Lithium-ion Guide

Lithium Ion Batteries

Useful Things to Know Before Buying


So, you can't decide between lithium (LiFePO4) and Lead-Acid batteries?

While it may seem daunting right now, our  lithium solar battery guide will help you see the light  - pun intended!

For your sake (and mine) I’ll skip over the intricate details of how lithium batteries work.

I will, however, explain  why the Lithium Iron Phosphate battery is the best choice  you can make when buying a storage system.

Contents

But First, The Fundamentals:


Calculating Solar Lithium-ion BatteriesIn this section, you’ll learn the top 5 fundamentals of lithium batteries.

Lithium has become a household name in storage technology.

The  Solar industry needed concrete, reliable products  that are not only compact but easy to install and operate.

Enter the  LiFePO4 Solar Battery .

They are currently the best solution for storing power either from  Solar Panels or from the grid .

Lead-acid batteries are still available and in use. But, lithium batteries offer a greater depth of discharge and  longer battery life .

Lithium Iron Phosphate

Or LiFePO4 for short.

These batteries form part of the newest in Solar Battery technology. They have  low toxicity level, well-defined performance and long term stability .

These are a few features that make LiFePO4 batteries the favourite in the solar industry.

From Solar Storage to motor vehicles, their popularity is ever-growing.

kWh - Kilowatt Hour

kWh is a measurement of energy.

It corresponds to using 1kW of power for an hour.

E.g. You can run a 10W light bulb for 10 hours with a 1000kW system.

So a 2.4kWh battery means you can run 2400W (2.4kW) of power for an hour.

OR

You can run 1.2kW of power for 2 hours.

What Does DOD Mean?

DOD stands for Depth of Discharge.

Typically, the DOD of LiFePO4 solar batteries is between 80% and 100%. Traditional batteries (Lead-Acid) have a DOD of 50%

Therefore, you can use 80% of the battery daily and still manage to prolong the life of the battery.

What Does Cycle Mean?

Cycles refer to the  process of charging and discharging .

One cycle is one full discharge and one full recharge.

When you see “6000 cycles” it means that the battery can be fully charged and discharged 6000 times.

 DOD plays a factor in how many cycles you can get out of a single battery  if you increase the DOD to 90% your number of cycles decreases.

What is the Life Span?

The lifespan of Lithium Solar Batteries is 5000+ cycles. Compared to Lead-Acid batteries which stand at 300 - 1350 cycles.

To work out the life span, take the number of cycles divided by 365 (days in a year):

6000 / 365 = 16.44 years

NB: This is based on one cycle per day.

You can expect a LiFePO4 battery to last upwards of 10 years!

What About Application?:


Need to Know about Lithium Solar Batteries

 

A significant advantage of LiFePO4 is the fact you can  expand easily and quickly .

If you need to expand your system, you’d just need to  add a new lithium battery at any time .

It is also important to note that you would need to add a battery of the same brand.

With Lead-Acid, you will need to replace the whole battery bank as adding a new battery to an existing set up causes damage to the new batteries.

What are Solar Batteries?

We have a Solar Batteries Guide that will further explain the differences and give you some more information on the Lead Acid batteries that we stock.

Click Here

How Many Batteries Can I Connect?

Depending on the brand, you can add many batteries together.

The real magic of LiFePO4 solar batteries is that you have the power of choice over the capacity. If you decide to start small, you can always add more batteries as your needs change.

Brand Compatibility

While you can connect two different sized batteries, they will need to be of the same brand.

Safety

Because who doesn’t consider the safety of a product before bringing it into your home?

The LiFePO4 batteries are the  safest Lithium batteries available .

Here’s why:

  1. They are thermally and chemically stable.
  2. They stay cool in high temperatures - perfect for South Africa.
  3. They are incombustible, even when mishandled.
  4. The Phosphate cathode  will not burn or explode .
  5. They are disposed of far more easily than other batteries because they are nontoxic.

