If you own a solar panel in your home or office, you must have asked yourself the question: should I choose a Lead battery or Lithium battery? What is the cost? How can I choose? Well, you are not alone, 95% of people who uses solar panel to generate extra power ask this same question but never to worry, in this article we at EnGoPlanet will cover all your questions so stay glue to this article.
Overtime, the energy storage market is experiencing an unprecedented boom and giving the impression in the 90s, lithium-ion technology has so far been in existence but recently, new technologies are emerging and innovative companies are doing everything in their power to replace the lithium-ion battery with new, high-performance batteries. But in this article we want to look at the cost of Lithium LIFEPO4 battery for solar and different between Lithium batteries and Lead Batteries.
First of all, what is the Lithium LIFEPO4 / Lead- acid battery?
The Lithium-ion is the lightest metal and it has a very high energy density. Compared to conservative batteries, lithium-ion batteries recharge faster, last longer, and have higher power density for longer battery life. It has excellent electrochemical properties relative to its weight (± 2 times that of Ni / Cd). For safety reasons, the battery does not have lithium in its metallic form (unstable), but in the ionic form. The cathode of the lithium-ion batteries (positive electrode) is composed of Cobalt (Co) or Manganese (Mn) dioxide, or iron phosphate while, the anode of the lithium-ion batteries (negative electrode) uses porous carbon, such as graphite spheres (Meso Carbon Micro Beads) or Titanate (LTO).
Lithium-Ion batteries are recent products compared to Lead-acid batteries. They have been on the market since the 1980s. Lithium-ion technology has been proven to power electronic products such as mobile phones and laptops, as well as wireless manual tools. But in 1996, a new technology appeared: Lithium Iron Phosphate (known as LifePo4 or LFP). These batteries have a lower energy density but are intrinsically non-combustible, and therefore extremely safe.
On the other hand, the Lead-acid battery is composed of standard lead-acid accumulators. A Lead-acid battery is a series of lead-acid accumulators connected in series and assembled in the same housing. This electricity storage device is widely used in industry but also in the equipment of motor vehicles. It usually provides a voltage of 12 V or 24 V. The open lead battery is economical to buy and in relation to its weight, the power it produces is minimal; in general, this power is 35 WH / kg. It regularly requires hydration and the use of a scale-acid to check the density of the electrolyte. It should be installed in a well-ventilated area to handle oxygen and hydrogen ejections when recharging.
NOTABLE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN LEAD ACID & LIFEPO4 BATTERIES
Below are the notable differences between the two batteries.
Lead-acid batteries are the cheapest to produce, but the real cost of owning a lithium battery is far lower when you factor in performance and the battery’s better longevity. The Lithium batteries silent other battery systems in terms of cost of battery despite their bigger up front cost.
• Useful capacity and much longer life
Unlike Lead-acid batteries, LIFEPO4 batteries can be discharged almost completely (from 90% to 100%) without degrading. Considering a 100Ah battery, if a lead battery has a usable capacity between 30 to 50Ah, the Lithium battery can provide up to 100 Ah. Manufacturers indicate that one can anticipate between 2000 and 5000 cycles of a LiFePo4 battery used correctly. However, these are theoretical values that could not be actually verified but simply anticipated.
From a practical point of view, and in real use, LiFePo4 batteries of good quality can deliver at least 1500 cycles, and the remaining capacity remains greater than 80%. These values are also dependent on the charge rate as well as the depth of discharge.
• Energy efficiency
Lead batteries are less efficient at storing energy than Lithium-Ion. The charge of Lithium batteries has a yield close to 100% while the lead is around 80%. This is particularly important for solar applications where we seek to capture and store the maximum energy of solar panels. 20% of captured energy is lost when stored in a lead-acid battery.
One of the great advantages of Lithium-ion is that Peukert’s losses are almost non-existent. This means that a LiFePo4 battery can deliver its full capacity, even at high discharge currents, unlike lead-acid batteries that can lose up to 40% capacity in power applications.
• Climatic resistance
Unlike Lead-acid batteries lithium-ion batteries are much more efficient at low temperatures. In addition, the discharge rate influences the performance of lead batteries. It is therefore found that at -20 ° C, a Lithium battery delivering a current of 1C (once its actual capacity) can deliver more than 80% of its energy, while the Lead-acid battery can only deliver only 30% of its capacity. In a hot or cold environment, Lithium-Ion stands out as a technological choice.
• Weight and Energy Density
The success of lithium-ion batteries has three advantages. On the one hand, the energy density stored in lithium-based batteries is greater than that of Lead-acid batteries while, on the other hand, lithium batteries have no memory effect, unlike the Lead-acid batteries, which forced to completely discharge before recharge. These three advantages – Energy Density, Weight, and Memory effect – have largely contributed to the rapid deployment of lithium in solar applications and other applications.
• No maintenance
Unlike lead batteries, lithium ion is a low maintenance battery. No need for complete charge and discharge cycles, lithium-ion batteries do not suffer the “memory effect “. Lead-acid batteries require proper maintenance of the element of the battery.
• No Venting
Unlike Lithium batteries, Lead-acid batteries emanate toxic and acidic content when charged and discharged which in turn limit where your batteries can be stored. Lead acid batteries are always store outside your compartment so as to allow the toxic and acid content to escape. On the other hand, Lithium batteries don’t emit vent toxic and acidic content which in turn means they can be stored just anywhere in your house.
• Batteries that can connect to the network
Thanks to their yields close to 100%, lithium-ion batteries are particularly suitable for their application in photovoltaic or wind energy. In addition, even at high discharge currents, lithium-ion batteries deliver their full capacity.
Size is another thing to consider between these two batteries. Comparing the two battery size, Lithium batteries occupy less physical space than the Lead-acid batteries. Lithium batteries size makes the use of lithium-ion batteries suitable for consumer electronics. This is also one of the reasons why the automotive industry uses these batteries to power electric vehicles. Your batteries size is very crucial and need to be considered if you are thinking of owning a solar panel battery. In this case, Lithium-ion batteries are small in size and they don’t take much space in your compartment.