Types of Batteries for Solar Lights

Solar Gear Expert is supported by readers. If you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

Types of Batteries for Solar Lights

The batteries used in your solar light can influence its performance dramatically! In general, it is the battery that runs the solar light because it stores the charge accumulated by the solar energy and then supplies it to the solar light whenever needed.

Also, you can call the batteries as the most significant component of solar light, and it is quite evident! Every solar light uses a different type of battery, due to the difference in the size and type.

Here in this article, you will find different types of batteries for solar lights. Whether, your old battery has worn out, or the battery isn’t able to hold enough charge, it is the time to replace it as soon as possible.

Check out these different types of solar batteries to make sure that you buy the best batteries for your solar lights.

Types of Batteries Used in Solar Lights

There are not just one or two types of batteries for solar lights; therefore, it becomes even imperative to buy the right type of batteries.

1. NiCad (Nickel Cadmium) Batteries

Solar Light Batteries

NiCad batteries or nickel-cadmium batteries are the common types used in most of the devices like torches because of their compact size. These batteries are rechargeable, and that makes them perfect to use with solar lights.

Ni-Cd battery uses cadmium and nickel along with alkaline separator, and that prevents sudden voltage drops, which is the common case in alkaline batteries. Also, these batteries last longer and can retain the charge for a long time.

Sizes Available

There are multiple sizes available in NiCad batteries so that you will find them in a multitude of solar lights. The main intention to use NiCad batteries was to replace the non-rechargeable alkaline batteries.

Generally, NiCad batteries are available in sizes varying from AAA to D, and you will get them in a pack of multiple batteries.

Usage

NiCad batteries are ideal to use in small and portable solar lights. Also, you can use them in other electronic devices like remotes, toys, flashlights, and much more. The NiCad batteries with bigger sizes can power up more power-consuming devices, including emergency lights.

Advantages of NiCad Batteries

  • Better lifespan than regular Ni-MH and other Li-ion batteries. In short, a NiCad battery has a triple charge holding capacity than these batteries.
  • Excellent tolerance in areas with low temperatures. Also, NiCad batteries work well at a temperature below -20°, so these can be used in colder areas.
  • Affordable and replacing a NiCad battery will not cost you an arm and a leg.
  • Can discharge up to full capacity.
  • Quick at getting charged and discharged.

Disadvantages of NiCad Batteries

  • Pricier as compared to lead-acid batteries.
  • Energy density is twice lesser than Ni-MH batteries.
  • These batteries lose charge holding capacity if the battery is discharged multiple times in a row.
  • Metal cadmium is toxic and is harmful to the environment.
  • Special disposal needed which is more expensive.

2. LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES

Rechargeable Batteries

Lithium-Ion batteries were among the first rechargeable batteries introduced back in the 1980s. These batteries were commercially available for consumption in a plethora of devices. Even today, most of the smartphones, laptops, tablets, and other such devices come equipped with powerful Li-Ion batteries due to its lightweight, and quick charging.

Li-Ion batteries are available in a myriad of sizes, and many manufacturers use them in their solar lights. Also, these rechargeable batteries are a lot better than Ni-MH batteries because of the quicker charging and battery holding capacity.

Size Available

There are multiple types of Li-ion batteries available, as all of them have different ions combined with lithium. Moreover, these batteries differ in size, and you can use them to power different types of solar lights, including solar garden lights, path lights, and wall sconces.

Since most of the electronic devices like smartphones use Li-Ion batteries, this means that these batteries are also available in compact sizes. You will get AAA to AA sized batteries in the Li-Ion range, and the shape of the battery will depend on certain factors like a manufacturer and the device it is specifically made for.

Usage

Li-ion batteries are rechargeable and can hold a charge for a longer time without getting discharged itself. These batteries are superior as compared to Ni-Cad and Lead acid batteries due to the fact that these are light in weight and have more energy density.

A lot of industries solely rely on Li-ion batteries, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and the automotive industry as well. Also, solar light manufacturers use Li-ion batteries because these last longer and are light in weight that impacts the total weight of the solar light.

Advantages of Li-ion Batteries

  • Li-ion batteries have higher energy efficiency and better energy density than Lead Acid and Ni-MH batteries.
  • These batteries don’t require any maintenance at all and have a long lifespan.
  • Li-ion batteries have no harmful chemical and components, so these are ideal for the environment.
  • No memory effect at all; even if you discharge the battery multiple times, it will hold a good charge after charging it again.
  • Light in weight and compact.
  • Charges to full capacity even after getting aged.
  • Safer than lead-acid and Ni-MH batteries.
  • Works well with protection circuits for better safety.

Disadvantages of Li-ion Batteries

  • The cost of manufacturing is on the higher side.
  • The discharge rate is lower.
  • It doesn’t work at extremely low temperatures.
  • The aging process continues even when the battery is not used.

3. Ni-MH Battery

Tenergy Solla Rechargeable NiMH AA Battery

Ni-MH or Nickel Metal Hydrate is a common battery type used in solar lights. These batteries are rechargeable and have many things in common with NiCad batteries, including some components and factors.

There is no harmful cadmium in Ni-MH rechargeable batteries, and it makes these batteries safer for the environment. The batteries use alloys that absorb the hydrogen and serves as the anode. Also, it helps Ni-MH batteries with enhanced performance and makes them ideal for recycling.

Size Available

There is a vast range of sizes available in Ni-MH batteries. The range of Ni-MH solar batteries includes sizes like AA, AAA, C, D, and ranges up to 9-Volt batteries. No matter whether you have a portable solar light or a small wall sconce, you can use NI-MH batteries to power it for a long time.

Usage

Since its introduction, Ni-MH battery has replaced Ni-Cad and alkaline batteries in most of the appliances and electronic devices. You can use these batteries in all portable devices, including toys, remote controllers, flashlights, and compact solar lights.

