Although lithium batteries are more sought-after than before, the composition of their constituents varies. The composition of the batteries plays a massive role in their performance.
The two well-known varieties of lithium ion batteries to store solar energy, nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) and lithium iron phosphate (LFP), are excellent choices for homeowners who wish to reserve their solar panels’ electricity. But which is the best choice for you?
Lithium-ion batteries, what are they, and how do they function?
First, learning the fundamental working of lithium ion batteries is necessary. The four primary elements you should know are:
The cathode: This stores lithium ions while the battery is charging.
The anode: This stores lithium ions while the battery is discharging.
The electrolyte: It contains lithium ions.
The separator: Permits the movement of lithium ions and forbids the movement of electrons.
The cathode transfers lithium ions to the anode during charging. The anode transfers lithium ions to the cathode during discharge.
While the battery charges, lithium ions, with the help of the electrolyte, travel from the cathode towards the anode. The opposite process takes place during the operation of a battery. Ions’ back and forth movement results in an electrical current that flows between the battery and the electrical devices.
What are NMC Lithium Batteries?
They can be described as a kind of lithium ion battery. NMC batteries are cathode-based batteries comprised of manganese, nickel, and cobalt. They are the power source for laptops, smartphones, and electric vehicles. Moreover, they are among the most well-known alternatives for solar power storage.
NMC batteries have surpassed lead-acid batteries as the most sought-after option for solar storage because their lifespan is longer, they need less upkeep, and they can reserve more energy. Interestingly, the majority of well-known solar batteries available currently include NMC batteries.
Name Storage Cost
|Tesla Powerwall||Generac PWRCell||LG RESU10H Prime|
|Capacity||13.5 kWh||9 kWh||9.6 kWh|
|Price (prior to installation||$8,500||$10,000||$7,700|
*Approximate cost before the installation price, incentives, and tax credits offered by the federal government.
The definition of an LFP Lithium Batteries
LFP batteries contain a lithium iron phosphate cathode (LiFePO4). The constituents of the battery include iron and phosphate used for the cathode. These raw materials are plentiful and cost less than some components used in making NMC batteries, primarily cobalt. Furthermore, the materials used in LFP batteries are much safer than those used to make NMC batteries. This is a great advantage as these materials can be reused after lifespan.
Nowadays, many companies are producing LFP batteries compared to NMC for storing energy in homes. This is because LFP batteries are less harmful and more reliable. Few of the well-known LFP batteries for home use are:
Name Storage Cost
|Enphase’s IQ 10||BYD Battery Box HVS||SonnenCore|
|Capacity||10.08 kWh||10.24 kWh||10 kWh|
|Price (prior to installation||$9,000||$7,700||$9,500|
*Approximate cost prior to the installation price, incentives, as well as tax credits offered by the federal government.
LFP Vs. NMC
Several important factors to think about when looking for a solar-powered battery are potential, longevity, security, price, and general worth.
The general effectiveness that comes from NMC or LFP Lithium Batteries is almost equal. They are available in a range of sizes, ranging from as low as 3 kWh up to 20 kWh. Most homeowners require 10-kWh storage, which can be found in both kinds.
However, a few minor dissimilarities are present between them. LFPs are somewhat more efficient and operate more efficiently in situations where the charge is low in comparison to NMCs. NMCs can tolerate more frigid temperatures in comparison to LFPs. But you shouldn’t be concerned about this issue if the battery is located in a closed area, or if the location doesn’t have any extreme temperature fluctuations.
NMC batteries possess greater energy density. Their physical dimensions will be lower than LFP batteries with similar capacity. This is not a significant issue for homeowners; however, having little space, it is wiser to invest in an NMC battery.
Lifecycle Winner: LFP Lithium Batteries
A battery keeps losing the capability to store charges as long as it is used. Consider a mobile phone. As it is used, it needs to be charged more often than when it was first purchased, which is similar to solar batteries.
Deterioration is slow in LFP Lithium Batteries. They can hold and exude more power as compared to NMC batteries. Be aware that quality affects the period of a battery, so please read the product’s warranty before choosing a battery.
An inexpensive, unprofessional LFP battery will not last against a premium NMC battery. However, you will not find numerous low-quality batteries as long as you pick an accredited installer.
Safety Winner: LFP
The biggest advantage of selecting the LFP battery is its security. At higher temperatures, the merger of phosphate and lithium-iron is more durable than nickel manganese cobalt.
Additionally, LFP Lithium batteries are better at coping with huge energy draws. This is why LFP Lithium Batteries have a lower chance of thermal runaway. Consequently, LFP batteries have a lower chance of catching flames than NMC batteries.
We aren’t saying that an NMC battery is more likely to ignite impulsively. However, if an NMC battery is subjected to excessive tension or is treated incorrectly it is more likely to have bad repercussions. And so, it is essential to choose a licensed and certified installer to reduce the chance of any accidents.
Cost of the Initial Payment Winner: NMC
NMC batteries are slightly less expensive in comparison to LFP batteries, mostly due to the scale of operations. NMC batteries are more popular across the States. Therefore, their cost is less.
Moreover, LFP batteries are a little larger. They require more effort to install and transfer. Cabinets housing the LFP cells also require additional materials due to their larger size.
The price distinction between NMC and LFP is more important when talking on a bigger scale. In the case of solar for homes, often times there are both kinds of chemistry within the same area.
Worth Winner: LFP Lithium Batteries
NMC batteries are less expensive but LFP Lithium Batteries offer more for your money. The amount of power is an important consideration in determining the best value. Frequently, LFP batteries are the best due to their extended lifecycle.
An effective method of telling this is with an illustration. We will take a look at how the SonnenCore battery compares against the LG Chem Prime:
|sonnenCore||LG Chem Prime|
|Capacity||10 kWh||10 kWh|
|Price (prior to installation||$9,500||$7,000|
Energy production in the warranty duration* 58,000kWh 32,000kWh
*Approximate electricity discharge prior to the battery having 70% of its original capacity
Nearly double usage comes out of the LFP sonnenCore compared to NMC LG Chem Prime. Spending extra for the initial cost is beneficial. Plus, LFPs don’t relinquish their conduction.
We strongly suggest choosing LFP Lithium batteries to power your solar system. While they may come with a higher cost, they are durable, have a longer lifespan, and perform equally well compared to NMC batteries.
However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t choose NMC batteries. They can still perform admirably in storing solar energy. If it’s a more convenient choice, then go for NMC. NMC is also best if you have a cramped space for installation.
What’s more essential is to select a good installer rather than selecting the correct chemical composition of the battery. A reliable local battery installation service can assist you throughout the process to ensure you find the correct dimensions, kind, and price to suit your specific needs. They guarantee that you get the best installation to protect the safety of your home.