San Diego, CA, July 22, 2019 – Home solar storage offers low energy costs plus the security of backup power if/when the grid goes down. But when choosing a solar storage system, it’s important to consider the chemistry inside the battery. Most solar batteries on the market are lithium-based, and there are two main types: lithium ion and lithium iron phosphate. The names might sound similar, but in reality these batteries are quite different.
Lithium ion batteries contain cobalt, a toxic metal that comes with many serious risks. Cobalt is extremely harmful to both miners and the environment. On the consumer side, batteries with cobalt are prone to thermal runaway. When this happens, the battery rapidly overheats and can catch fire or explode. Combustion can also cause the release of toxic cobalt fumes.
Thermal runaway of lithium ion batteries has caused smartphones and electric cars to burst into flames. One well-known electric car maker that has had a string of highly publicized fire incidents uses the same lithium ion technology for its line of home solar batteries. Panasonic, whose automotive business partners with that company, has tried to cut down cobalt usage and is “aiming to achieve zero usage in the near future,” although it has yet to identify a replacement for cobalt.
The safer chemistry for home solar storage is lithium iron phosphate, which does not contain cobalt. These batteries are chemically and thermally stable and non-toxic. In head-to-head comparisons, they also last longer than their lithium ion counterparts.
San Diego–based NeoVolta Inc. designed its NV14 home energy storage system with safety in mind. The NV14’s lithium iron phosphate battery has superior thermal and chemical stability. It can withstand higher temperatures, while remaining cool and safe to touch. In the event of a power outage, the system will automatically disconnect from the grid via included auto transfer switch and will continue powering critical household loads indefinitely. The NeoVolta smartphone app allows users to monitor the system’s performance 24/7, and it’s backed by a ten-year warranty.
“When it comes to solar storage, there is an alternative to putting a toxic fire hazard in your home,” said Brent Willson, CEO of NeoVolta. “We’ve engineered our systems with cobalt-free lithium iron phosphate technology. Independent studies have shown that for safety, stability, and life cycle, lithium iron phosphate clearly outperforms lithium ion.”