Category: innovation

BC’S SOLAR ENERGY REVOLUTION

SUPPORTING SOLAR IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

The British Columbia Government and BC Hydro are entering the solar race. Renewable energy enthusiasts, homeowners, and business owners alike have a lot to look forward to as BC takes monumental steps toward a sustainable future. In many instances, the new programs are the first time for rebates offered by the utility.

The official release by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation says, in part,

“Providing solar rebates is part of Powering Our Future: B.C.’s Clean Energy Strategy, which outlines the actions government is taking to accelerate the shift to clean energy and create new opportunities for people and businesses throughout British Columbia”

(ref: B.C.’s future powered by clean energy | BC Gov News)

BC’S SOLAR POTENTIAL

British Columbia has long been a champion of renewable energy, primarily through its vast hydroelectric resources. However, recent climate change challenges and the growing demand for sustainable energy solutions have prompted the province to diversify its renewable energy portfolio. Enter solar energy—a clean, abundant resource that BC Hydro and the government are now actively promoting. The strategy focuses on building an economy powered by clean energy, creating new jobs and opportunities, and keeping electricity affordable.

WHY SOLAR?

Solar energy has several advantages that make it an attractive option for both residential and commercial use.  Solar PV energy also compliments existing hydro dams, allowing water to be stored for times of high electricity demand thus reducing peak loads. 

Other reasons solar is awesome:

  • Clean Energy: Solar power produces no greenhouse gas emissions during operation, contributing to cleaner air and reduced carbon footprint.
  • Energy Independence: By generating your own power, you can reduce dependence on the grid and enjoy more control over your energy costs. At the same time, it reduces demands on the utility to provide that power thus reducing the overall demand on the grid.
  • Cost Savings: While the initial investment can be significant, the long-term savings on electricity bills and potential government incentives make solar energy a cost-effective solution.
  • Energy Storage: Combining solar with batteries provides reliability and resiliency.

BC HYDRO’S ROLE

BC Hydro is not just a bystander in this revolution; its’ mandate is to produce reliable, affordable and clean electricity. A Crown Corporation, it is guided by an integrated planning process that includes B.C.’s Utilities Commission Act and the Clean Energy Act.   As part of this mandate for reducing greenhouse gas emissions it is actively participating and promoting solar energy through a variety of programs:

  1. CALL FOR POWER – SOLAR FARMS
  2. LOAD DISPLACEMENT – INDUSTRIAL
  3. ENERGY STORAGE INCENTIVE – COMMERCIAL
  4. SOLAR PLUS BATTERY STORAGE – RESIDENTIAL
  5. SOLAR PLUS BATTERY STORAGE – BUSINESSES

BC HYDRO’S PROGRAMS

  1. Call for Power – Solar Farms: This initiative invites proposals for large-scale solar farms to significantly contribute to the province’s renewable energy supply. The 2024 Call for Power Request for Proposals (RFP) is structured to help ensure B.C. has sufficient clean or renewable energy to meet future needs. It aligns with the 2021 Integrated Resource Plan, which indicated the need to acquire approximately 3,000 GWh/year of additional energy as early as late fall 2028.
  2. Load Displacement – Industrial: Aimed at industrial sectors, this program encourages factories and large energy-consuming facilities to install solar panels to meet part of their energy needs. Installs must be greater than 100 kW and is for strictly unidirectional power. Maximum incentives can be $1 million for distribution systems and up to $5 million for transmission systems. By offloading some of their power demands to solar,
  3. Energy Storage Incentive – Commercial: This program focuses on commercial entities, offering incentives to integrate energy storage solutions with their solar systems. Energy storage systems (ESS) provide reliability and resiliency for businesses and the grid alike while helping to reduce GHG emissions as an alternative to diesel backup generation. Storing energy can help manage peak demand charges, reduce peak loads on the grid and provide electricity during outages.
  4. Solar Plus Battery Storage – Residential: Targeted at homeowners, this initiative promotes the combination of solar panels with battery storage systems. By storing excess solar energy, residents can use it during nighttime or cloudy days, enhancing energy independence and resilience against power outages. Rebates are up to $10,000 ($5k for solar and $5K for battery storage).
  5. Solar Plus Battery Storage – Businesses: The same solar panel plus battery storage program is extended to schools, businesses, multi-unit residential buildings and others. This program can deliver from $50,000 to $150,000 back to the owners.

SUSTAINABLE FUTURE

British Columbia’s solar energy revolution is well underway, with robust support from the government and proactive initiatives from BC Hydro. For renewable energy enthusiasts, homeowners, and business owners, this is an exciting time to explore the benefits of solar power and contribute to a sustainable future.

Ready to join the solar movement? Learn more about the available programs and how you can generate your own power. Let’s harness the power of the sun and make a positive impact on our environment and economy.

