Posts tagged with "batteries"

House with solar power roof and batteries.

Battery Options for Mi-Grid

We are often asked, “What kind of batteries do you use?” Mi-Grid systems are offered with 3 choices:

  1. High-Quality Absorb Glass Mat (AGM) batteries
  2. Advanced Lead Acid – Nano Carbon batteries
  3. Lithium

AGM

Absorb Glass Mat (AGM) batteries

Absorb Glass Mat (AGM) batteries

Our standard offering uses high-quality AGM batteries. For a system where the batteries are a backup, or are not cycled very often, our standard AGM is the most cost-effective. AGM batteries are a form of lead acid battery. Instead of liquid sulphuric acid, the battery is filled with fiberglass mat and the mat is made “wet.” This allows the battery to be mounted in any direction, and there is no chance of spilling. If the battery case were damaged, it may dry out, but the acid fluid cannot leak. These are considered, “non-hazardous”.

For Mi-Grid systems connected to utility power, the batteries are kept full. Only when the utility power fails will the batteries be cycled. These batteries are also used wherever the system is set up for up to 80% depth of discharge (what percent of the total battery is used). AGM batteries, if treated properly should last a minimum of 5 years, possibly as long as 10 years.

Nano-Carbon

Nano-Carbon batteries

Nano-Carbon batteries

Nano Carbon batteries are called “Advanced Lead Acid.” The ones we use are also an AGM battery with all of the benefits. The internal parts of the battery are covered with a nanoparticle carbon coating. This increases the life of the battery in places where it cycles a lot. The batteries operate best in a “partial state of charge.” The controls are reprogrammed to operate the battery in the middle of its range and the usable portion is about 50-60% of “full” capacity. This is how they are able to achieve 3000 cycles.

These are great in high-cycling applications, where the batteries are charged and discharged every day, possibly more than once a day. They cost about 30% more than the regular AGM batteries. Great applications for these are off-grid, grid-connected cycling and mobile applications, such as food trucks and RVs.

Lithium

Lithium Ferro Phosphate batteries.

Lithium Ferro Phosphate batteries.

Lithium batteries, depending on the type, offer light-weight, smaller batteries with very high-cycle life. There are many types of lithium batteries. The type in your phone is typically Lithium Cobalt, due to the very high energy density. They are limited to about 500 charge-discharge cycles before losing significant capacity.

We use Lithium Ferro Phosphate batteries. They have a lower energy density (size vs. charge), but much higher cycle life. When used correctly, they may exceed 10,000 cycles! Typical is 5000-7000 cycles. For the same usable charge, they are about 2.5 times the cost of nano-carbon batteries. With the higher cycle life, they are comparative to the nano-carbon. You may never have to replace these batteries! They are also smaller and weigh about 60-70% less than either AGM battery.

These are best in high-cycle, mobile and applications in places where you do not want to change the batteries often. The prices are coming down, so these will probably be the best replacement battery, when the time comes.

Every type of battery has its place. I would say the Lithium batteries are “best.” But you may not want to pay that much at the beginning. If the batteries are in a grid-tied type system, the regular AGM batteries are best. The nano-carbons are the most cost-effective in a cycling application.

Never Lose Power

Today I did a one year inspection on a Mi-Grid 4000. This is primarily a check on the batteries and to do the yearly maintenance on the generator. With the exception of a few dead bugs inside the generator enclosure (how did that cricket get into the air cleaner?!?), it looked as good as the day it started it up.

One anecdote from the Owner. Earlier in the year, there was a terrible storm. They thought nothing of it. There was one flicker of the lights, but that was it. The next day, he attended a local luncheon where the primary topic was the 5-6 hour electric outage. He looked dumbfounded and said: “What Outage?”.

EXACTLY!!!  With Mi-Grid, you never lose power.

If Mi-Grid is setup in UPS/Backup mode, and the utility goes out, it switches in less than a second to the inverter and batteries. If the batteries become depleted, the generator starts up and comes to full speed, THEN it switches over. You don’t lose power. And when the Generator finishes charging the batteries? It switches back to inverter BEFORE the generator shuts down.

With Mi-Grid, you simply never lose power!

Update: Absorbed Glass Mat Batteries vs. The Tesla Power Wall

I’m updating this blog post based on recent revelations about the Tesla Power Wall. The 10kWh Power Wall was abandoned and never produced. The 7kWh Power Wall has been down graded to 6.4 kWh and has a different cycle life than what we were lead to believe. See this article at InvestorIntel.

http://investorintel.com/cleantech-intel/tesla-energys-incredible-shrinking-powerwall-warranty/

There are a few things to consider here with comparing the capabilities of stored energy. First, the best way to compare apples with apples is to compare the total kWh life vs cost. Total kWh life is the usable energy storage multiplied by the cycle life at that usable storage level. This even allows comparison of the same battery using different depths of discharge.

