VLRA VS. Lithium Battery for Solar Panel Usage

If you are considering picking the best batteries for your solar system, then you can read this article to find out the best answer. Whether you connect to the grid or you want to get out completely. It is necessary to understand which technology fits your needs, budget, and lifestyle. You may consider VLRA vs. Lithium Battery for your solar system.

Traditionally, the lead-acid batteries or Sealed Gel VRLA batteries have been a standard in the term of solar energy storage. However, they are a technology which been tested and used worldwide for over 100 years. With the recent emergence of lithium batteries, there are new options that are more efficient, smaller, and longer lifespans.

If you think about batteries for your solar system, and choose which technology that you need to use, then you can check this article to know an in-depth look and find the best battery.

The difference between VLRA and Lithium Batteries

To help you understand these batteries, then you can start with a summary of each type.

Lead-acid or currently VLRA batteries have invented in the 1800s, and it was still a popular type of rechargeable battery. They are widely used in lighting, UPS systems, vehicles, and energy storage applications as well.

There are some types of lead-acid batteries, but they usually contain a mixture of sulphuric, lead dioxide, and water. They will create a chemical reaction to store and release electricity, but it can produce excessive water, and in some cases may release gas as well.

Lead-acid was a proven technology that is also cost-effective and reliable. However, they are heavy need special treats and have limited lifespans. So, you need another alternative.

Lithium batteries have first developed in 1912, but they did not earn commercial momentum until in the early 90s. They are lighter, smaller, and maintenance-free, these batteries have widely used in laptops, electric vehicles, phones, and even solar energy systems as well.

Lithium batteries contain electrodes that came from lightweight carbon and lithium to store and export the electricity without causing external discharge. This battery was more expensive than the lead-acid, but it is compact, easy to install, and efficient.

Also Read: How to Extend the Deep Cycle Battery’s Life in 8 Simple Steps

a. The size and weight

At the first glance, the most obvious difference between these batteries is their size and weight. You will know after reading this article.

Lead-acid batteries or VLRA batteries are bulky, heavy, and need to be stored on the ground or specific cabinets. Usually, you need to install it in a spacious garage or storage area. Some lead acids also released gas during operation, and ventilation becomes a necessary factor to consider.

Lithium batteries are smaller, lightweight, and compact. You can install it in the sealed unit or on the floor in your cabinet. This battery offers you a high energy density, and it can store six times more energy than lead-acid batteries.

However, this battery does not need a specific ventilation system, but you recommend installing it in a location with good airflow.

So, lead-acid batteries are a great and reliable choice for many applications. Lithium batteries have some advantages, such as weight, size, and flexibility for installation. For suburban homes or compact homes, lithium batteries can be mounted on a wall to give a practical solution. So, when you know about VLRA vs. Lithium Battery, you can choose based on your need.

Also Read: Why You Should Use Deep Cycle Battery Instead of Car Battery for Solar Panel

b. DOD (Depth of Discharge) and Usable Energy

Batteries cannot work in the same way that buckets do. So, it is necessary to understand that the battery capacity is not the same amount as the energy that you can get. You may know about Depth of Discharge which refers to how much of the total capacity which you can use before the battery needs to recharge.

The lead-acid batteries or VLRA batteries may have a shallow DOD that is generally recommended around 20 percent to 30 percent. It means if your battery bank can hold around 10 kWh of energy, then you can access 2-3 kWh of the usable energy.

You may draw more than this energy, but it can damage the battery and shorten the lifespan. For this reason, most systems have control systems to avoid it.

However, lithium batteries can be discharged more, around 80 percent or even 100 percent in some cases. It means that with a 10 kWh battery, you can get at least 8 kWh of energy that you can use or even a full kWh.

Shortly, lithium batteries have some advantages when it comes to how much electricity that you can draw. With some batteries which can release down to 0 percent capacity and recharge back up to 100 percent. They provide more access to usable energy.

Also Read: How to Make a Powerwall with 18650 Lithium Batteries

c. The efficiency

Another common term that you will learn is round-trip efficiency. When you put energy into the battery and take it out again, the battery system will run most of that energy during the process. Shortly, the round-trip efficiency will refer to how much energy that you can draw.

The lead-acid batteries or VLRA batteries have a round-trip efficiency of around 80 percent. It means that for every 10 kWh of energy that you put in your battery, you can draw of 8 KWh as well. You can consider it if you need it.

The lithium battery offers you a higher round-trip efficiency, it is around 90 percent. This battery is very efficient to store and release energy and consuming very little during the process.

Shortly, these both batteries are efficient, but lithium also has the edge in the term of how much-stored energy will return as the usable energy. It is a necessary factor to know, even a slight difference can affect your life system.

Even lithium battery needs less maintenance system. Although there are new VLRA lead-acid batteries that need a little attention, there are latest lithium batteries do not need any maintenance at all. After you understand about VLRA vs. Lithium Battery, you can choose which is the best battery for your solar system.

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