Battery storage just got greener…

Across industries, battery storage presents a more environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels.

Within the renewable energy sector, batteries allow users to store any surplus energy generated for later use, enabling millions of people to become more self-sufficient in their power consumption.

Yet, battery chemicals are incredibly harmful to the environment when not disposed of properly and still require the mining of raw materials such as silicon when manufactured. So, whilst they solve some issues and are undoubtedly a greener option than fossil fuels, are they really a long-term solution? Could we go one step further?

Fox ESS is a global manufacturer of second-life batteries. Keep reading to find out what these are and how they could be the ticket to optimising battery storage worldwide.

Global demand for lithium batteries

There is no question that battery storage will play a central role in transitioning Southern Africa away from fossil fuels and promoting more sustainable power choices. When installed at homes or commercial sites, they facilitate off-grid energy consumption, reducing demand on the national grid and allowing users to rely solely on renewable energy from the sun.

Particularly in countries like South Africa that are faced with load shedding, battery storage solves the issue of intermittency that solar power presents, ensuring consistent electricity around the clock — even when the grid fails and the sun has gone down.

Demand for lithium batteries also comes from the electric vehicle (EV) market, as the automotive industry recognises the need to move away from petrol and diesel.

The transition to EVs and the incorporation of battery storage in PV systems demonstrate a global attempt to reduce reliance on sourcing power directly from fossil fuels. However, once batteries have reached the end of their useable life, they are often discarded improperly, causing more damage to the environment than they prevented.

But what if there was a way to reuse lithium batteries to ensure they do not end up in a landfill?

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Introducing second-life batteries: refurbished lithium batteries from EVs that have been refurbished to prolong their lifetime and have a second life in PV installations. Once the batteries no longer meet the required EV performance standards, they can be remanufactured to serve less-demanding applications, such as solar energy storage installations.

According to Energy Storage News, up to 30% of vehicle batteries can be reused in this way.

The diagram from McKinsey & Company above illustrates the benefits of reusing batteries from EVs.

Reusing lithium batteries is paramount to reducing waste and minimising our impact on the environment. Over its lifetime, a second-life battery saves an additional 450 tonnes per MWh of carbon dioxide compared to its first-life counterpart. Not only does this reduce the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere, but it also alleviates pressure on demand for raw materials used in manufacturing the batteries themselves.

What’s more, second-life PV batteries are often more affordable. As such, they become accessible for even more installers and end-users in countries that need power most.

The ultimate second-life solution

You can find a second-life storage solution from Fox ESS on the SegenSolar portal. The LVE2600 is a 2.56kWh 48V second-life battery that was once used in an electric vehicle. These ultra-green, high-energy batteries offer a 1C charge rate (meaning they can be charged in just one hour!), an industry-leading 90% depth of discharge and a five-year warranty as standard. Their modular design allows for maximum flexibility and scalability, making them suitable for various installation sizes. These batteries can also be paralleled up to 12 units for larger PV systems.

The LV2600 is a low-cost alternative that competes directly with lead-acid solutions but offers a far more sustainable approach to energy storage.

The SegenSolar technical experts recommend pairing the LVE2600 with the KODAK OG3.48 and OG5.48 rack-mounted inverters that come with a cabinet for a complete, self-contained energy storage solution.

If you are a solar installer keen to start using second-life batteries in your installations, sign up or log in to the SegenSolar portal to get yours.