Lead-acid batteries are in many cases the backbone behind alternative energy and related new technologies. For example, the lead-acid battery is a key component of solar energy, wind energy and hybrid cars.
As storage batteries, lead-acid batteries are what enable a home power system to deliver a constant level of power to the electrical system. Without storage batteries an electrical system would be limited by the immediate output of the alternative-energy generators. So wind-powered systems would be subject to constant power fluctuations as the wind speed increased, dropped or disappeared entirely. And on cloudy days or at night, a solar-run house would have no electrical power available to turn on interior lights. Thankfully, because of storage batteries, power can be available 24 hours a day, regardless of weather. This is accomplished by running the output of renewable power generators through charge controllers and into the storage batteries.
Lead-acid batteries are the most commonly type of storage batteries used in these systems because of their low maintenance requirements, low initial cost, and their availability across the globe.
When silicon, a natural element composing all solar panels, is heated by the sun, it becomes electrically charged. This charge is stored in lead-acid batteries so that when sun is not available—at night and on cloudy days—the stored energy can be utilized keeping the PV system operating for extended periods despite the lack of sunlight.
This process is similar in wind energy systems, as the energy made by the motion of the turning blades of a wind turbine can also be stored in lead-acid batteries so that these wind systems can function consistently regardless of any changes in wind. Today, wind plants power the equivalent of 7.5 million average American homes and 16 million average European homes, making it the fastest growing energy source in the world. Wind power is clean, affordable, and limitless. It has become one of today's lower cost renewable energy technologies.
Designed for high reliability and long life, deep cycle, heavy-duty, industrial type lead-acid batteries are the least expensive batteries for wind applications.