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Choosing Between a Lead-Acid and a Lithium Battery for Your Solar System

Ashleigh AngellNovember 5, 2018840

Choosing Between a Lead-Acid and a Lithium Battery for Your Solar System

Whether you’re totally off the grid or you just want some added energy savings in your home, deciding which battery to use may be a confusing and tough decision. While lead-acid is the older and more mainstream option, the maintenance and lifespan of this type of battery might make you wonder if it’s actually a good option. Meanwhile, lithium batteries live longer and perform better, but they’re new and cost a lot more. And that just scratches the surface. Keep reading this blog to figure out more in-depth differences between the two to help you decide which is the right choice for you.

Your Three Main Battery Options

When deciding whether you want a lead-acid or lithium battery, you don’t have two choices, you actually have three, as there are two types of lead-acid batteries to choose from.

The first type of lead-acid battery is a flooded lead-acid (FLA) battery. FLA batteries have plates submerged in water, meaning they require regular inspections and to be refilled every one to three months in order to keep them functioning effectively. If you don’t keep up with these maintenance requirements, the batteries will die much faster and you may even void your warranty. If you don’t think you can keep up with this maintenance, these probably aren’t the right choice for you. You’ll also need to have a ventilated enclosure to install them in so that gases from the battery are able to escape.

The next type of lead-acid battery is a sealed lead-acid (SLA) battery. And these also come in two types: AGM (absorbent glass mat) and gel. Unlike FLA batteries, they don’t require very much maintenance and are spill-proof. Gel batteries have lower charges and outputs, meaning they take longer to recharge and send less power to your home. Because of this, they are also the cheaper of the two options.

Finally, your third option is a lithium battery. These batteries will last you the longest, require no maintenance, and don’t need to be placed in any ventilated enclosure. Their main downfall is that they cost more, but that’s because they also have extra efficiency, meaning they’ll be able to pay themselves off in no time.

Choosing Which Battery is the Right Choice For You

Which battery is the right choice for you really depends on your unique situation.

If you’re going off the grid full-time, you’ll want either an FLA or lithium battery.

If you’re only going off-grid in your vacation home or cabin, you’ll want an SLA battery which requires no maintenance.

If you’re creating a battery backup system, you’ll want an SLA battery, since, like the off-grid vacation home, you won’t be using them very often and won’t have to worry about maintenance.

If you’re powering an industrial site, you’ll want SLA or lithium. Lithium if you’re using it for heavy use, SLA if it’s for less tough jobs. SLA will be the cheaper option if you don’t need a lot of efficiency and output and you won’t have to worry about maintenance with either option.

Want to learn more about installing storage into your solar power system? Check out the HahaSmart blog for tons more resources and information to keep yourself prepared and ready to make these storage changes!

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