When making the switch to the use of solar batteries, you would more likely than not come across new terms that would make little or no sense to you.

Below is a compilation of some key terms you should know when you set out to buy or research solar batteries.

Solar Batteries

Some key Terms in Solar Batteries and their Meanings


AGM battery type: This is the absorbent glass material battery type. It is a sealed lead acid battery made up of fiberglass in between the battery plates which keeps the electrolyte solution in place should the battery ever break.

Activated shelf life: This is the time frame and particular temperature in which a battery can be stored before its capacity drops to an unusable level.

Activation voltage: This is the voltage at which a charge controller will take action to protect its batteries.

Alternating current (AC) electricity: AC is an electric current that changes polarity or direction with respect to time. It has a U.S standard of 60 cycles per second.

Amperage: The amperage is referred to as the intensity of the flow of current. It is measured in ampere.

Amp-hour:  This is the measure of how many amps a battery can supply in an hour

Anode: This is the negative electrode in the electrochemical cell.

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Battery capacity:  The battery capacity is the highest total electric charge that a battery can give out to a load under a particular set of conditions. It is expressed in amp-hour.

Battery pack: This is the end pack of the battery. It contains all the battery cells and their protective case.

British thermal unit: This is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. It is equal to 252 calories.

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Cell: A cell is a single unit of an electrochemical device. It is made up of the electrolyte, anode, cathode, and separator.

Charge controller: This is a part of the photo voltaic system that controls the voltage and current moving to the battery to avoid overcharging.

Charge factor: This shows the time in hours wherein a battery can be charged at a steady current without spoiling the battery.

Critical load panel: This is the additional panel joined to a solar battery that powers some important appliances during an outage.

Cycle: A cycle is the complete discharge and recharge of a battery.

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Deep cycle battery: The deep cycle battery is a type of battery with large plates designed to release about 80% or more of its capacity regularly.

Depth of Discharge ( DoD ): This is the quantity of electricity that has been removed from a fully charged battery.

Discharge: Discharge is the release of electricity from a battery.

Discharge rate: This is the rate at which electricity is released from the battery.

Dry cell: The dry cell is a primary battery that can not be recharged.


Electrode: An electrode is a conductor that makes contact with the battery’s electrolyte solution. This contact aids the passage of electrons through the battery.

Electrolyte: This is a conductor that carries current by ion movement from the cathode to the anode of the battery.

Energy density: This is the ratio of energy stored in relation to its weight.


Float charge: The float charge is the voltage needed to attack the self-discharge of the battery at a certain temperature.

Flooded lead acid battery: This flooded lead acid battery has a free-moving electrolyte solution. They often evaporate and as such need regular maintenance.


Gel type battery: The gel type battery is a form of lead acid battery that contains gel as the electrolytes.

Grid: The grid is a transmission system of electricity distribution. It helps in the delivery of electricity from the power station to the consumer.

Grid attached system: Also known as on-grid system. This is a solar panel system that is connected to the main utility power grid.


Hybrid inverters:  A hybrid inverter is an inverter that is made up of both solar and battery inverters.


Inverter: An inverter is a device that converts direct current electricity into alternate current electricity.


Kilowatts ( kW ): kW is the measure of a battery’s power output. It is equivalent to 1000 watts.

Kilowatt-hour: represents the amount of power released over a certain period. It is the unit of measure of the battery’s capacity.


Lead acid battery: This battery is made of plates from pure lead and lead electrodes as well as sulfuric acids.

Lithium-ion battery: This is a rechargeable battery where lithium flows through its electrolyte.

Load: This is any energy-consuming electrical circuit.

Load circuit: These are load connections to the power source.


Maintenance-free battery: This is a battery in which water can not be added to control the electrolyte level.

Mechanical storage: Here the kinetic energy or gravity is converted to save energy. Eg compressed energy storage.

Modular battery: This refers to battery packs that can be installed together to increase voltage or capacity.


Net metering: This is a utility program that requires a utility company to credit you for each kilowatt hour of electricity produced by your solar panel at the full retail electricity rate.

Nickel-cadmium battery: This battery contains nickel-cadmium plates with an alkaline electrolyte.

Nickel manganese Cobalt battery: This is the most common type of solar battery. It contains a lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide cathode.

Nominal capacity This is the total amount of energy a battery can store.


Off-grid solar system: This is a solar panel system that is not in any way connected to the utility grid.

They are typically paired with big amounts of solar storage and generators.

Overcharging: This is the continuous supply of current into a fully charged battery.


Peak demand:  This is the extra charge added to the cost of electricity and other fixed bill charges during your peak hours.

Peak power output: This is the amount of electricity that flows from the battery for a brief time of about 10 seconds so that the battery can run appliances that require more electricity properly.

Power output: This is the amount of electricity that can flow from a battery at any time.

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Rated battery capacity: This is the term used by battery manufacturers to represent the maximum amount of energy that can be gotten from a battery under a specified discharge rate and temperature.


Saltwater battery: This battery type contains a saline solution.

Sea-led acid battery: This battery doesn’t require regular maintenance as the electrolyte solutes do not evaporate.

Self-discharge:  is the rate at which a battery loses its charge without a load connected.

Solar battery: This is a battery type that is connected and aided by a solar panel system.


Time of use rates ( ToU ): This is a utility rate structure in which electricity costs more during certain times of the day.

Usable capacity: This refers to the amount of stored energy in a battery that is available for use.


Voltage: This is simply the amount of electromotive force.


Watts: This is the energy rate of transfer of electricity that is equivalent to 1amp × 1volt.


These words above are some of the new terms you might come across whilst scouting for solar batteries. Although the words are not limited to these, I hope this would be able to act as a good enough guide.