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Renewable Energy: The Ultimate Guide to Lithium Solar Batteries

Looking for the best energy storage for your solar panel system? Check out our ultimate guide to lithium solar batteries. 

As renewable energy sources become more available, the question of viability turns to the storage medium. Of the various forms of power storage technology that exists on the market, lithium solar batteries offer the most storage potential.

If you're looking to install solar panels on your home or business, this article provides an ultimate guide to lithium solar batteries.

What is Solar Energy Storage?

Energy storage is essential if you have a solar array hooked up to your home or building. In order to run electronics on the energy you catch on your solar panels, you must store the energy somewhere. That storage medium is a battery.

So, after the sun is down, you can tap into your reserve of solar power to watch television, make a smoothie, run your water heater, and so on.

Without a solar storage battery, your electricity use is limited to the hours during which the sun is providing immediately available power. Most of the day, you are likely to be out of the house, anyway.

If you cannot store your excess solar power during the day, it will divert back to the grid and give you a refund on your energy bill. But, with efficient enough storage batteries, you can go off-the-grid, altogether.

Lithium Solar Batteries Explained

Solar cells capture the energy emitted from the suns light rays. This energy can power your home and appliances as long as the sun is shining. But, if you want to store excess energy for use at night, you need a storage medium.

Solar batteries store the power harnessed during the daytime so that you can use it later. There are several types of solar batteries on the market...

Lead Acid Batteries

Lead acid batteries are the most common and inexpensive battery type. They are the type of battery in your car.

Lead acid batteries are composed of electrode grids, containing lead oxides. While charging, the lead oxides change their chemical composition, via a diluted sulfuric acid electrolyte.

Lead acid batteries present problems for renewable energy sequestration. The biggest problem is in loss of storage efficiency over time. Over continued use, the lead oxide electrodes begin to flake away, sacrificing storage capacity.

Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) Batteries

Nickel and Cadmium batteries or NiCd batteries are very efficient but expensive to manufacture. These batteries provide a constant rate of power discharge which does not decrease until the end of a charge.

They are commonly used in hospital emergency lighting, standby power units, and security power supplies. The downside for renewable power storage is that NiCd batteries lose power during a charge. The faster the battery charges, the less excess power is lost in the process.

The storage efficiency of a NiCd battery is somewhere between 60 to 80 percent. NiCd's use non-standard voltages for charging, which makes it difficult to pair with your solar power inverter.

Nickel-Iron (NiFe) Batteries

Nickel-iron batteries, or NiFe, are poorly suited for solar power storage. These batteries loose as much as 50 percent of their storage efficiency from its high discharge rate. For a solar system, this storage medium reduces your energy efficiency by up to 25 percent.

Though NiFe batteries are not ideal for solar power storage, they have benefits for other renewable uses.

Nickel-iron batteries are also called the Edison Cell. They have a very long life and are extremely resistant to temperature differentiation and physical stress. This battery type is used in mining and locomotives for there resistance to malfunctions due to intense vibration.

Nickel-iron batteries are in the process of development for use in hydrogen fuel-cell powered cars.

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) Batteries

Lithium-ion or Li-ion batteries are the most well suited to the job of storing excess solar power. Unlike lead-acid and NiFe batteries, lithium-ion has a very low self-discharge rate. So, over the life of the battery, the storage capacity remains constant.

Another benefit of Li-ion is they are more lightweight than the competition and provide a longer cycle life. Li-ion batteries are typically guaranteed for up to 1,000 cycles before the unit decreases in efficiency.

Li-ion batteries are perfect for the commercial and residential solar market, due to there cost-effectiveness and high-performance quality. So much so, that Elon Musk designed the Tesla Power Wall around a lithium-ion battery.

Going Off-the-grid with Solar

If you want to go completely off-the-grid and get all of your power completely from solar cells, you need a lot of storage. The suns light provides far more energy than you can use in a day, but the trick is capturing it. The issue is not the solar panels, but your battery storage system.

The most popular rechargeable solar battery on the market is the Tesla Power Wall. It is built with a battery inverter and liquid thermal controls. The newest version of the Power Wall has a capacity of 15 kWh per day.

If you are looking to go completely off-grid with solar power, you will need more than 15 kWh per day, so look into multiple power banks. On average, a 2,000 square foot home will use around 30 kWh of electricity in any given 24-hour period.

Tesla is not the only maker of solar storage batteries, but the company currently touts the best product. Other lithium solar battery alternatives are available from a variety of battery and vehicle manufacturers that want their own piece of the market. Luckily, this means more choice for the consumer.

Final Thoughts

Lithium solar batteries are the clear choice if you want to harness renewable solar energy for your home. Keep your eye on LG, Tesla, and Mercadies for the best lithium solar batteries.

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