All You Need to Know About Installation:


All you Need to Know About Installing Solar Lithium-ion Batteries

 

 LiFePO4 Solar Batteries are now smaller and lighter  than their predecessors.

Thanks to their size, they are easier to install, and you’ll need less space to store them.

Most LiFePO4 solar batteries are either  wall-mounted or stackable .

And you’re able to buy brackets or cabinets to house your LiFePO4 batteries, keeping them out of the way.

How to Install

We always recommend that you have a professional do the installation for you.

The modular design of the LiFePO4 batteries allows for a  plug-and-play capability  that is not available with other batteries.

So while you will need a professional to do the initial installation, you’d be able to install extra batteries yourself. Paying careful attention to the installation manuals is very important.

It is essential to check inverter compatibility before purchasing your batteries. At SolarAdvice, we have a variety of Solar Power Kits and Load Shedding Kits. All the products in our kits are compatible.

Want to Learn More About Solar Power Kits?

Our Solar Power Kit Guide will tell you everything you need to know about our kits. You will also learn about the items included in each kit.

Click Here

Where to install

It would be advisable to  install your Solar Power Kit/Load Shedding Kit somewhere out of the way. 

While most inverters and batteries look aesthetically pleasing, you will need switches and trunking which may be unsightly to some.

Another thing to consider is noise.

Fans, warnings etc. are loud, so bedrooms and living areas are not ideal for installing solar systems.

Accessories

Brackets
Most LiFePO4 batteries have brackets that are sold separately. They allow batteries to be stacked without damaging the battery on the bottom.
While the LiFePO4 batteries are  lighter than their predecessors , they are still weighty.
Cabinets
Cabinets are becoming readily available to store your batteries. They prevent debris from landing on your battery bank and also prevent damage,
particularly in high traffic areas.
Wall Mount
 Some LiFePO4 batteries are wall-mounted . This is particularly appealing if you have minimal space to store batteries.
These batteries come with wall mountings.
Cables
Cable packs are also available for purchase.

But What About the Cost?


Cost of Solar Lithium-ion Batteries

Are you holding your breath?

Go ahead and breathe.

The solar battery price depends on a few factors. Like brand, size, and type of battery.

LiFePO4 batteries cost more than lead-acid initially. But, due to their longer lifespans, you will actually save money in the long run.

You will be investing in a great product that will give you many years of use.

Lithium-ion technology offers upwards of a decade in daily charging and discharging. Its competitor offers around 3-5 years before you have to fork out for another backup system.

Below is a comparison table of lithium-ion and lead-acid deep cycle battery prices:

Lithium-ion

Lead-Acid

Size 2.4kWh (1.92kWh Usable) 4.8kWh (2.4kWh Usable)
DOD 80% 50%
Cycles 6000
6000 / 365 = 16.44
(Cycles / 1 year = Lifespan)
1350
1350 / 365 = 3.70
(Cycles / 1 year = Lifespan)
Average Cost R 13,000.00 R 9,200.00
Cost Per kWh R 6.77
(R 13,000.00 / 1920W)
R 3.83
(R 9,200.00 / 2400W)
Cost Per Year R 790.75
(R 13,000.00 / 16.44 years)
R 2,486.49
(R 9,200 / 3.70)
NB: The above information is based on one cycle a day under optimal conditions.
When you look for solar batteries for sale, there are a few things that you need to look out for:

  1. Look for the DOD. A good starting place is 80%
  2. The more cycles available, the longer your battery has the potential to last.
  3. A few brands offer a standard 7-year warranty with the option of registering the batteries for a 3-year extension, taking it up to 10 years. The warranty is important and should not be overlooked.

For Your Convenience:


Calculating Solar Lithium-ion Batteries Want to learn more about your storage needs  but not sure how? We’ve all been there.

We have a  free online solar battery bank calculator .

It will help you figure out what LiFePO4 solar battery bank would be best for you.

