is ideal for deep cycle applications and the battery life span is ranging between 500 to 5000 cycles.
- It does not require any high maintenance, unlike other batteries.
- Since it produces a gel-like structure, there will be no spill.
- It has minimal corrosion making it compatible with sensitive electronic devices
- Rugged and vibration-resistant
- Safe option to choose. You’re less likely to suffer from sulphuric acid burns.
- Among the other lead-acid batteries, it has the most expensive initial cost.
- Water cannot be refilled if overcharging happens.
- You are required to use special chargers and regulators.
- Hot temperatures can adversely affect the acid, making the gel hard and may shrink away from plates.
Conclusion: Is it Good to Partner Gel Batteries with Solar Panels?
When it comes to solar panels, the most debated type of battery to partnered with solar panels are the Gel battery and AGM batteries. However, not all solar installations are identical, and there are several factors such as climate and discharge demands to consider when choosing what’s the best battery.
If you’re going to observe, gel batteries remain on top as they provide many benefits to solar users for long-term energy storage. Although gel battery is the most expensive among the lead-acid batteries, it is free from high maintenance, making it still an ideal battery for solar users, particularly for smaller solar projects.
On the other side, for most residential solar panel installation that requires high energy demand to power its entire household, you may consider exploring lithium-ion batteries like the Tesla Powerwall to cover all the high energy input from a solar panel system.