Why Lithium-Ion Solar Batteries Are Best
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Many homeowners are interested in adding battery backup to their solar installation. Battery backup brings peace of mind for potential power outages or grid failures. They can power your home during bad weather or at night, giving you complete independence from the grid. However, trying to figure out what battery type is best for your home can be a pain. We, at Go Solar Group, believe that lithium-ion batteries are better than all other options, such as lead-acid batteries. Let’s go over why.
What Is a Lithium-Ion Battery and How Does It Work?
How do solar batteries work? We’ll keep this short and sweet, as most of us probably aren’t physicists or chemists. A lithium-ion battery consists of three main parts — an anode (the negative end), a cathode (the positive end), and an electrolyte (the barrier in between the two poles). The main way that these batteries store and generate electricity is through lithium ions — hence the name. One of the other main types of batteries uses lead and acid, which is why they’re called (you guessed it) lead-acid batteries. A lithium-ion battery is full of lithium ions, which really want to lose their electrons. The electrolyte layer prevents electrons from crossing from one end to the other, so the lithium molecules cross over and lose their electrons. These electrons are then cycled through a circuit, such as when the battery is plugged into a light bulb, which produces electricity.
Why You Should Want Battery Backup
Battery backup provides peace of mind for many reasons. As stated earlier, battery backup with solar gives a homeowner energy security. Grid failures and other forms of power outages can cause discomfort. For example, a power outage can cause the food in your fridge to spoil. Furthermore, many of us work from home, and now so more than ever since the coronavirus pandemic. An interruption in your power supply can interfere with work — losing you both time and money. More and more Americans are relying on at-home medical technology, such as a CPAP, to stay healthy. Power loss can cause anything from discomfort to a serious medical crisis. Finally, many solar-powered homes still need to be connected to the grid for power at night or during bad weather.
What Makes a Lithium-Ion Battery Better Than Others
We’ve established why battery backup is a good idea for solar homeowners. Now let’s go over why a lithium-ion battery backup is the best idea for your home. After all, this type of battery is much more expensive, on average, than a lead-acid battery. However, solar homeowners know that, when it comes to your power, cheaper rarely means better.
There are four ways that lithium-ion batteries beat out lead-acid batteries.
Lithium-ion Solar Battery Capacity Is Superior to Lead-acid
The first category is battery capacity. Batteries don’t charge forever. Eventually, a battery will fill up. Capacity measures how much energy goes into a battery before it fills up. The physical size of a battery matters in this scenario — the bigger the battery, the more solar energy you can store. A lithium-ion battery can store much more energy than a lead-acid battery of the same size, giving it a clear edge.
Lithium-ion Solar Batteries Have Greater Efficiency
The second category is efficiency. Efficiency measures how much of the energy stored in a battery can be used. The rest is lost as the battery goes through cycles. A lead-acid battery usually checks in at around 80-85 percent efficiency. A lithium-ion battery, on the other hand, generally hovers at around a 95 percent efficiency. This gives it a resounding victory over lead-acid batteries.
Lithium-ion Solar Batteries Have Greater “Depth of Discharge”
The depth of discharge refers to how much of a solar battery’s storage can be used before the battery needs to be recharged. Batteries don’t get completely discharged when used — most have a specific percentage at which they cap out. The typical depth of discharge is 50 percent for a lead-acid battery. A lithium-ion, on the other hand, has a depth of discharge of eighty percent, or more.
Lithium-ion Solar Batteries Have Greater Lifespans
The final category is the lifespan. A lead-acid battery lasts, on average, for about five years before its utility degrades. A lithium-ion battery, on the other hand, can last twice as long — or longer. Given the prices that storage batteries can go for, the savings that come with purchasing a lithium-ion battery will far outweigh the initial costs.
Charging Batteries With Home Solar Panels
If you’re reading this article, you probably have solar (or want to purchase it). Therefore, you’re likely to be interested in how battery backup can be combined with your solar installation to maximize ROI and savings. Luckily for everyone involved, solar and battery backup, particularly of the lithium-ion variety, are a dynamic, energy-saving duo. Go Solar Group offers three levels of battery backup for maximum flexibility.
We covered a number of advantages that battery backup, in general, brings to solar homeowners. We’ve also covered why lead-acid batteries might not be the best choice. However, we should end by covering why a lithium-ion battery is the best choice for solar homeowners.
Why Lithium-Ion Works Best With Solar
When making a long-term investment like solar, the best idea is to purchase quality products to ensure that you get the most for your money. Nobody wants to spend thousands of dollars on an item that stops working after just a few years. Go Solar Group’s preferred solar panel is the Axitec AC-315MH/120SB for exactly this reason, as it comes with a 25-year, 85 percent production warranty. However, these systems tend to last far longer at efficient energy levels than the length of their warranties may imply. Some residential solar panel systems last up to 50 years, especially if they are monocrystalline solar panels.
But what about battery backup? You don’t want to purchase a new battery bank when your panels are only one-fifth of the way through their lifecycle. While battery backup technologies don’t last as long as solar panels for various reasons, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get a quality battery that will last for almost half of your solar panels’ life cycle.
Lithium-ion batteries, therefore, are the best choice for solar. These batteries, such as Tesla’s Powerwall 2, last for a long time, have a high capacity, and are more efficient, making them perfect for regular use. Because of the benefits that come with these batteries, Go Solar Group only offers lithium-ion for our battery backup options. These include the aforementioned Powerwall 2 and the Goal Zero Yeti 1500x or 3000. For the solar homeowner that wants to take steps towards energy independence, there’s no better choice.