Media Workers and TV Researchers - Please seek permission before posting on this site or approaching individuals found here by phone or email - write to the Editor - mail to

Home Forums General Discussion Nickel Iron vs. Lead Acid — Off-Grid Battery Showdown Re: Nickel Iron vs. Lead Acid — Off-Grid Battery Showdown


The subject of battery technology will be an ongoing debate for some time.

In the past five years lithium Ion has grown in prominence in automotive and marine applications in the sizes needed for an off-grid house.

Yesterday a friend posted a lenghty technical post on another forum where he illustrated the cost effectiveness of this new techology.

HOWEVER there is a fly in the ointment. This kind of battery requires special chargers and you cannot use regular 12V or 24V chargers suited to conventional lead acid.

This also means solar power systems must use special chargers and at this time not too many vendors provide this.

For this reason I would prefer NiFe technology because the cells can tolerate deep discharge and rapid recharge compared to conventional lead acid. Someone mentioned using only shallow discharge to about 30% in order to get long life. NiFe can tolerate far more so you do not need as large a battery bank for the same amount of daily energy consumption. The conventional thinking was you should size a bank to 3X as large to cover a multi day period of cloudy weather when solar panels or a wind turbine does not produce enough.

I would counter this by saying a gasoline generator of very modest size cost far less and uses far less in fuel than the additional cost on battery capacity. Locally we pay $5.00 per gallon and one local food vendor runs a snack wagon he powers for about $1.50 per day to run his freezers and electric grill plus lights. He uses a 3kW generator running all day long.