Lithium-ion Solar Batteries: Useful Things to Know Before Buying
So, you can't decide between lithium-ion (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.
But First, The Fundamentals:
In this section, you’ll learn the top 5 fundamentals of lithium-ion 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 .
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 is a measurement of energy.
It corresponds to using 1kW of power for an hour.
So a 2.4kWh battery means you can run 2400W (2.4kW) of power for an hour.
You can run 1.2kW of power for 2 hours.
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.
Cycles refer to the process of charging and discharging .
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.
The lifespan of Lithium-ion 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):
NB: This is based on one cycle per day.
You can expect a LiFePO4 battery to last upwards of 10 years!
What About Application?:
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-ion 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.
How Many Lithium-ion 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.
While you can connect two different sized batteries, they will need to be of the same brand.
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 .
- They are thermally and chemically stable.
- They stay cool in high temperatures – perfect for South Africa.
- They are incombustible, even when mishandled.
- The Phosphate cathode will not burn or explode .
- They are disposed of far more easily than other batteries because they are nontoxic.
If you’d like to read more about Lithium-ion Solar Batteries, click here to visit Wikipedia.
All You Need to Know About Installation:
Lithium-ion 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 Lithium-ion Batteries
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.
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.
But What About the Cost of 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.
|Size||2.4kWh (1.92kWh Usable)||4.8kWh (2.4kWh Usable)|
6000 / 365 = 16.44
(Cycles / 1 year = Lifespan)
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 9,200.00 / 2400W)
|Cost Per Year||R 790.75
(R 13,000.00 / 16.44 years)
(R 9,200 / 3.70)
- Look for the DOD. A good starting place is 80%
- The more cycles available, the longer your battery has the potential to last.
- 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:
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.
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.
Our Lithium-ion Options: