Battery storage is growing as an increasingly prevalent addition to solar power systems, and homeowners now have several battery options to choose from for their solar panels. However, out of all the prevailing battery alternatives, a lead-acid and lithium-ion battery evolved to become the two most favorable options amongst homeowners.
As their names suggest, lithium-ion batteries are manufactured with the element lithium, while lead-acid batteries get manufactured with the metal lead. With these variations in configuration comes diversity in cost and performance. While both lead-acid and lithium-ion battery choices can provide efficient storage solutions, it is crucial to understand the difference between them to make an informed purchase decision.
How does a li-ion battery differ from a lead-acid battery?
To better understand why lithium-ion batteries are cheaper than lead-acid batteries in the long run, it is imperative to know the difference between these two battery options. Mentioned hereunder is the difference between li-ion and lead-acid batteries based on numerous factors.
A battery’s capacity refers to the measure of how much power can get saved (and ultimately discharged) by this battery. While capacity estimates differ between battery types and businesses, lithium-ion battery technology has been well-established to possess a significantly higher power density when compared to lead-acid batteries.
This implies that more power can get collected in a lithium-ion battery utilizing the very physical area. Also, since you can store more power with lithium-ion batteries, your solar system can discharge more energy, hence powering more electrical appliances for an extended duration and making it more cost-effective.
Extent of discharge
A battery’s extent of discharge is the portion that can get safely emptied of power without harming the battery. While it is common to utilize 85 percent or higher of a li-ion battery’s entire volume in a single round, lead-acid batteries should not get discharged beyond approximately 50 percent, as performing so negatively influences the battery lifetime.
This higher depth of discharge feasible with lithium-ion battery technology implies that lithium-ion batteries hold an even higher-yielding potential than lead-acid alternatives, particularly considering the higher power density in lithium-ion technology.
Just like solar panel effectiveness, battery performance is a crucial factor to examine when analyzing various alternatives. Most li-ion batteries are 95 percent more effective than lead-acid batteries. It implies that 95 percent or more of the power saved in a lithium-ion battery can get used to power your place.
On the other hand, lead-acid batteries hold an efficiency level near 80 to 85 percent. This higher efficiency of lithium-ion batteries over lead-acid batteries helps them charge faster, and similarly to the depth of discharge, enhanced performance implies a higher battery potential. This higher battery potential makes lithium-ion batteries last a long time making them a more viable option than lead-acid batteries.
Similar solar panel batteries also deteriorate over time and become less productive as they age. Discharging a solar battery to power your place or electrical appliances and then restoring it with solar energy or the grid counts as one complete cycle.
The figures differ from study to study, but lithium-ion batteries usually endure for several times the number of rounds as lead-acid batteries, pointing to a higher productive lifespan for lithium-ion battery products. This longer lifespan is what makes lithium-ion batteries cheaper as you can save a lot of money on installation costs.
This is probably the only category where lead-acid batteries outperform lithium-ion batteries. A lead-acid battery system costs hundreds or thousands of bucks less than comparable-sized lithium-ion batteries.
However, while lead-acid batteries usually hold economic purchase and installation prices, lithium-ion batteries are more long-lasting. This is what makes a li-ion battery more cost-effective in the extended run, further reducing the hassles of frequent installations.
When should you install a lithium-ion battery v/s lead-acid battery?
If you require a battery backup unit, both lithium-ion and lead-acid and batteries can be efficient alternatives. Nevertheless, it is customarily the right choice to install a li-ion battery given the numerous benefits of the technology, which include more extended endurance, better efficiencies, and higher power density.
Also, despite holding more expensive upfront costs, lithium-ion batteries are usually more worthwhile than lead-acid batteries. However, one case where lead-acid batteries may be the more suitable choice is in a situation with an off-grid solar panel installation that does not get utilized very often.
For instance, having a lead-acid battery on a yacht or RV as a backup energy source that gets used once or twice every month or so is a less costly alternative than lithium-ion. Also, due to the reduced usage rate, you will bypass several shortcomings of lead-acid technology, such as their lower lifespan.
Many people, for a long time, had the impression that lead-acid batteries are cheaper than lithium-ion batteries. However, you must note that with this reduced cost of a lead-acid battery, comes less power storage, efficiency, and discharge capacity.
Also, after looking at the points above, we can conclude that a lithium-ion battery, with its higher efficiency, storage capacity, and prolonged lifespan, makes a more affordable battery option than lead-acid. Hence, if you aspire to get a robust solar battery, a lithium-ion battery system can be a lucrative option.
Get the best-grade lithium-ion batteries at Waaree
If you are looking for the best-grade lithium-ion battery system at the most competitive rates, stop your quest at Waaree. At Waaree Solar, we have been driving India’s renewable energy sector for more than three decades by rendering high-grade solar products and services to our clients in India and overseas.
Our principal aim is to design products that ease and brighten our customers’ lives without being heavy on their pockets. Apart from manufacturing solar panels, we also cater to your installation and service needs to warrant that you always get the cleanest form of energy for a better sustainable future.