Curious about how to get started with solar energy? Contact our team today ([email protected] or https://energyeconomicssolar.ca/contact-us/) to find out more about available incentives and how you can benefit from BC’s solar programs. Let’s power the future together!

 

Source Link: https://energyeconomicssolar.ca/bcs-solar-energy-revolution/

Solar farm in B.C. – country’s largest off-grid solar farm

Link to Post Here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/ulkatcho-first-nation-anahim-lake-solar-farm-bc-1.7180682

 

Anahim Lake project, said to be country’s largest off-grid solar farm, will greatly reduce reliance on diesel

Ulkatcho First Nation set to build largest off-grid solar power farm in Canada

2 days ago

Duration3:23

A First Nation in Central B.C. is one step closer to having sustainable and clean energy. The Ulkatcho First Nation is set to build the largest off-grid solar power farm in Canada. CBC’s Janella Hamilton travelled to Anahim Lake to learn more about what the project means to the community.

A First Nation in central British Columbia says it will take a step toward “energy sovereignty” when it builds what officials say will be the largest off-grid solar farm in Canada.

Around 1,500 residents of Anahim Lake, home of the Ulkatcho First Nation, and surrounding small communities currently rely entirely on costly diesel for power.

“If we run out of diesel, then the lights go out. That’s it,” said Ulkatcho Elder Mary Williams.

But once built, the solar farm spanning about 12 hectares (30 acres) will supply up to 70 per cent of the electricity the communities need, according to Chief Lynda Price and B.C. Hydro.

“We believe that solar energy will be the source of our ability, for a lot of our families, to live off the grid,” Price told CBC News on Friday from Anahim Lake, which lies around 380 kilometres northwest of Vancouver in B.C.’s Chilcotin region.

“We’re really excited that this is the first stage of our solar power, and I believe our future generations will benefit.”

An empty field.
The solar farm will be built at the site of a former sawmill in Anahim Lake, and its construction and operation will employ many community members, including those who work at the diesel generator, according to B.C. Hydro CEO Chris O’Riley. (CBC News)

On Friday, the Ulkatcho Energy Corporation (UEC), which owns the project, signed a historic 20-year agreement with B.C. Hydro, promising that the public utility will purchase the energy created by the solar farm and integrate it into power lines and a storage system to serve the community.

The $30-million project — which is receiving $16 million in provincial and federal funding — is expected to produce enough electricity to power about 350 of the area’s 5,000 homes, according to B.C. Hydro.

That transition will reduce the community’s reliance on diesel by approximately 1.1 million litres — equivalent to approximately 3,300 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions — per year, B.C. Hydro CEO Chris O’Riley told CBC at the signing ceremony.

The provincial government has currently committed to reducing reliance on diesel for power by 80 per cent by 2030, and B.C. Hydro says Anahim Lake is one of 44 communities still dependent on the fuel.

“It’s important for people to understand how important this project is as part of our larger climate goals, as part of our reconciliation goals with First Nations,” O’Riley said. “And it really is a beacon for others.”

Security, self-determination

Ulkatcho First Nation elected councillor Corrine Cahoose says the solar farm is an important step for the nation’s economic, environmental and cultural self-determination.

“Our people are very resilient in our nation. We lived through all the colonization and the contact and smallpox and the residential schools, the missionaries,” said Cahoose.

An older woman smiles in a parking lot.
Corrine Cahoose, an Ulkatcho First Nation elected councillor, says the project is important from a practical perspective, but also for the nation’s economic, environmental and cultural self-determination. (CBC News)

“We’re all the knowledge keepers of the land. We know every mountain, we know every tree, we know every metal, we know all the animals, we know where they hang out,” she added.

“We have to be the stewards of that land. We have to protect in every way, and this project is one of the ways.”

Anahim Lake community members and experts say the transition to clean energy is also a practical decision.

Wildfires and icy roads often cause power outages, preventing truckloads of diesel from making it to the remote community before generators run out.

“On the whole, there’s very little drawback to actually putting in place these sorts of projects that again just add energy security and reduce costs for off-grid communities,” said Evan Pivnick, with Clean Energy Canada.

Construction at the site of the First Nation’s former sawmill is set to begin by August and the solar farm is projected to be operational by October 2025, according to the UEC.

The UEC, which is owned by the nation’s economic development corporation, will also feed revenue from the sale of solar power to B.C. Hydro into services, infrastructure, education and housing on the First Nation, according to Price and Cahoose.

“The revenue that’s going to come from this project will ensure that we continue to build a healthy future for our children,” said Cahoose.

WATCH | B.C. encourages First Nations to pitch new energy projects to meet growing demand: 

B.C. Hydro seeks pitches from operators for additional electricity supply

21 days ago

Duration2:08

Colleen Giroux-Schmidt, Clean Energy B.C. board chair, tells BC Today host Michelle Eliot that B.C. Hydro is looking to acquire 3,000 gigawatt hours of electricity per year, which would add five per cent to its current supply.

