As a solar customer, it is important that you know what a solar lighting system comprises of and out of all the components, it is crucial to get information about rechargeable solar batteries as the performance of your solar lights solely depends upon the quality of the battery. Traditional solar lights used lead acid batteries and they were a popular choice because of their compatible price range.
One of the big challenges in using lead acid batteries in solar lighting units is that they require bigger solar panels and in order to charge a lead acid battery, a solar panel has to produce minimum 12 V; therefore, during non-sunny days, it is almost impossible to charge these batteries. Lithium ion batteries take up a lot of space, hence they are not the right fit for modern solar lights, which are compact in size and have in-built components.
The latest solar light designs use lithium ion batteries which are better than their earlier counterparts in the context of price and size. Lithium batteries have been in use for commercial applications since the 1990s and over the last few years, it is proven to be the most used and reliable energy storage technology. They are being used to operate laptops, medical equipment, mobile phones, cameras, electric vehicles, etc.
Their high energy density and being the lightest metal help them produce a lot of energy without being heavy, which works perfectly for the present-day lightweight, energy-efficient solar lights. Li-ion batteries live up to five times longer than lead-acid batteries with an average lifespan of around 5 to 6 years. Since they do not require frequent maintenance like lead acid batteries, they are practically the best for solar lights.
One of the safest lithium battery type available now is lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) which is considered a premium battery technology. This battery has a longer lifespan and are highly efficient and compact as compared to lithium ion battery. It has been observed that solar lights with LiFePO4 batteries sustain their brightness for longer hours, which is a useful quality in keeping the area illuminated during non-sunny days.
LiFePO4 is also preferred for its pollution-free content and high quality cells. These batteries are known for their environmental compatibility with good electrochemical and thermal stability. The depth of discharge (DoD) of LiFePO4 batteries is higher than lithium ion batteries, which means you can use more energy stored in the battery. Another quality of this type of battery is that it can withstand extreme weather conditions.
Both lithium-ion and LiFePO4 batteries can be charged effectively with 3.2 V or 3.7 V of power which means smaller solar panels will work properly and they do not have to generate a lot of power to charge these batteries. This quality of the batteries along with the light’s energy-saving features will help the solar lights to perform well even during cloudy days. Lithium batteries are priced higher than lead acid batteries but given the fact that they can function for a longer time without any problem, they do not require replacement for a long time.