What factors should you consider when choosing between lithium and lead battery to use for your solar storage?
- Depth of Discharge
If you stumbled upon this article, then chances are you’re thinking of having a solar system in the Philippines installed to your home. Or you could just be someone who’s interested in solar power and wants to know everything about the technology.
Either way, we’re sure you’ve heard of the lithium vs lead battery debate. This is an ongoing discussion in the solar power industry and no one has yet to determine the clear winner. Typically, solar batteries are made using lead-acid technology. But recently, big companies have opted to use Lithium-Ion.
You’d think that with companies switching sides, lithium would immediately be the winner, but that’s not quite the case. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages.
In this article, we won’t be telling you which of the two is better – you will be the one to decide that. What we’re going to give you is a fair comparison of the two battery types, so you can do the judging yourself.
Depth of Discharge
The depth of discharge (DOD) refers to how deep you can drain the battery during every cycle. The deeper the DOD, the fewer discharge cycles and the shorter the service life. Lithium batteries can be discharged up to 95% and lead batteries are limited to 50%.
What this means is that you can typically use lead batteries for a few hundred cycles and lithium batteries can be used for 6,000 to 10,000+ cycles. To put it simply, lead batteries will have to be replaced up to 10 times more often as compared to lithium batteries. This also signifies that lithium batteries have much longer lifespans than lead batteries.
Lead batteries are difficult to transport and install because of their sheer weight. There is no way to change this as the materials used to make lead solar batteries are heavy. Because of this, people are turning to a lighter alternative which is lithium solar batteries.
Lithium batteries are significantly lighter and can lower shipping costs by 80%. They also help cut installation costs by large amounts. The low shipping and installation costs make lithium batteries much more appealing than lead batteries.
In terms of safety, both types are harmful to the human body and the environment, but lithium has a slight advantage. Although lithium, in its purest form, is more harmful, technologies and safety mechanisms are employed to increase its safety. At the moment, it is considered to be one of the safest batteries in the market.
Lead batteries, on the other hand, continuously produce electrolytes and they also produce hydrogen when overcharged. On top of this, lead acid is a very dangerous substance. Despite being equipped with safety mechanisms to reduce risks, lead batteries still lose to the lithium batteries in terms of safety.
We now tackle the final aspect to consider which is cost. Judging from how lithium batteries came out on top, it’s safe to say that they’re the most expensive option. All its advantages and benefits don’t come for free, after all. Lithium batteries cost 3 to 4 times more than any average lead battery. Moreover, lead battery prices are expected to continuously decrease in the coming years.
If we’re keeping score, then lithium batteries would be the clear winner as it beat lead batteries 3 times out of 4. However, it isn’t as easy as tallying up scores. Choosing the best solar storage battery still depends on several things like intended use and purpose.
There are other things you need to take into account before you have your Philippine solar systems installed. If you still can’t decide between the two, then don’t hesitate to discuss it with your provider. We’re sure they’ll be able to give you proper advice!