Storing Energy

This “cost” is the battery portion of electric cost in storing and then using the power, only. You still have production costs associated with your solar array! Here are the facts:

  • PW7 has a cycle life of “3000 cycles”, 6.4 kWh usable storage and costs $3000.
  • 3000 / (6.4kwh * 3000) = $0.143/kWh – Update, the PW7 actually is 6.4 kWh. So the real value is $0.156/kWh
    • BUT – Based on the above article, the battery will degrade quickly, losing 20% of it’s capacity in under 1000 cycles.
    • It will LAST for many years, but by end of life at 3000 cycles, it has lost 40% of its capacity.
    • This will increase the effective cost of the power pack to around
    • Total Capacity over 3000 cycles will be 14,720 kWh. –> $3000/14720 kWh = $0.204/kWh
    • This is type of degradation is TYPICAL of all Lithium-Ion batteries
  • High-quality AGM batteries at a 50% DOD have a life of 1800 cycles. A 2.4 kWh battery costs around $350.
  • $350 / (1.2 * 1800) = $0.162 / kWh – still less expensive than Power Wall
  • Nano Carbon AGM batteries at a 50% DOD have a life of 3000 cycles. A 2.4 kWh battery has a cost of $400.
  • $400 / (1.2 * 3000) = $0.111 / kWh

In conclusion, the PW7 has a higher total life cost compared to a standard AGM battery, and is 50% more expensive than a Nano Carbon AGM.

Mi-Grid vs. The Tesla Power Wall

Now let’s compare a PW7 system to a Mi-Grid 2000. The Mi-Grid 2000 is designed to connect to 8-10 kW of Solar, produce 8kW of inverter power, has 38.4 kWh of battery storage. It also includes a 12 kW Natural Gas Generator. The total cost to install a Mi-Grid 2000 with 8kW of solar panels is around $45K.

The Power Wall needs a Grid Tied inverter that is designed to work with it. Fronius makes one that is 8kW. It ties to the battery & solar panels to your utility power. It needs a separate automatic disconnect to separate it from the utility when the utility power fails.

The PW7 is limited to a maximum discharge of 2kW. To match the Fronius Inverter you will need to supply four PW7s. The PW7 system is not integrated. It must be assembled on site, using an electrician. Total cost to install 8kW of solar panels, PW7, Fronius inverter, control system, safety equipment and a backup generator will add up to $60K.

Absorbed Glass Mat Batteries vs. The Tesla Power Wall

There are a few things to consider here with comparing the capabilities of stored energy. First, the best way to compare apples with apples is to compare the total kWh life vs cost. Total kWh life is the usable energy storage multiplied by the cycle life at that usable storage level. This even allows comparison of the same battery using different depths of discharge.

Storing Energy

This “cost” is the battery portion of electric cost in storing and then using the power, only. You still have production costs associated with your solar array! Here are the facts:

  • PW10 has a cycle life of 500 cycles, 10 kWh usable storage and costs $3500
  • 3500 / (10kwh * 500) = $0.70/kWh – This is why it never made it to production and was cancelled!
  • PW7 has a cycle life of 3000 cycles, 7 kWh usable storage and costs $3000
  • 3000 / (7kwh * 3000) = $0.143/kWh – Update, the PW7 actually is 6.4 kWh. So the real value is $0.156/kWh
  • High-quality AGM batteries at a 50% DOD have a life of 1800 cycles. A 2.4 kWh battery costs around $300.
  • 300 / (1.2 * 1800) = $0.139 / kWh – still less expensive than Power Wall
  • Nano Carbon AGM batteries at a 50% DOD have a life of 3000 cycles. A 2.4 kWh battery has a cost of $350.
  • 350 / (1.2 * 3000) = $0.097 / kWh

In conclusion, while the PW7 is has a similar total life cost compared to a standard AGM battery, it is 50% more expensive than a Nano Carbon AGM.

Mi-Grid vs. The Tesla Power Wall

Now let’s compare a PW7 system to a Mi-Grid 2000. The Mi-Grid 2000 is designed to connect to 8-10 kW of Solar, produce 8kW of inverter power, has 38.4 kWh of battery storage. It also includes a 12 kW Natural Gas Generator. The total cost to install a Mi-Grid 2000 with 8kW of solar panels is around $45K.