‘Go hard and go big’: How Australia got solar panels onto one in every three houses

For a brief period over several weekends this spring, the state of South Australia, which has a population of 1.8 million, did something no other place of similar size can claim: generate enough energy from solar panels on the roofs of houses to meet virtually all its electricity needs.

This is a new phenomenon, but it has been coming for a while – since solar photovoltaic cells started to be installed at a rapid pace across Australia in the early 2010s. Roughly one in three Australian households, more than 3.6m homes, now generate electricity domestically. In South Australia, the most advanced state for rooftop solar, the proportion is nearly 50%.

No other country comes close to installing small solar systems on a per capita basis. “It’s absolutely extraordinary by world standards,” said Dr Dylan McConnell, an energy systems analyst at the University of New South Wales. “We’re streets ahead.”

There was no overarching plan that made Australia the world leader in household solar PV. Analysts mostly agreed that it was a happy accident, the result of a range of uncoordinated policies across tiers of government. Many were subsidy schemes that were derided as too generous and gradually scaled back, but the most important – an easy-to-access, upfront national rebate available to everyone – endured. It has helped make panels cost-effective and easy to install.

Cost was a big consideration for the Jamiesons – Sean, Deb, and their 19-year-old daughter, Molly – when they installed a system on the four-bedroom house in a beachside suburb in South Australia’s capital, Adelaide, a decade ago. They upgraded to a larger 8kW system during a home renovation five years later, and have installed two batteries, the first subsidized as part of a state government scheme trialing household energy storage systems to help stabilize a power grid that increasingly runs on variable solar and wind power.

Sean Jamieson, a pilot with the airline Jetstar, said the setup had been “incredibly beneficial”, in part because his family uses a range of energy-hungry equipment, including a pool and hot tub. They first opted for solar after watching the price of grid electricity rise sharply, mainly due to the cost of rebuilding electricity transmission poles and wires. He said it has continued to make sense.

“I’m looking at paying it off [through savings on what annual power bills would otherwise have been] in three or four years, so it’s been a great investment,” he said of the household energy system. “Generally, solar is just a no-brainer in South Australia. We’ve got a lot of sunshine and the most expensive electricity in Australia, and in the beginning, it was heavily subsidized.”

Dr Gabrielle Kuiper, an independent energy and climate change strategist, noted Australia was not the first country out of the gate on rooftop solar – that was Germany, which introduced the first subsidy scheme, and “none of us would be here without them” – but said it was one of the first to capitalize on the German model. It began with a natural advantage: more sun than nearly any other wealthy country. Even the southern island state of Tasmania is at a latitude that would place it level with Spain and California if it were in the northern hemisphere.

Kuiper said Australia had succeeded at solar for reasons beyond geography. Incentives were a big part of it, but the technology’s rise was accelerated by ordinary people embracing it to have some control over their power bills and, in some cases, play a small part in tackling the climate crisis by reducing the country’s reliance on coal.

The subsidies initially included a national rebate of A$8,000 for a small 1kW array – more than the sticker price in parts of the country. It was complemented by state government feed-in tariff schemes that paid households for the energy they fed back into the power grid and, in some cases, for all the electricity they generated.

There was little planning in how the various incentives fit together and critics attacked it as an expensive and inefficient way to cut greenhouse gas emissions. But it kickstarted an industry of installers, sales people, trainers and inspectors, and quickly made solar a viable option for people beyond the country’s wealthiest suburbs.

Today, the feed-in-tariffs have been cut, but the national rebate scheme survives, with bipartisan support despite deep divisions over other responses to the climate crisis. Analysts and industry players have praised its elegant design. The rebate is processed by and paid to the installer. The buyer may not even know it exists. It is reduced by about 8% each year, a rate that roughly keeps pace with the continuing fall in the cost of having panels installed.

The fall in cost has been significant. The sums vary depending on geography, but the SolarQuotes comparison site suggests many Australians can get a 6kW solar system for about A$6,000 (£3,100). The panels are likely to have paid for themselves within five years.

The influx of solar has brought challenges, including how to manage the flood of near-free energy in the middle of the day that risks making inflexible coal generators unviable before the country is ready for them to be turned off. Some states have responded by curtailing how much can be accepted into the grid, but Kuiper says this can be addressed through increasingly creative management. Answers include improving incentives for household batteries and fostering a two-way energy exchange between the grid and a growing electric vehicle fleet.

Rooftops provided 11% of the country’s electricity over the past year, part of a 38% total renewable energy share. The Australian government has set a challenging national goal of 82% of all electricity coming from renewables by 2030.

Simon Holmes à Court, a longtime clean energy advocate and convener of the political fundraising body Climate 200, said it was clear rooftop solar was playing a bigger part in reaching that than many people expected. “Not long ago renewables skeptics laughed at rooftop solar’s ‘tiny’ contribution. These days there’s no question solar is playing a major role in pushing coal out of our grid,” he said.

