Variations between SLA and LiFEPO4 batteries

By Contributing Author April 26, 2023

This piece was contributed by Lawrence Zhou, CEO of Nature’s Generator

Batteries are central to the development of unpolluted energy, however concise, correct details about the professionals and cons of various battery varieties could be exhausting to return by. For that cause, Nature’s Generator put collectively a fast primer on two of probably the most vital kinds of batteries presently in use in solar + storage purposes: sealed lead acid (SLA) batteries and lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries.

Sealed lead acid (SLA) batteries

SLA batteries are the sort that off-grid renewable energy professionals are possible most conversant in. SLA batteries retailer electrical energy by means of a course of involving chemical reactions between water, lead, and sulfuric acid. Somewhat extremely, this know-how has now been in use for over 150 years, and may nonetheless be present in every thing from vehicles and wheelchairs, to scooters and golf carts, to total giant, grid-scale power methods—as well as, in fact, to solar and wind energy turbines.

The advantages of SLA batteries in a clear energy context are manifold. For one factor, they’re cheap to fabricate, and thus extra inexpensive than many other forms of batteries, providing the most effective worth per ampere hour. This isn’t any small factor when it’s extensively agreed that value will likely be one of the vital elements relating to the widespread adoption of unpolluted energy.

Their large (and constant) availability can be important right here: US-made lead batteries normally comprise upwards of 80% recycled materials, which signifies that international disruptions to the provision chain barely affect their manufacturing.

SLA batteries can also deal with a a lot bigger discharging present than different kinds of batteries and may carry out nicely in chilly climate.

Lithium iron phosphate (LiFEPO4) batteries

LiFEPO4 batteries are a considerably newer phenomenon in comparison with SLA batteries—they had been invented in 1996, roughly 137 years after SLA batteries had been first invented by the French physicist Gaston Plante. But don’t let the novelty idiot you: LiFEPO4 batteries are a potent know-how with wide-ranging implications for the wind and solar power trade.

A fast listing of their advantages features a longer lifespan, increased effectivity, and the truth that they’re environmentally pleasant to make use of and to make. Their lighter weight also needs to be considered — LiFEPO4 batteries possess an extra 50% (roughly) of exploitable energy capability, whereas weighing 70% lower than SLA batteries.

Safety, too, can’t be discounted right here — LiFEPO4 batteries are arguably the most secure available on the market. They carry out nicely in excessive temperatures, staying cool, and subsequently a lot much less prone to thermal runaway. And as a result of they’ve minimal degradation and distinctive thermal and chemical stability, not even harsh temperatures or severe affect occasions will begin a fireplace or explosion—as a result of (crucially) LiFEPO4 batteries are incombustible.

Mixing and matching


Which to decide on in your solar + storage system? An superb reply is to not select, as a result of each battery varieties have their very own strengths and capacities. For causes of accessibility, affordability and suppleness, solar + storage installers ought to enable prospects to utilize each SLA and LiFEPO4 batteries.

In truth, as a common rule, compatibility is at all times a very good factor relating to renewable energy methods, and the extra of it the higher. That means not solely having the ability to use SLA and LiFEPO4 batteries however, additionally, having the ability to use each previous and new batteries of no matter sort.

Right now, customers are continually suggested to not combine previous and new batteries collectively, on the logic that this may velocity up the demise of the previous battery—however through the use of developments like eco-intelligent lithium, customers can forestall this downside and get probably the most out of their renewable energy investments.

It is difficult to overstate how a lot batteries matter to each solar energy targets and the way forward for our planet. Understanding the professionals and cons of every sort is important for many who need to affect the planet with out breaking the financial institution.

Lawrence Zhou is the CEO of Nature’s Generator, a pacesetter in renewable solar and wind energy home integration merchandise.

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