With the development and popularization of new energy, solar energy and lithium ion solar battery, as an important part of new energy, have witnessed rapid development. This paper focuses on charging LiFePO4 batteries with solar.
1. Can you charge a lithium battery directly from a solar panel?
This is possible to charge a lithium-ion battery using a solar panel. But charging LiFePO4 batteries with solar directly can cause some problems. Firstly, there is no system in the solar panel to indicate when the charging gets completed so it can also be overloaded. The battery gets damaged when it is overcharged. Secondly when we charge it directly from a solar panel, we cannot control and monitor whether the charging voltage and current are in the proper range, so it is compulsory to charge it at its optimum voltage.
There is also the problem of the weather. When it’s cloudy the steady flow of power will be impossible. But this problem can be solved using special control chargers. They will indicate when the charging is completed. They will ensure the steady flow of current. There are many types of such chargers available according to the type of lithium-ion battery.
2. How many solar panels do I need for a 100Ah lithium-ion battery?
The power of the charger should be selected according to the size of the battery capacity. Suppose there are five hours of the sun in perfect condition on one day, we can do the following calculations to know how many solar panels do we need for a 100Ah lithium-ion battery:
100Ah / 5 hours = 20Amp
20Amp x 12 volts = 240 watts solar panel
So a 100Ah battery can be fully charged using a single solar panel that has the power of 240 watts. It can also be charged using the combination of two panels each panel having a power of 120 watts or three panels each panel having a power of one hundred watts.
3. The components for the solar charging system- what do I need to charge a battery using a solar panel?
The solar system is the system to convert sunlight energy into electrical energy. As mentioned earlier charging LiFePO4 batteries with solar can not be charged directly from solar panels due to some problems. Therefore there are different units which work together to power a battery using the solar energy which is collectively called as a solar system. The components needed to charge a battery from solar energy include
- Solar panel
- Charge controller
- Storage battery
● Solar panel
It is the medium which converts the sunlight energy into the electrical energy.
The devices which need alternating current (AC) to operate can not use the electrical energy direct from the solar panel. As it produces the direct current (DC). So an inverter is needed to convert the direct current into alternating current.
● Charge controller
These are very important components of solar system to charge the battery. These charge controllers such as MPPT are used to identify when the charging is completed. So they will protect it from the risk of being damaged and can also control the charging current voltage in a reasonable range.
● Storage battery
Generally, nickel-metal hydride batteries, nickel-cadmium batteries or lithium batteries. The effect is to store the electricity supplied by the solar cell modules when there is light, and then provide it to the load when needed.
Can I charge a LiFePO4 with a normal charger?
Charging LiFePO4 batteries need special chargers not regular chargers. Because charging LiFePO4 batteries with solar required at optimum voltage. The normal chargers lack this feature to protect the battery from overcharging.
Do you need a charge controller with a LiFePO4 battery?
While charging LiFePO4 batteries with solar panel a charge controller is needed. This will prevent it from overcharging and being damaged.
How do you charging LiFePO4 batteries with solar panel?
The LiFePO4 battery can be charged using a solar panel. When charging lifepo4 batteries with solar panel, you need to use the control chargers that will manage the supply of current and prevent it from over charging.
Step by step guide for charging LiFePO4 Battery with a solar panel
Let us discuss the simplest procedure of charging LiFePO4 battery with solar step by step.
● Step 01
The first step of charging LiFePO4 batteries with solar involves selection of a configuration of the control charger. They have generally two types.
- MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) charge controller
- PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) charge controller
There are many differences between these two type of chargers. But when we look at the efficiency of these two chargers the maximum power point tracking chargers are more superior to the other. Because it regulates the supply of current so that the maximum amount of current is supplied to the LIFEPO4 battery.
● Step 02
The next step of charging LiFePO4 batteries with solar involves where to locate the charge controller. The charge controller should be placed in such a place that is water resistant and it should not be mounted on the surface of any metal. The panel should be placed on the ground.
● Step 03
The next step involves checking whether the wires of the battery are plunged in or not. If they are plugged then it’s fine. But if are not plugged they should be connected to the battery properly. You should take care of the cathode and anode terminal of the battery and place it in the correct spot otherwise the battery will not be charged properly.
● Step 04
The next step is to connect the cable of the battery to the charge controller. In doing so always pay attention the to correct polarity.
● Step 05
Now connect the end of the cables of charge controllers with the connectors commonly called as MC4 connectors. These connectors of the battery have two types male and female. Connecting the MC4 connector to the solar panel series is easy. The female joint is cathode, and the male joint is anode. Just connect the cathode pole of module 1 to the anode pole of module 2. Parallel solar energy system configuration requires the connection of the anode electrode and the cathode electrode leads. That is, cathode pole to cathode pole, anode pole to anode pole.
● Step 06
Now power up the charge controller to check if there are some indications of any type of inaccuracy. If not so then it means your fitting is correct and is ready for charging.
What voltage should I charge my LiFePO4 Battery?
General charging LiFePO4 batteries with limit voltage 3.7~4V, the discharge limit voltage 2~2.5V, considering the discharge capacity, discharge median voltage, charging time, constant current capacity percentage, safety of these five aspects, using the constant current constant voltage charging scheme, for lithium iron phosphate battery, charging limit voltage set in 3.55~3.70V is reasonable, the recommended value is 3.60~3.65V, the discharge limit voltage 2.2V~2.5V.
How long does it take to charge a 100Ah lithium ion battery with solar?
If the solar panel has 100 watts of power and also it is twelve volts it will take 12 sunlight hours to charge the twelve volts 100Ah lithium battery.
Can you overcharge a LiFePO4 battery?
No, you can’t make lithium ion battery overcharge. It will damage your LiFePO4 battery permanently.
What should be noticed when charging a battery with solar safety?
You should keep some safety measure in mind while charging LiFePO4 batteries with solar. You should not come in contact with the damaged part of the solar panel, never try to touch or cut the wiring of solar panel.