Tristan Edis, an analyst with the consultants Green Energy Markets, said the lesson for those watching on was pretty simple: the generous early subsidies worked. “It really was this fortuitous accident that happened,” he said. “The message from it is pretty clear: go hard and go big, or don’t bother.”

Link Reference: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/nov/01/how-generous-subsidies-helped-australia-to-become-a-leader-in-solar-power

Households have continued to use state help that was first created more than a decade ago by Adam Morton

Copy Rights Reserved For www.theguardian.com

🏡🌿 Attention Homeowners in Canada: Don’t Miss Out on the Greener Grant Home Opportunity! Act Now! 🇨🇦💚

The clock is ticking, and the opportunity to transform your home into an eco-friendly haven with the Greener Grant Home is slipping away. 🕒 As of now, a staggering 65% of the funds allocated for this incredible federal government initiative have already been snapped up. 🌟

🌞 Imagine lower energy bills, reduced carbon footprint, and increased comfort within your home. The Greener Grant Home can make this vision a reality.

💡 Here’s why you should seize this opportunity NOW:

🌱 Unparalleled Savings: With up to 65% of the funds already allocated, there’s no time to waste. The Greener Grant Home offers substantial financial incentives to make your home more energy-efficient, from insulation upgrades to efficient heating systems.

💚 Environmental Impact: Every energy-efficient upgrade you make through the Greener Grant Home reduces your carbon footprint and contributes to Canada’s commitment to sustainability and a greener future for generations to come.

🏠 Enhanced Home Value: Say goodbye to chilly winters and sweltering summers. With the Greener Grant Home, you can enjoy year-round comfort in your home, and the installation of solar panels ensures your home value goes up, contributing to a sustainable and financially sound future.

💰 Long-Term Savings: Lower energy bills are a given when you make your home more energy-efficient. These savings continue to add up over the years, making your investment in a greener home a wise financial decision.

🤝 Don’t miss out on this golden opportunity to enhance your home’s energy efficiency while saving money and reducing your environmental impact. The clock is ticking, and funds are running out!

🚀 Act NOW and take the first step toward a Greener Home. Reach out to us for a FREE assessment or visit the official Greener Grant Home website to learn more and start your application process. Your future self and the planet will thank you! 🌎🌟

#GreenerHome #EnergyEfficiency #Sustainability #GreenLiving #Canada #FederalInitiative #ActNow #EnvironmentallyFriendly #HomeImprovement

Let’s make our homes greener and our planet brighter together! 🏡🌿💡

 

Click Here For Details (PDF File)

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As we reflect on 2022, we’re proud of this achievement, but know there is much work to do to address the global water crisis. Our continued focus is critical in bringing clean energy and water to the billions of people who need it most.

Our GivePartners and the gracious support of thousands of other donors, big and small, make our work possible. In 2022, we grew our project deployments by 170%, building 45 new solar projects around the globe including 5 new Solar Water Farms in Kenya. Our 10 SWF’s now supply clean water for up to 200,000 people every day. We also completed 9 Solar Impact Projects in Colombia, Nepal, the DRC, Mexico, Botswana and Haiti. And on top of that, 293 volunteers were escorted on 31 life-changing treks to build projects in Colombia, Nepal and the Philippines.

Mwingi – Solar Water Farm Mobi+

Mwingi is a small town about 120 miles east of the capital city, Nirobi. A prolonged drought has made water access a nightmare, forcing residents to trek many kilometers in order to get clean, drinkable water. With the deployment of our new Mobi+, we’ll now provide up to 15,000 liters of clean water a day for this worthy community.

Mtongwe – Solar Water Farm Max

Mtongwe is an underprivileged coastal community in the Mombasa area. Though Mombasa is the country’s second largest city and home to one of Kenya’s two naval bases, many Mtongwe residents lack access to reliable power and fresh water. Situated a few kilometers away from our Likoni Max, the GivePower site teams will work together to maximize distribution in the area providing access to clean drinking water for up to 70,000 people a day.

Thank you to Titan Solar Power for fully funding the Mtongwe Max.

GivePower’s Solar Water Farm Max in Haiti Provided 240,000 Liters Of Clean Water to Those Suffering From a Deadly Cholera Outbreak

In the wake of paralyzing fuel shortages severely inhibiting the transport of clean water in Haiti, a deadly cholera outbreak was identified in October. Clean water was needed urgently on the mainland to contain the disease. Our existing Max on the island of La Gonave was uniquely positioned to help. GivePower received invaluable support from Amazon, which donated 20,000 reusable water bags, The United Nations Humanitarian Air Services (UNHAS), which transported the bags, and Health Through Walls, which facilitated deliveries of water to over 12,000 of those most vulnerable to the disease. Over 240,000 liters of clean water were distributed over a 6-week period.

Thank you to Lyndon & Maddie Rive and Endless Network for their generous support of this life-saving effort.

