The advantages of lithium-ion battery (LiFePo4) in solar applications
The future of energy storage depends on pushing the limits. We need battery solutions with greater capacity, greater power potential, longer life, sustainability, and safety, and meeting the needs of today’s serious consumers. Lithium-ion batteries have become the first choice for grid-connected solar backup systems, and the reasons are easy to understand. However, with the advancement of technology, a new winner has emerged in the competition for energy storage solutions: lithium iron phosphate batteries (LiFePO4).
The lithium iron phosphate technology (also known as LFP or LiFePO4) that appeared in 1996 is replacing other battery technologies due to its technical advantages and very high level of safety.
Due to its high power density, this technology is used for medium-power traction applications (robots, AGVs, electric vehicles, last-mile delivery, etc.) or heavy traction applications (ship towing, industrial vehicles, etc.)
The long service life of LFP and the possibility of deep cycling allow LiFePO4 to be used in energy storage applications (standalone applications, off-grid systems, battery self-consumption) or general fixed storage.
Lithium iron phosphate uses similar chemical properties to lithium ions and uses iron as the cathode material. Compared with their lithium-ion counterparts, the advantages of LiFePo4 are many. Let us explore the many reasons why lithium iron phosphate batteries have become the future of solar storage.
The advantages of lithium-ion battery: Battery Life
Battery life is one of the advantages of lithium-ion batteries. The life cycle of lithium iron phosphate batteries is two to four times that of lithium-ion batteries. This is partly because the lithium iron phosphate options are more stable at high temperatures, so they are resilient to overcharging. In addition, lithium iron phosphate batteries can be stored for longer periods of time without degradation.
A longer life cycle is particularly helpful for solar installations because the high installation costs and the replacement of batteries can destroy the entire electrical system of the building. The current life cycle of solar panels and energy management systems is as long as 20 or 30 years. A battery that maintains high efficiency after multiple cycles will better match the life of the entire solar system.
The advantages of lithium-ion battery: Environmental impact
Unlike basic lithium-ion batteries, lithium-iron phosphate batteries are made of non-toxic materials: iron, graphite, and copper. They are easy to recycle and can even be reused as new batteries. In fact, consumers who want to reduce their environmental impact can already use recycled batteries.
The longer the life of the lithium iron phosphate battery, the more beneficial it is to the earth. Manufacturing new batteries require energy and resources, so the longer they are used, the lower the overall carbon footprint.
In addition, the metal oxides in lithium-ion batteries have the dangerous potential to bleed into the environment. Although batteries are designed for safe disposal, many batteries end up in landfills, causing serious health problems to anyone nearby. Lithium iron phosphate batteries contain phosphates instead of metal oxides, which greatly reduces the risk of environmental pollution. Overall, this is one of the advantages of LiFePo4 in long term.
The advantages of lithium-ion battery: Safety
The strongest argument for lithium iron phosphate batteries relative to lithium-ion batteries may be their stability and safety. In solar energy applications, batteries are usually installed in residences or close to overcrowded office buildings, and safety is an extremely important factor to consider.
Since the energy density of lithium iron phosphate batteries is lower than that of lithium-ion batteries, lithium iron phosphate batteries must be larger than lithium-ion batteries to maintain the same energy. However, the space trade-off is that chemicals are significantly more stable at high temperatures. Lithium-iron phosphate batteries are actually non-flammable, even if they are not handled properly. The low toxicity of lithium iron phosphate batteries also reduces the risk of allergic reactions, accidental poisoning, and other medical hazards.
The advantages of lithium-ion battery: Cost
The inevitable question in the minds of consumers and manufacturers is: Which is cheaper to produce? Fortunately, in addition to all the practical benefits of lithium iron phosphate batteries, they are also a more economical choice.
There are several reasons for this. Compared with the cobalt in lithium-ion batteries, the raw materials of lithium iron phosphate batteries are not rare and therefore cheaper. Secondly, the materials in lithium iron phosphate batteries are safer to handle, so they are easier and cheaper to manufacture. Finally, compared with lithium-ion batteries, LiFePO4 batteries have a longer service life, which saves consumers costs because the frequency of battery replacement is lower.
The advantages of lithium-ion battery: Depth of discharge
The deep discharge capability of lithium iron phosphate batteries can protect them from damage due to excessive consumption of energy in the battery. The LiFePO4 battery can be completely discharged without affecting the delivery capacity. This advantage makes lithium-iron phosphate batteries an ideal choice for solar devices because multiple batteries can be connected to increase storage capacity. The battery can then be discharged at a different rate without causing any damage.
The advantages of lithium-ion battery: Discharge rate
Lithium iron phosphate batteries have the additional advantage of a stable discharge rate. When needed, they can also discharge at a higher rate than lithium-ion batteries. This means that when the power in the grid-connected solar installation drops and multiple devices are online at the same time, the lithium iron phosphate backup battery will handle the load without complications.
The advantages of a lithium-ion battery are obvious. The deep discharge capability of lithium iron phosphate batteries can protect them from damage caused by excessive battery energy consumption. This advantage makes lithium-iron phosphate batteries an ideal choice for solar devices because multiple batteries can be connected to increase storage capacity.
Although both lithium-ion batteries and lithium iron phosphate batteries are reasonable choices for solar power generation systems, LiFePO4 batteries provide consumers and manufacturers with the best advantages. Although batteries have made great strides in the past 20 years, for solar energy to reach its full potential in the market, energy storage solutions must catch up. Lithium iron phosphate battery has a longer shelf life, less environmental impact, higher stability, better performance, and lower cost, which is the best way forward. Any interested, just contact us.