Ni-MH batteries are safe and higher capacity to hold more charge without increasing the size of the battery. Also, the shape of the battery varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and more specifically, for the type of device, it is made for.

Advantages of Ni-MH Batteries

  • The topmost advantage of NiMH solar light batteries is that these batteries have a higher capacity as compared to lead-acid and Ni-Cad batteries.
  • Environmental-friendly due to the absence of harmful chemicals and highly reactive metals.
  • No memory effect, which means the battery will not discharge even if you discharge it multiple times intentionally.
  • No harmful gases or fumes are released.

Disadvantages of Ni-MH Batteries

  • The cost of Ni-MH batteries is higher than lead-acid and Ni-Cad batteries.
  • Not ideal for high discharge and charge.
  • Overcharging and discharging is a major issue with Ni-MH batteries.
  • Ni-MH batteries require special chargers, which can increase the overall cost.

4. Lead Acid Batteries

Mighty Max Battery

Lead Acid batteries are ancient when compared to Ni-MH and Ni-Cad batteries. Most of the automotive manufacturers still rely on lead-acid batteries due to the high charge holding capacity. Lead acid batteries usually last longer and are ideal to use with solar lights and floodlights.

Also, lead acid batteries discharge slowly than Ni-MH batteries, so these are ideal for leaving unused even for a month. However, the lifecycle of these batteries is limited to around 300-500 cycles.

Size Available

Lead acid batteries comprise of multiple cells that store and supply the charge to the devices they are connected to. Each cell is approximately of 2.1 volts, and there can be innumerable cells in a lead acid battery depending on its size and purpose.

The most common sizes available in lead acid batteries are 12, 8, 6, 4, 2 based on the energy cells. Also, multiple lead acid batteries can be connected with one another to increase the power output.

Usage

The most common consumer of lead acid batteries is the automotive industry. These batteries are huge in size and can supply a great amount of charge required to power up the vehicles. Also, lead acid batteries are commonly used in big solar lights and floodlights.

Generally, lead acid batteries used in solar lights are portable, and you can replace them without any hassles.

Advantages of Lead Acid Batteries

  • Cheaper in cost as compared to Ni-MH and Ni-Cad batteries.
  • Ideal for producing higher discharge currents.
  • Low self discharge rate prevents the battery from draining drastically.
  • No memory effect at all.
  • Excellent tolerance to harsh temperatures.

Disadvantages of Lead Acid Batteries

  • Massive in size, and are less handy than Ni-MH and N-Cad batteries.
  • Not ideal for use in portable devices like flashlights, remotes, and toys.
  • Charging takes a lot of time.
  • Regular maintenance required for attaining optimal performance from the battery.
  • Short lifestyle.
  • Not eco-friendly and can release harmful fumes.

5. LiFePO4 or Lithium-ion Phosphate Batteries

ExpertPower 12V 100Ah

Lithium-ion Phosphate is one of the types of Li-ion batteries commonly used in solar lights. These batteries are compact and require lesser power to charge quickly. A LifePO4 battery can get recharged even on cloudy days and with small solar panels.

Also, these batteries require no maintenance at all and can continue to supply power to the solar light for uninterrupted functioning.

Size Available

Lithium-Phosphate batteries are available in a plethora of sizes, including AA batteries, AAA batteries, C batteries, and D batteries. Generally, these batteries are smaller in size and are ideal for portable and less power consuming devices, including flashlights and toys.

Only a few solar lights run on LiFePO4 batteries as these are expensive, and are not capable of generating massive loads of power required to power up bulky solar lights.

Usage

As LiFePO4 batteries are expensive, therefore their usage is limited to some areas only. However, the lifespan of these batteries is decent, and some high-end toys and other devices come equipped with these batteries.

Advantages of LIFEPO4 Batteries

  • Charge lasts longer and excellent lifespan of batteries.
  • It can be charged with low power devices like small solar panels.
  • Not made using harmful metals and chemicals.
  • Compact and lightweight.
  • Safe and ideal to use with small solar lights.

Disadvantages of LIFEPO4 Batteries

  • Expensive as compared to Ni-MH and Ni-Cad batteries.
  • Not ideal for powering up power consuming solar lights and other appliances.

Comparison Table of all Battery Types

SpecsNi-CadNi-MHLithium-ionLead AcidLiFePO4
Cycle Life800-1500500-1000500-2000500-800Around 2000
Life Time
(Approximately)
Up to 5 years2 years3 years3 yearsAround 8-10 years
Temperature RangeFrom -40 to 45From -30 to 70From -20 to 60From -30 to 40From -20 to 60
Average Self
Discharge
(Per Month)
10%30-50%2-8%2-5%2-8%
Specific Energy
(Wh/Kg)
459016040160
Maintenance RequiredLowLowNoYesNo
Nominal Voltage1.2V1.2VDepends on the
type of Ion used in battery
2.1 V3.2V

FAQs

Q1: After how much time should I Replace the Batteries on my Solar Lights?

It depends on the type of batteries you are using and the climatic conditions. Generally, solar batteries last somewhere around 2 years, and you have to replace them periodically to get the best performance from the solar lights.

Q2: Do I have to Replace all Batteries at Once?

Yes, you have to replace all the batteries at once to get optimal illumination from the solar lights! The reason behind this is that these batteries are connected in series and are of the same capacity, which means that they age simultaneously with other connected batteries.

So it would be great to replace all batteries at once.

Final Words

These are some of the most common types of batteries for solar lights available in the market. You can use these batteries to power up your solar lighting system for a longer time. However, make sure to choose the right type of solar batteries based on the power consumption of the solar lights.

1Shares

Last update on 2021-09-05 at 22:45 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Scroll to Top