Solar-Powered Recycling Center in Juanchaco, Colombia

EcoPazifico, a local non-profit that promotes recycling efforts in Colombia, has been working with the village of Juanchaco to develop a trash for cash program to help clean up the environment, improve livelihoods, and turn waste into a resource. In November, we were able to complete construction of a community-run, solar-powered recycling center and provided recycling machinery as well as a solar microgrid impacting over 1,400 people so far.

Thank you to Enfragen, MUFG Union Bank Foundation and the Glenfarne Group for making this project possible.

Solarizing Rural Boat Travel in Miramar, Colombia

In Miramar, families spend up to 60% of their income on fuel costs to get their children to school. In partnership with the Universidad de los Andes, GivePower provided solar power for school boat travel and sustainable transportation solutions for local fishermen. This significantly reduced the community’s reliance on diesel and in turn provided access to education without financial sacrifice. The project provided new boats with Torqeedo engines and solar-powered charging stations. Over 400 people’s lives were changed.

Thank you to Enfragen and the Glenfarne Group for making this project possible.

We are grateful for your support and partnership in making a positive impact in the lives of those who need our help the most. Our founding GivePartner, GoodLeap, funds 100% of our administrative costs. That means every additional dollar you give goes directly to a project in the field. With your donation to GivePower, together, we can continue to provide clean energy solutions around the world.


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What’s “Off-Grid Living”?

Off-grid living refers to the practice of living independently from the traditional power grid by generating one’s own electricity, water, and other necessities. This can be achieved through a variety of methods, such as solar power, wind power, hydropower, and even alternative energy solutions like biomass or geothermal.

One of the main benefits of off-grid living is the ability to be self-sufficient and not rely on the power grid or other public utilities. This can be especially appealing for those who live in remote or rural areas where access to the power grid is limited. Additionally, off-grid living can also be a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly lifestyle choice, as it reduces the dependence on fossil fuels and reduces the carbon footprint.

Off-Grid Solar System - Off-Grid Solar Kit | Unbound Solar

However, off-grid living also has its challenges. It can be costly to set up and maintain an off-grid system, and it requires a significant level of knowledge and expertise to install and maintain the system. Additionally, off-grid living often means living with limited resources and without the luxury of modern conveniences such as air conditioning, dishwashers, or other high-energy-consuming appliances.

In order to successfully live off-grid, it’s important to carefully plan and design the system. It’s also important to be aware of local regulations, as there may be legal restrictions or permit requirements for installing off-grid systems.

In conclusion, off-grid living is the practice of living independently from the traditional power grid by generating one’s own electricity, water, and other necessities. This can be achieved through a variety of methods such as solar power, wind power, hydropower, and alternative energy solutions. Living off-grid offers the benefits of self-sufficiency and sustainability but also comes with its own set of challenges like cost, maintenance, and limited resources. It is important to plan and design the system accordingly and be aware of local regulations.

A green machine: New Brunswicker uses solar to power his electric pickup truck

‘There’s probably going to be a huge demand in the future’

A red Ford truck parked next to an angled collection of solar panels. There are orange trees in the background.

 

A future landscape for many might include an electric vehicle powered by a solar grid that can run electricity for a home when the power goes out.

But it’s not that futuristic for one New Brunswick man. In fact, it’s his reality.

Cory Allen, who lives in Nasonworth, N.B., switched to electric vehicles in 2019, beginning with an SUV.

He said he still had a gas car in the garage at the time because, like many people, he was skeptical.

More recently, he got an electric pickup truck, the Ford F-150 Lightning. He said it has some “really cool” features, including being able to “back feed” electricity into the house.

In the event of a power outage, Allen’s automatic standby generator would kick in, which he said would cost around $6 or $7 per hour to run.

But then he could go to the garage and flick a transfer switch that would allow the truck to power the house. He said the truck can power the house for around two days before needing a charge.

A man wearing a navy blue collared shirt standing in front of a mountain landscape

Not only that but the truck is charged using solar energy.

Allen had a 12.8-kilowatt array of solar panels installed that feed into the garage where vehicles are charged. He said the truck takes around eight hours to go from zero power to a full charge.

He said he went with a grid-tied solar system for his home, which is different than a standard setup, so there’s no battery component.

He said when the vehicles are charging, they will take all of the solar energy that’s being produced. But when they are not actively using all of the solar energy, the meter will run backward and the power will be banked for when they need it, Allen said.

His panels are on a wooden frame in the field by his house. That was more cost-effective than putting them on the roof of his home since the field has a better southern exposure, which means increased sunlight.

Not a lot of public knowledge

The idea for the setup originally came from Epic Energy, a New Brunswick solar energy company, when Allen approached them about a solar array.

“The electrician came over and we began talking and … he just offered so many of these awesome ideas,” said Allen.

Richard Knappe, president of Epic Energy, said there isn’t a lot of public knowledge about using solar to power electric vehicles, but they have had conversations with interested clients.