The Power Wall needs a Grid Tied inverter that is designed to work with it. Fronius makes one that is 8kW. It ties to the battery & solar panels to your utility power. It needs a separate automatic disconnect to separate it from the utility when the utility power fails.

The PW7 is limited to a maximum discharge of 2kW. To match the Fronius Inverter you will need to supply 4 PW7. The PW7 system is not integrated. It must be assembled on site, using an electrician. Total cost to install 8kW of solar panels, PW7, Fronius inverter, control system, safety equipment and a backup generator will add up to $60K.

ENERGY INDEPENDENCE – NEVER LOSE POWER, SAVE MORE WITH SOLAR

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Hybrid Energy System

Energy management system combines power from multiple sources including: Solar, Utility Power, Energy Storage and Auto-starting Generator.

Remote Power – Power Anywhere

2kW to 80kW continuous power, surge power for starting Air Conditioners, pumps and motors, 6kW to 160kW.

Solar Powered

Power from Sun, even works on cloudy days. Solar and batteries supply pow-er during the day. Switches to genera-tor power if batteries are depleted. In times of high power demand or low sunlight, generator supplements pow-er while recharging batteries, then shuts down, reducing fuel and noise.

Large Storage system

Inverter/Batteries operates many hours standalone. In times without fuel, Mi-Grid provides critical power.

Fully Integrated system

Includes Energy Management system, Inverters, Charge Controllers, Trans-fer switches, Energy Storage, Outlets and Generator

Easy Installation

Pre-packaged and tested systems minimizes electrical installation costs. Solar panels and mounting hardware with multiple designs for your unique needs. 130-150 mph designs available.

Never Lose power

Seamless transition between sources. Power never goes out. Like a computer UPS!

Saves Fuel

Generator fills only when renewable sources are not available. Up to 90% savings versus traditional generators. Pays for itself in as little as 6 Months.

Reduced Maintenance

Generator only runs when needed. Mi- Grid generators run at most a few of hours per day. Time before maintenance is significantly increased. Traditional generators run 24/7. With run time reduced by run 90%

Not just for Off-Shore

But Mi-Grid is not just for off-grid. Mi- Grid works great in high cost power areas, or areas with unreliable or intermittent power. Typical Electrical savings are 30% over standard grid-tied solar while providing multi-source power reliability and backup. With Mi- Grid you never lose power.

Come see us!

Tetra West is presenting on “Reliable Renewable Energy” in Room 606, 3- 3:30PM, Wednesday May 4th. Or come by Booth 873, between the Astrodome and NRG Arena. See Mi-Grid Today!

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Power RVs, Food Trucks, Mobile Businesses and More

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ENERGY INDEPENDENCE – NEVER LOSE POWER, SAVE MORE WITH SOLAR

Hybrid Energy System

Energy management system combines power from multiple sources including: Solar, Utility Power, Energy Storage and Auto-starting Generator.

Power RVs, Food Trucks, Mobile Businesses and More

From 2kW to 8kW continuous pow-er, surge power for starting Air Conditioners, pumps and motors, 6kW to 24kW.

Solar Powered

50-80% power from Sun – even works on cloudy days. Solar and batteries supply power during the day. Switches to generator power once batteries are depleted. Generator runs 1-3 hours/day supply-ing power while recharging batteries, then shuts down, reducing fuel and noise. Solar panels charge even while driving.

Large Storage system

Inverter/Batteries can operate standalone for many hours, including air conditioning!

Fully Integrated system

Includes Energy Management system, Inverters, Charge Controllers, Transfer switches, Energy Storage, Outlets and Generator – Pre-packaged.

Easy Installation

Solar panels and installation kits Available. 1kW and 2.5kW Solar Flexible Flat Panels kits for easy roof mounting.

Never Lose power

Seamless transition between sources. Power never goes out. Like a computer UPS!

Saves Fuel

Generator fills in when renewable and utility sources are not available. Operates at high power, running everything & recharging batteries. Shuts down when batteries full. Up to 90% savings versus traditional generators. Pays for itself in 10-18 Months.

Reduced Maintenance

Generator only runs when needed. Mi-Grid generators run typically a couple of hours per day. Time before maintenance is significantly increased. Traditional mobile generators run all day. Inexpensive generators are loud and require constant maintenance, typically lasting only a season or two.

Freedom

Independence. Go anywhere the road takes you. Always have pow-er. Save money. Less noise. Reduce or eliminate your carbon footprint.

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