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Can light be used to charge lithium-ion batteries?


The obvious answer is YES, using solar cells to convert light to electricity to charge batteries. The next question is likely to be how do I do that? Here is a simple and quick answer:

  1. Assumption: you have a 100kWh Li-ion battery pack to fully charge each day from 0% SOC (State of Charge); not all Li-ion chemistries can go down to 0% without damage, so find out what you have first.
  2. To charge the 100kWh in 8-hrs of sunlight, you will need at least 13kW of solar panels (100/8 = 12.5). I’d go with at least 15–20kW.
  3. Be sure to get the MPPT type solar charge controller to moderate the incoming solar power and charge your batteries, it’s more efficient than other charge controller types.
  4. If you want to charge your EV with 100kWh pack at night, then you’ll need a larger battery pack to store the energy from the solar panels during the day, and transfer that energy to your EV at night. I’d recommend a 125kWh solar storage bank of batteries and a DC charger to charge your EV. You will need at least 16kW of solar panel (I would use 20kW).

If you would like more system details, please ask in Comments.

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