He said there also aren’t many vehicles that have the necessary technology.

“There’s probably going to be a huge demand in the future,” said Knappe. “But right now, we’re pretty limited to the F-150 Ford, and the Hyundai IONIQ 5.”

When it comes to setting up these types of systems, the wiring does get pretty complicated, he said. Knappe has an electrician who does this work, but he said it is hard to find electricians with that particular knowledge.

Long-term financial benefit

Allen said having an electric vehicle is also a long-term financial benefit for him.

He said the truck is expensive upfront at roughly $100,000. Then there is around $11,000 for the solar array and about $7,000 for the electrical work.

But the cost makes sense in the long run, Allen said.

He said as a small business owner who travels a lot, he was spending a lot on gas to fuel a pickup truck.

But without having to buy gas, he said his monthly payments come out to less since he’s only making payments on the truck.

Allen said one of the things that makes him feel good about his setup is the carbon footprint.

He said there is a heavy carbon footprint at the outset for the production of electric vehicles and solar panels. But, after using them for around five years, he said his household could be net zero.

He said environmental concerns are always something he tries to keep on top of his mind.

“I often joked, ‘Well, at least I’m offsetting the gas I put through the truck with the car,'” said Allen. “But now we have the electric car and the truck, so I don’t even have to worry about that joke anymore.”

Locally assembled, smallest and lightest LiFePO4 battery in North America

Off the grid living is becoming more and more popular, and with it comes an increasing need for portable energy. Vancouver’s own Royer Batteries has created the smallest and lightest Lithium battery – The Micro Smart Heated Battery – that North America has seen, that’s the perfect solution to energy needs, whether for solar off-grid homes, RVs, van-life, or marine usage. Coming with many new advantages in comparison to its old alternative, the lead acid battery, the Canadian assembled Micro Battery uses LiFePO4 chemistry and trumps it in every category while setting the stage for the future for how we store electricity.

 

The lead acid battery has been the traditional choice for off-grid power usage for many years, but throughout it, the battery has had faults that leave users with more stress over their electricity. Though there are different types of lead acid batteries with different strengths, the weaknesses of them all remain the same. Firstly, the lead acid battery can only use 50% (or less) of it’s rated capacity (Ah) for each cycle, leaving less usable power than advertised. For lead acid battery users this means you don’t really get what you think, energy wise – you get half of it. Furthermore, if the lead acid battery isn’t charged on a strict schedule, the lack thereof will begin to damage the battery, before it’s even used all of its power.

 

Cycle life – the number of times a battery can be recharged – is another issue that could be improved when it comes to lead acid batteries. At about 1500 cycles, the lead acid battery will have lost 50% capacity. Though this may still seem like a lot of cycles, it’s important to note that how much usable KWh – Kilowatt-Hour – the battery can deliver is still being reduced each cycle, meaning even before the 50% capacity loss, the lead acid battery will not be able to deliver the same amount of power even halfway into its life cycle. Overall, weighing around 4-6x times more than lithium batteries, the lead acid battery is delivering sub-optimal power, low energy density, and high maintenance needs, without even delivering longevity.

 

With the Micro Battery, you are truly getting what you pay for. With 100% usable capacity or depth of discharge, it overcomes the deficits of the lead acid battery, and in turn revolutionized the way off grid power is stored. The battery does not need to be constantly recharged to maintain it’s life expectancy, nor does it have the same life cycle shortage as its alternative. In comparison to the lead acid battery which loses 50% capacity over 1500 cycles, the Micro Battery comes out on top, losing only 20% capacity over a minimum of 3000 cycles, and up to 5000 in most applications. It also doesn’t lose as much capacity every cycle, ensuring you are getting the optimal amount of electricity out of your battery, every time. Over the life-time, the Micro Battery will output over 10 times the amount of usable power, greatly increasing the amount of energy a user can get out of their battery. Although it cannot be charged in 0 degrees and below, nor discharged in -20 degrees and below, the Micro Battery was designed with a low consumption automatic built-in heater, to face its weaknesses head on.

 

The Micro Battery not only fixes the faults of its alternative but comes with new upgrades, as well. It comes with an app that connects to the battery with Bluetooth, enabling users to not only see if there are issues with their battery, but also better understand their energy usage. This app allows users to be more energy conscious, in addition to understanding how their battery really works. Furthermore, Each battery comes with a 10 year warranty but it can easily last you up to 25 years with relevant energy density still left. The Micro Battery is completely serviceable so parts are interchangeable and exchangeable; if there is an issue out of warranty it can be repaired simply.

 

This battery is likely going to take the market by storm. Even with other lithium-based batteries on the market, those batteries tend to have lower kWh, up to 50% larger, up to 50% heavier, as well as have less features. With the Micro Battery, the cells are square, optimizing space. Meanwhile, weighing in at only 59 pounds, the Micro 12V 310Ah Battery is the perfect solution for mobile applications, such as van-living. Although this battery costs on average 2 times more than its lead acid alternative, over the life-time of the LiFePO4 it will cost 5 times less money per Amp-hour used.

