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With lithium batteries becoming a more common option in RV solar, it can add to the information overload for both dealers and customers alike. Do they go with the traditional AGM or move to lithium? Here are a few tips to weigh the benefits of each battery type for your customer and help them make a more informed decision.
Budgets play a huge role in deciding which battery to get. With Lithium batteries being more expensive to begin with, it can seem like a no-brainer to go with an AGM. But what causes this difference? AGM batteries remain less expensive because the materials used to make them are inexpensive and widely available. Lithium batteries, on the other hand, use more expensive materials with some being harder to come by (i.e. lithium).
Another part of the decision-making process to consider is the lifespan of these batteries. This is where the initial cost of the Lithium could be offset. The following points highlight the differences between lithium and AGM:
Initial Cost Per Capacity ($/kWh):
While lithium batteries may have advantages, AGMs still have proven time-tested technology as they have been around much longer. AGM’s also have the upper hand when it comes to charging in freezing (below zero degrees Celsius) temperatures – albeit, with a bit of a hit to its efficiency. Unlike AGM’s, lithium batteries require temperature regulation for use in below-freezing temperatures.
Lithium batteries have the added bonus of not containing the heavier lead-acid found in AGM’s, therefore, are much lighter. Since their DOD is 80-90%, lithium a battery bank generally occupies less space. (Less batteries are required for a desired capacity.) Because of this, lithium batteries can save quite a bit of volume and weight in comparison to the traditional AGM’s.
The depth of discharge of a battery refers to the percentage of the battery that has been discharged (used) relative to its overall capacity within a charge cycle. A lithium battery with an overall capacity of 100Ah (amp hours) will give you 80Ah-90Ah (or discharge to 80%-90%), while AGM’s offer 50Ah (or discharge of 50%) before needing to recharge.
Based on these numbers, AGM’s are the better option for those who use their RV only a few months at a time, and lithium batteries are preferable for those who are off-grid all the time.
*Keeping in mind which application you are using it for. It can be great for intermittent RV’ers.
AGM – While it may seem like lithium is the better option, AGMs are still a good consideration for some. Here’s why:
Lithium – A fairly new entrance into the RV battery market compared to the AGM, the lithium battery is an efficient power-house. Its benefits are as follows:
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