 

Click here to view the calculator

What’s the Bottom Line?

If you want a product that is:

1. Scalable: Allows you to  add more batteries  should your needs increase. Never get tied down to specific storage size.

2. Modular: The modular design allows for  neat stacking/mounting  of the batteries.

3. Has Storage Accessories: Most LiFePO4 batteries are either wall-mounted or stackable. You can  buy cabinets and brackets to store your batteries , ensuring a much neater and modern look.

4. More Efficient: LiFePO4 solar  batteries are around 95% - 98% efficient . Lead-acid batteries are 80% - 85% efficient.

5. Has Increased Cycles: LiFePO4 offers around 5000+ cycles vs 300-500 cycles for AGM Batteries.

6. Has a Built-in BMS: Most Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries have a  built-in battery management system . The BMS monitors the health of your battery and protects the battery from damage.

7. Has a Stable Discharge Rate: LiFePO4 solar batteries have a slow discharge rate, which allows them to have constant storage capacity.

8. Competitive Pricing: Yes, the initial investment for a LiFePO4 battery is higher. But you must take the lifespan, ability, and performance into consideration. Once you understand the benefits of these great batteries, your decision will be an easy one.

If you are looking for the  best solar battery money can buy , visit our Lithium Solar Batteries page. We stock solar batteries for home, office and holiday homes.

15 comments

  1. Hi
    I currently have 18 x 105 Omnipower batteries in my battery bank, I am 100% off grid and would like to know if I want to replace my battery bank with Lithium-ion batteries , what size , model and how many do I need?
    It is a 24V system.
    Regards

    1. Hi, you have 11kWh rounded up, because they’re Lead-Acid it works out to be 5.5kWh, to replace those I’d suggest 2 PylonTech US3000’s which will give you 5.6kWh, here’s the link https://solaradvice.co.za/product/pylon-us3000b-3-5kwh-li-ion-battery/

  2. Aubrey van Wijk

    Morning, i need some assistance please, as you know we all have load shedding and i am looking for a solution to keep my house running, can you give me some advice on what will be the best way forward.

    1. Hi Aubrey, I would suggest a Load Shedding kit to help in this situation.

      To run your basics like lights, TV, fridge and modem for around 4 hours you will be better off with a 5kWh backup system https://solaradvice.co.za/product/axpert-4kw-ufo-5kwh-lithium-ion-load-shedding-kit/

      5kWh will get you through 4 hours, I have this same kit and I never know when there is load shedding. Unless you have a flat with literally a TV, Modem and perhaps a couple of lights I would not suggest anything smaller.

      The great thing about the Load Shedding kits we have is that you can add panels later for a complete solar solution, it’s a very worthy investment in the long run and the price per kW over a 15 year period with the fact you never have load shedding is something I would suggest looking at.

      Hope that helps.

  3. Rishen Mathura

    Hi

    I currently have an inverter with 16 100ah deep cycle batteries, please advise what I would need to replace this similar power with lithium ion

    1. Hi, how are they wired together? Are they in series or parallel?

  4. Hi, I am in the process of purchasing a Tesla Powerwall 2. I am hesitating and know there are good options available locally like freedomwon. I don’t mind paying the premium for the Tesla. I see it as buying an iphone versus a cheaper smartphone. We pay a premium for iphones becuase ot comes with peace of mind that you get what you pay for. What is your opinion?

    1. Hi, the Tesla Pwerwall 2 is quite an impressive product but it also comes at a premium. We do have quality systems that can do what the Powerwall does at a better price point, one example is the Alpha ESS. This has a fantastic spec with everything you need to run a large household.

  5. Hi I use 1.8kw per day what size 48v li irone battery do I need with 5kva inverter

    1. Armando da silva

      Hi Tokkie,

      The Pylon or Dyness 2.4kw battery @ 80% depth of depletion will offer 1.92kw in storage power.

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