 

 

The Micro battery will truly revolutionize the way off-grid power is used and stored. Tyrone Royer, creator of the Micro Battery from Royer Batteries, reports on how he feels about his battery and its size, saying “I just love hearing ‘No way, you can’t fit that much power in there!’” At 59 pounds 100% capacity that can be cycled up to 10000 times in its lifetime, the Micro is the best new way to store energy.

LiFePO4 vs. Lithium Ion Batteries

A Brief History of the LiFePO4 Battery

The LiFePO4 battery began with John B. Goodenough and Arumugam Manthiram. They were the first to discover the materials employed in lithium-ion batteries. Anode materials are not very suitable for use in lithium-ion batteries. This is because they’re prone to early short-circuiting.

Scientists discovered that cathode materials are better alternatives for lithium-ion batteries. And this is very clear in the LiFePO4 battery variants. Fast-forward, increasing stability, conductivity – improving all sorts of things, and poof! LiFePO4 batteries are born.

Today, there are rechargeable LiFePO4 batteries everywhere. These batteries have many useful applications – they’re used in boats, solar systems, vehicles, and more. LiFePO4 batteries are cobalt-free and cost less than most of its alternatives (over time). It’s not toxic and it lasts longer. But we’ll get to that more soon. The future holds very bright prospects for the LiFePO4 battery.

But what makes the LiFePO4 battery better?

 

LiFePO4 vs. Lithium Ion Batteries

Fishing-Boat

Now that we know what LiFePO4 batteries are, let’s discuss what makes LiFePO4 better than lithium-ion and other lithium batteries.

The LiFePO4 battery isn’t great for wearable devices like watches. Because they have a lower energy density compared to other lithium-ion batteries. That said, for things like solar energy systems, RVs, golf carts, bass boats, and electric motorcycles, it’s the best by far. Why?

Well, for one, the cycle life of a LiFePO4 battery is over 4x that of other lithium-ion batteries.

It’s also the safest lithium battery type on the market, safer than lithium-ion and other battery types.

And last but not least, LiFePO4 batteries can not only reach 3,000-5,000 cycles or more… They can reach 100% depth of discharge (DOD). Why does that matter? Because that means, with LiFePO4 (unlike other batteries) you don’t have to worry about over-discharging your battery. Also, you can use it for a longer period of time as a result. In fact, you can use a quality LiFePO4 battery for many years longer than other battery types. It’s rated to last about 5,000 cycles. That’s roughly 10 years. So the average cost over time is much better. That’s how LiFePO4 batteries stack up vs lithium-ion.

Here’s why LiFePO4 batteries are better than not just lithium-ion, but other battery types in general:

Safe, Stable Chemistry

Lithium battery safety is important. The newsworthy “exploding” lithium-ion laptop batteries have made that clear. One of the most important advantages LiFePO4 has over other battery types is safety. LiFePO4 is the safest lithium battery type. It’s the safest of any type, actually.

Overall, LifePO4 batteries have the safest lithium chemistry. Why? Because lithium iron phosphate has better thermal and structural stability. This is something lead acid and most other battery types don’t have at the level LiFePO4 does. LiFePO4 is incombustible. It can withstand high temperatures without decomposing. It’s not prone to thermal runaway and will keep cool at room temperature. 

If you subject a LiFePO4 battery to harsh temperatures or hazardous events (like short-circuiting or a crash) it won’t start a fire or explode. For those who use deep cycle LiFePO4 batteries every day in an RV, bass boat, scooter, or liftgate, this fact is comforting.

Environmental Safety

LiFePO4 batteries are already a boon to our planet because they’re rechargeable. But their eco-friendliness doesn’t stop there. Unlike lead acid and nickel oxide lithium batteries, they are non-toxic and won’t leak. You can recycle them as well. But you won’t need to do that often, since they last 5000 cycles. That means you can recharge them (at least) 5,000 times. In comparison, lead acid batteries last only 300-400 cycles. 

Excellent Efficiency and Performance

You want a safe, non-toxic battery. But you also want a battery that’s going to perform well. These stats prove that LiFePO4 delivers all that and more:

  • Charge efficiency: a LiFePO4 battery will reach full charge in 2 hours or less. 
  • Self-discharge rate when not in use: Only 2% per month. (Compared to 30% for lead acid batteries).
  • Runtime is higher than lead acid batteries/other lithium batteries.
  • Consistent power: the same amount of amperage even when below 50% battery life.
  • No maintenance is needed.

Small and Lightweight

Many factors weigh in to make LiFePO4 batteries better. Speaking of weighing–they are total lightweights. In fact, they’re almost 50% lighter than lithium manganese oxide batteries. They weigh up to 70% lighter than lead acid batteries.

