You’ve probably heard of lithium batteries before. They’ve been around for quite some time, but over the years, their uses and their reliability have greatly improved. Now, lithium batteries are one of the go-to types of battery storage for solar-powered systems. But what is lithium battery technology, why is it the preferred solar storage solution, and how does it differ from other types of batteries? Keep reading to learn more about this type of Simpliphi battery and its advantages and disadvantages.

Simpliphi 48 Volt Lithium Battery

What Is a Lithium Battery?

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that the phrase “lithium battery” actually refers to a specific category of batteries and not a single type of battery. In fact, there are 6 types of lithium batteries that are commonly used, and each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. For the purpose of this article, we’ll be talking about lithium iron phosphate (LiFeP04 or LFP) batteries.

Lithium batteries are composed of many cells, and LFP batteries, in particular, provide extremely stable lithium chemistry. They’re assembled with a cathode material (or iron phosphate) that is naturally safe and promotes a strong molecular bond within the battery. This makes LFP batteries safer than most other battery types.


Use in Solar Systems

LFP batteries work extremely well in solar-powered systems, in part because of their nominal voltage, which is 3.2 volts per lithium battery cell. This allows for cells to be easily connected to create either a 12-volt, 24-volt, or 48-volt deep cycle lithium battery, which works exceptionally well with the typical 12-, 24-, and 48-volt inverters found in solar systems. This makes it easy to find an LFP battery that is compatible with your existing solar-powered system.

Another reason they’re preferred for solar setups is due to their efficiency. Efficiency is always a top concern when designing a solar-powered system. You want the right panels arranged in the right way for the most efficient power generation. You want inverters that convert the energy current with minimal loss. And of course, you want batteries to store that energy without losing too much charge. The round-trip efficiency (e.g., from full charge to completely discharged and back to a full charge again) of a lead acid battery is roughly 80%—and other types of batteries can be even worse. But an LFP battery offers a round-trip efficiency between 95% and 98%.


Other Advantages

In addition to those described above, LFP batteries offer numerous other advantages over their counterparts:

  • They contain neither cobalt nor nickel, which are more expensive materials.
  • They offer a longer cycle life than other lithium batteries.
  • They provide a constant discharge voltage, allowing the cell to deliver full power until completely discharged; this can eliminate the need for voltage regulation circuitry.
  • There are fewer environmental concerns because of the batteries’ use of phosphates.
  • They have a longer lifespan (aka, a slower rate of capacity loss) than other lithium batteries.
  • They are more thermally and chemically stable, and therefore, inherently safer.

If you’re designing a solar setup, or if you’re just looking to add a battery bank to your existing system for energy storage, we strongly recommend a lithium iron phosphate battery. Take a look at our inventory of LFP batteries, or contact The PowerStore, Inc., if you have any questions.