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Li-Fe Batteries – Do they stack up?

Date: October 13, 2017

As a solar installer and designer, I receive many enquiries regarding Lithium-Ion (Li-Fe) batteries. Li-Fe batteries are popular, but it’s worthwhile to consider the more ‘traditional’ Gell Cell deep cycle batteries; I see many cases where Gell Cell may be a more practical solution for someone wanting to invest in a solar power system.

Most Li-Fe batteries are designed for the “Hybrid” method of using solar power. Hybrid is a combination of solar, grid and battery back-up. In a Hybrid system, batteries rely on the grid to recharge if there is not sufficient solar energy: Li-Fe batteries only contain a minimal amount of storage i.e. 10 kW/hrs.

The standard solution for Li-Fe batteries minimal amount of storage is to simply add more of them – which works, but there are options that may be competitive for those seeking the most efficient battery storage for their needs:

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If you already have an existing solar power system and are considering a “Hybrid” type of battery storage, a traditional Gell Cell deep cycle battery may be more suitable for your needs. Consider these points:

Most systems I install for the Off-Grid market typically contain between 25 – 75 kW/hrs of storage.

From a design perspective, this storage gives a system,

-       Less dependence on a back-up generator,

-       Increases the overall life-expectancy of the batteries,

-       Allows enough energy stored for days when less solar radiation is experienced.

Additionally, it must be noted that Li-Fe batteries are 25% more expensive than traditional Gell Cell deep-cycle batteries.

If you have an existing solar array connected to the grid and you are seriously considering battery storage to augment that system, traditional Gell Cell deep-cycle batteries are an excellent option.