When you use your LiFePO4 battery in a vehicle, this translates to less gas usage and more maneuverability. They are also compact, freeing up space on your scooter, boat, RV, or industrial application. 

LiFePO4 Batteries vs. Non-Lithium Batteries

When it comes to LiFePO4 vs lithium ion, LiFePO4 is the clear winner. But how do LiFePO4 batteries compare to other rechargeable batteries on the market today? 

Lead Acid Batteries

Lead acid batteries may be a bargain at first, but they’ll end up costing you more in the long run. That’s because they need constant maintenance, and you must replace them more often. A LiFePO4 battery will last 2-4x longer, with zero upkeep needed. 

Gel Batteries

Like LiFePO4 batteries, gel batteries don’t need frequent recharging. They also won’t lose charge while stored. Where do gel and LiFePO4 differ? A big factor is the charging process. Gel batteries charge at a snail’s pace. Also, you must disconnect them when 100% charged to avoid ruining them. 

AGM Batteries

AGM batteries will do plenty of damage to your wallet, and are at high risk of becoming damaged themselves if you drain them past 50% capacity. Maintaining them can be difficult as well. LiFePO4 Ionic lithium batteries can be discharged completely with no risk of damage. 

A LiFePO4 Battery for Every Application

LiFePO4 technology has proven beneficial for a wide variety of applications. Here are a few of them:

  • Fishing boats and kayaks: Less charging time and longer runtime mean more time out on the water. Less weight allows for easy maneuvering and a speed boost during that high-stakes fishing competition. 
  • Mopeds and mobility scooters: No dead weight to slow you down. Charge to less than full capacity for impromptu trips without damaging your battery. 
  • Solar setups: Haul lightweight LiFePO4 batteries wherever life takes you (even if it’s up a mountain and far from the grid) and harness the power of the sun. 
  • Commercial use: These batteries are the safest, toughest lithium batteries out there. So they’re great for industrial applications like floor machines, liftgates, and more. 
  • Much more: In addition, lithium iron phosphate batteries power many other things. For example – flashlights, electronic cigarettes, radio equipment, emergency lighting and much more.

LiFePO4 Quick Answers

Is LiFePO4 the same as lithium-ion?

Not at all! The LiFePO4 battery has a cycle life of over 4x that of lithium-ion polymer batteries.

Are LiFePO4 batteries good?

Well, for starters, LiFePO4 batteries are incredibly efficient compared to traditional batteries. Not only that, they’re super-light and you can use most of your battery’s capacity without any problems. (You can only use roughly 50% with lead acid batteries. After that, the battery gets damaged.) So overall, yes, very much so – LiFePO4 batteries are great.

Can LiFePO4 catch fire?

LiFePO4 batteries are the safest of lithium batteries, because they will not catch fire, and won’t even overheat. Even if you puncture the battery it will not catch fire. This is a massive upgrade over other lithium batteries, which can overheat and catch fire.

Is LiFePO4 better than lithium-ion?

The LiFePO4 battery has the edge over lithium-ion, both in terms of cycle life (it lasts 4-5x longer), and safety. This is a key advantage because lithium-ion batteries can overheat and even catch fire, while LiFePO4 does not.

Why is LiFePO4 so expensive?

LiFePO4 batteries are usually more expensive on the front end, but cheaper long-term because they last so long. They cost more upfront because the materials used to build them are more expensive. But people still choose them over other batteries. Why? Because LiFePO4 has many advantages over other batteries. For example, they’re much lighter than lead acid and many other battery types. They’re also much safer, they last longer, and require no maintenance.

Is LiFePO4 a lipo?

No. Lifepo4 has a number of distinct advantages over Lipo, and while both are lithium chemistries, they are not the same.

What can I use LiFePO4 Batteries for?

You can use LiFePO4 batteries for the same things you’d use lead acid, AGM or other traditional batteries for. For example, you can use them to power bass boats and other marine toys. Or RVs. Or solar setups, mobility scooters, and much more.

Is LiFePO4 more dangerous than AGM or lead acid?

Nope. It’s actually quite a bit safer. And for a number of reasons, including the fact that LiFePO4 batteries don’t leak toxic fumes. And they don’t spill sulfuric acid like many other batteries (like lead acid.) And like we mentioned earlier, they don’t overheat or catch fire.

Can I leave my LiFePO4 battery on the charger?

If your LiFePO4 batteries have a battery management system, it will prevent your battery from overcharging. Our Ionic batteries all have built-in battery management systems.

What is the life expectancy of LiFePO4 batteries?

Life expectancy is one of the biggest perks, if not the biggest perk of LiFePO4. Our lithium batteries are rated to last around 5,000 cycles. That is 10 years or so (and often more), depending on usage of course. Even after those 5,000 cycles, our LiFePO4 batteries can still function at 70% capacity. And better still, you can discharge past 80% without a single issue. (Lead acid batteries tend to gas out when discharged past 50%.)


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