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Crucial Tips for Buying a Loadshedding-Resilient Battery

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The recent increase in load shedding in South Africa, combined with the availability of affordable, reliable, and energy-efficient alternative power equipment, has led to a growing trend of South African consumers purchasing batteries for home use and storage.

With a variety of affordable, high-performance modern, and legacy products available, home buyers need to understand the unique properties and use cases for each type of battery under consideration.

To aid consumers in making better power technology choices, Matthew Hall, Product Director at Rectron South Africa, offers the following basic guidelines when buying and using a battery for home power or to store electricity from alternative sources like solar:

1. Charging and discharging (usage) hours:
– Traditional lead-acid (LA) batteries are more suitable for uninterrupted power supply (UPS) during stages 4 or lower, where there are longer periods of outages and limited opportunities to charge the battery packs.
– Beyond stage 4, when there are shorter grid uptimes, an investment in Lithium-ion (Li) batteries offers greater usability, resilience, and return on investment.

2. Lead acid still has a place:
– Lead-acid batteries, if housed properly in a dry, ventilated space and used well, remain affordable and are perfect as an interim UPS solution in critical service environments like data centers, hospitals, and banks.

3. Depth-of-Discharge (usable capacity):
– Consider the depth of discharge rating, or usable capacity, which measures how much of a fully charged battery can be used before significantly affecting its life cycle.
– Lead-acid batteries typically have a lower depth of discharge of around 30-50%.

4. Lead-acid limitations:
– Lead-acid batteries are more affordable but have limitations:
– When 30% or less of the LA is used in a discharge session, it can last up to 5 years and endure 1200 charging cycles before it is unusable.
– When 30-50% is used, the number of cycles drops to around 500 cycles.
– If 100% of the battery is used each time, the number of cycles drops to under 200.
– At Stage 6 or beyond, with multiple daily uses, the battery may not last beyond three months due to regular discharge beyond its 30-50% range.

Home users looking for a long-term energy storage solution are increasingly considering Li-ion batteries despite their higher cost. Incorporating robust batteries into a solar system with flexible payment options pays for itself in savings within 12 months.

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