Lithium Iron Battery

Lithium Iron Battery For Solar Off-Grid Alternative Energy Systems

Lithium Iron Battery

The Lithium Iron battery from Iron Edison has significant advantages for solar panel alternative energy storage.

Consider these benefits over Lead Acid:

1. SAFE. Unlike lithium-ion ‘cobalt’ batteries that you may have heard about (catching fire in laptops, mobile phones), the Lithium Iron phosphate battery from Iron Edison (made in Denver Colorado) will not explode or catch fire. It’s thermal stability makes it safe. No thermal runaway.

2. MORE ENERGY. Its electrochemical capacity allows it to store more energy than lead acid. Thus the ability to design smaller more efficient battery sizes. Typically 1/4 the size and weight of lead acid.

3. DEPTH OF DISCHARGE. Incredibly, the Iron Edison Lithium Iron battery can safely be discharged down to 20% state of charge (80% DOD) while maintaining an approximate daily use life expectancy of 6000 cycles. That’s 16 years!

4. SEALED & MAINTENANCE FREE. No venting, no maintenance. Install anywhere.

5. COST SAVINGS. While the initial outlay is seemingly expensive, if you do the math it’s competitively less than other battery choices. When looking at my own cost analysis it was significantly less expensive.

Lithium Iron Battery
Cost Analysis Comparison

This is simply my own comparison between my current lead acid (AGM) battery bank and the closest size Lithium Iron battery from Iron Edison.

When my present battery bank goes, I’m going to seriously look into this.

LEAD ACID AGM LITHIUM IRON
600 AH @ 48V capacity 400 AH @ 48V capacity
30% DOD (max for 5 yr life) 80% DOD (max for 16 yr life)
180 usable AH (30% DOD) 320 usable AH (80% DOD)
8.6 kWh usable 15.4 kWh usable
 $      7,200 cost of AGM bank  $   14,900 cost of Lithium Iron
5  year life span 16 year life span
 $      1,440 cost per year  $        931 cost per year
 $          120 cost per month  $           78 cost per month
 $               4 cost per day  $             3 cost per day
 $         0.46 cost per kWh  $       0.17 cost per kWh

(UPDATE) NEW ARTICLES ON THEIR LITHIUM IRON BATTERIES
New Lithium Battery at Iron Edison – Lower Cost of Ownership
Lithium Iron Battery Specs – Cycle Life vs. DOD

Note: I currently use AGM batteries (which cost more than standard vented lead acid) because I keep them indoors due to cold winter weather which would otherwise SEVERELY degrade battery performance. Lithium Iron can also be installed indoors.

Note: Iron Edison’s smallest Lithium Iron battery (400 AH) has nearly double the usable AH capacity of my present bank (even though it’s 600 AH) due to depth of discharge limitations on lead acid batteries.

Cost Comparison Summary
While the initial upfront cost is heavier, the cost per kilowatt hour is approximately 60% less than my current AGM bank. Plus as a bonus I get nearly double the available capacity ( good for more cloudy days :) ).

You can visit Iron Edison and get their advice if you’re interested.

Tell them you heard about them on Modern Survival Blog.

Disclaimer: Although Iron Edison currently advertises with us, they’re here because I’m impressed with their product. Like I said, when it’s time for my next battery bank replacement I will seriously look into this.

Related: Nickel Iron Battery For Off Grid Energy Storage
Related: The Four Essentials Of Off Grid Solar

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16 Comments

  1. Good info, thanks.

    In the process of designing a 100% Off-Grid home, will be looking more into their Batteries for part of the overall system.

    Honestly when one thinks of going totally Off-Grid & self-contained (meaning one could actually stay in the home for up to 6 months if needed) it’s a heck of a project, sounds simple right? Don’t count on it. Especially if one’s planning on an extremely low monthly cost of maintaining the Homestead. Less than $20 per month after all initial cost of course, excluding replacement cost for broken “stuff” and Taxes (after all the .gov will NEVER stop robbing from you).

    1. NRP and T for Texas

      I have nickel iron batteries and I would not recommend them. They even replaced one set with another and I got the same result. They simply do not have the storage capacity they claim. Granted, I’m using them for all they are designed for, but they just don’t live up to their claims. I have a separate system using lead-acid and it seems to work better. Between the two separate and totally off grid systems, I have some power but generator back-up would still be required for clouds etc.

      The electric company installed a smart meter while I was away from home. I am not happy, but after researching, there isn’t much I can do about it. That is if I want grid power and I do. I love AC in the heat.

      My suggestion for solar/wind power is to remain totally separate from the grid and simply run an appliance or two and stay off grid. It is best to use the power rather than trying to store it. There is so much loss in batteries, no matter what kind Not to mention the maintenance. They like homemade distilled water, but a lot of it. There is talk in the newspaper about our state implementing a charge of some sort for any solar that is grid-tied. Thankfully mine is not. Their thinking is that folks should pay for using the grid as a “battery bank.” I can see it a little bit but not to the levels they are discussing. Solar/wind is not a cheap way to produce power, but for the little guy it is an option.

      1. Plainsmedic;
        Thanks for the feedback on the Nickel Iron Batteries, Have you any experience with the Lithium Iron Batteries?

        1. NRP
          No I haven’t. I’m a little leery of lithium tech. They are getting better all the time though. They will figure it out, but I don’t want to be the test subject. Been there done that, so to speak

          1. Plainsmedic;
            I hear you there, the cost is rather shocking, but as Ken pointed out they have a very long life expectancy, probably longer than mine at this stage in the game. :-)

  2. Thanks for a timely article. Am getting closer to pulling the trigger on solar. I looked at Iron Edison’s Nickel-Iron batteries, but decided they weren’t for me. I will give their Lithium Iron batteries a closer look. Ken, would you considered reviewing Sol-Ark EMP Hardened Solar Generators? I am very tempted to go that route, but haven’t seen many independent reviews.

