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Advantages of Lithium-ion Batteries for Solar Power

One of the more significant elements in installing solar power for home or business use is the battery bank. While the experts agree that lithium-ion batteries are the best, they are also more expensive than standard lead-acid batteries.

So why choose lithium-ion batteries – what are the advantages?

Solar power batteries are used in the battery bank of a solar power system, and store energy that is generated from the photovoltaic panels. They collect the DC energy so you can use it later. In earlier solar installations, lead-acid batteries were used for this purpose.

Lithium is a highly reactive element, meaning that a large amount of energy can be stored in its atomic bonds. This means that lithium-ion batteries have a very high energy density.

Lead-Acid Vs Lithium Batteries – What’s The Difference?

Lithium-ion batteries are made with the metal lithium, while lead-acid batteries are made with lead. With these chemical differences, there are also differences in performance and cost.

Lead-acid batteries are still very common, but energy professionals all agree that lithium batteries are better for storage. We have them in all our mobile devices this very minute!

The best solar power companies are making the switch to lthium. Lead-acid batteries cost less up front, but they have a much shorter lifespan and need regular maintenance to keep them running safely and effectively. Lithium batteries are more expensive up front, but they are almost completely maintenance-free and have a longer lifespan.

Related: Compare pricing of solar power packages

Lithium batteries have a longer cycle life than their counterparts. When you use a battery to power your appliances and charge it back up again with your solar panels, that is one charge cycle. You can think of it as the “mileage” of your battery.

Batteries don’t discharge fully when you use them - they have a recommended depth of discharge, which is how much they can be used before they need to recharge. Lead-acid batteries are mostly run to 50% depth of discharge, without negatively affecting their lifespan. Lithium batteries can handle discharges of 80% or more – so it’s obvious that they have a higher capacity.

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Lithium batteries are more than 95% efficient at storing energy, while lead-acid batteries have only 80-85% of energy available after the charging and discharging processes.

Higher efficiency means your lithium batteries charge faster, and you will probably need fewer solar panels installed.

Lithium batteries have a higher charge rate, which means they can be refilled much faster than lead-acid batteries.

Lead-acid batteries can overheat if you charge them too quickly. The charge rate also gets significantly slower when they approach full capacity.

Lithium batteries are more environmentally-friendly than other alternatives. Lead acid batteries can be unhealthy if improperly discarded. Lead and sulfuric acid can contaminate solid and ground water. Sulfuric acid is dangerously corrosive, and lead has been linked to numerous health effects, especially in children.

Another advantage of lithium batteries over lead-acid is their compact size and weight, due to their high energy density. The average lithium-ion battery is about one third the size of the average lead acid battery. This is an advantage when you want to keep your battery bank as sleek and compact as possible.

While the initial investment for lithium batteries is more than the lead-acid alternative, their lifespan and performance more than make up for the expense. Talk to your solar power providers for more detailed information.

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