    1. T for Texas
      Anyone can advertise that their equipment is EMP “resistant” as is their claim. As an actual engineer with many years experience in design let me say “nothing you or I could afford” is EMP or CME “proof”. I am sorry if this information is disturbing but it is true. Both an EMP and an CME will fry both your solar panels and my solar panels as well. Then our inverters are so much junk- hard reality. Think about the Carrington event where telegraph wires and barb wire fencing was melted. Certainly our inverters with their delicate control circuitry will be history and so will our charge controllers. I have spent a lot of money to harden my system but in reality I know it will not survive either an EMP or CME event. When I design a system I always tell this to a customer(good friend). I only help people I know.

      1. Texas boy,,,,,,very good post ,,,,,,i was at a underground test back the dark ages in Alaska ,,, we had pulse effect on top,,, ,5000ft of solid rock did not stop it ,,,the key was wires connected that acted as a antenna ,,,things in cans were untouched ,timex watch was fired on my wrist ,every computer of the time was fired ,, the towers got hot ,and died

      2. Texas Boy, thanks for your response. Yes, I’m also leery of the claims, which is why I was seeking other opinons. They talk the talk, but would be hard to know if they walk the walk until it’s too late. I’ve put off solar for a few years because I can’t see keeping it unused in a Faraday cage until an event that may never come; but I also continue to hesitate to spend big bucks on something that might not be there when I really need it. (sigh)…

      3. Texas Boy, here is a quote from Sol-Ark’s website:
        “EMP hardened Sol-Ark 8K handles over 140 blasts of EMP up to 100 KV per meter! You guys asked for it and we delivered. Many of you have known that we build and test our products with our very own EMP generators. Last week we used an independent test lab in Plano Texas to get 3rd party verification for the Sol-Ark 8K EMP Hardening. The pictures above show Sol-Ark 8K running with batteries and Solar Panels. We will be publishing the actual report on our website as soon as it becomes available from the Testing institution. Here is the Official Findings from our Engineers: On May 8th 2018, NTS Testing and Certification Services verified the Sol-Ark 8K Solar Generator withstood >100KV/m EMP while in use. The Sol-Ark 3K used 4 technologies and was tested to withstand MIL-STD-461G specifications of >50KV/m. The Sol-Ark 8K uses 6 technologies of protection. 100KV/m was the limit of NTS test equipment. The same 8K unit was pulsed over 140 times with 3 axis of rotations without impact. Sol-Ark EMP Suppression system protected the Sol-Ark 8K, solar panels, and electronic appliances plugged into it.”
        What do you think?

      4. I agree with your comments about your solar system. It will fail!

        I am electrical engineer with many years designing and mfg equipment for the military. The military has a good understanding of the characteristics of a EMP and “think” they know how to mitigate its affects on equipment but the reality is, it’s all speculation as to its effectiveness because they cannot continually create real EMP’s to test, so they use a scaled down version in a controlled environment.

        EMP protection for the layman.

        Modern electrical systems use integrated circuits to work. These devices operate at extremely low voltage (most in the 3 to 5 volt range) and if you exceed that voltage they break. What happens during a EMP is a voltage in impressed upon wires that come into your equipment or pass thru the plastic enclosure and is then is impressed on the internal cables or traces on circuit boards which exceeds the voltage capabilities
        of the integrated circuit and breaks its.

        I personally keep anything of value, radios, battery chargers, small solar cells, solar cell powered lights etc. sealed in a metal container.

        When deciding on what constitutes a good shielded container think of a “waterproof” container that is made of metal and anywhere water can get in a conductive gasket needs to be in place.

        A absolutely perfect enclosure would be a copper pipe with copper end caps solder on. Be aware that metal tape used in HVAC has a adhesive on one side and this is electrically nonconductive. Also consider galvanic corrosion, the metal to metal gasket will corrode if the materials are not compatible and you will lose the conductivity your trying to achieve.

        In summary
        -if it has integrated circuits inside it most likely will fail
        -if it has wires going inside it “will” fail because the wire is an “antenna”
        -Vacuum tube radios are inherently more robust than any transistor or integrated circuit radio.
        -Old automobiles with old style ignition systems will continue to operate but gas will be hard to find.
        -Integrated Circuits are everywhere! Most everything we depend on in modern life uses them.
        -Keep the items you absolutely need inside a homogenous metal container. Hardening electrical equipment against EMP is a difficult task. Putting the equipment in a shielded enclosure is the simplest and easiest way to mitigate the effect of EMP. The only drawback is the equipment is not accessible during the good times

    2. Highly recommend the Sol-Ark after having installed one for a friend. It will be my replacement inverter if mine were to die.

  3. Good subject ,,,,batteries are part of life off grid ,,,will look into this type next go a round ,,still have teck material and tools and how to, to build batteries from the navy WW 2 diesel subs days,,,,,, not hard to do just messy,,,again a almost lost knowledge ,,,,lots of good info is being lost as the old timers pass on ,,,,was gifted info by a vet now gone ,,,,,

  4. I have used the BYD Pro 13.8kw Lithium units with great success.
    as a consequence I disconnected 10kwh of solar…unneeded now.
    The lithium batteries suck up solar as quick as you can deliver it…not a 10 hr charge like the lead acid bank i had.

    Along with the BYD units I hve a SMA 8.0H sunny island inverter, and two sunny boy 5000TL inverters. This system uses AC coupling, the Sunny island fools the grid tied inverters into thinking they are on a grid.

    I am in Tasmania and am delighted with this configuration.
    Absolutely outstanding.

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