When people think about solar battery, a good 4 out 5 people will think Tesla, which is a testament to their companies marketing department. The Tesla marketing department has been building the popularity of their units, getting people to jump on their product waitlist and joining a brand culture that has been carefully strategized and planned. Before you know it, it’s easy to be swayed by a brand perception rather than the quality and specs of their product itself.
In the background, LG Chem have been busily working getting their product installed in thousands of houses all over Australia. There is no need for a wait list as the product is readily available and they have created an extensive qualified installer network. In fact, the LG Chem Company is now ranked as the largest manufacturer of lithium ion batteries in the world.
The Tesla popularity does not reflect their market share with LG Chem, holding the greatest market share in the Australian market with approximately 38% to Tesla 18%. A lot of this has to do with the supply of product.
The LG Chem batteries are readily available with a large installation network through their LG ESS partner program, offering free technical installation training to all qualified industry professionals. Compare this to the Tesla, who has supply issues with hundreds of customers on wait lists. They also do not offer installation training to new installers at present, nor is there an extensive distribution network. This would allow them to directly control the quality of the supply and installation of their product, but does also directly affect their ability to compete in the Australian market.
The Tesla Power Wall has the advantage of a built in inverter which means that it can be AC coupled to any existing solar PV system. Although this seems like a more convenient option as it allows for the battery to be added without touching the existing solar system, it does result in power losses, as the power conversion process has to happen twice.
The LG Chem RESU batteries, as well as a majority of their battery models on the market, require an external hybrid inverter or battery charger in order to connect to a solar system. It is still possible to have an external hybrid inverter charger AC coupled to an existing solar PV system.
The storage capacity of the Tesla Power Wall is 13kw. However, the LG Chem battery has a range of sizes starting with the RESU range that is 3.3-9.8kw and the Opal storage units that use the LG Chem rack mount batteries with 13kw capacity.
This allows for a more accurate design tailored to a client's specific storage requirements.
The Tesla battery has a full depth of discharge meaning that the full capacity after efficiency loses can be used, whereas the LG Chem batteries have a 95% depth of discharge.
However, when you look at the cell efficiency of the 2 units Tesla 90% and LG 95%, the overall performance of the batteries comes out fairly even.
Both batteries have an estimated lifespan of 10 years and a cycle warranty of 6000 cycles. The Tesla Power Wall has a greater temperature tolerance than the LG Chem, with the Tesla having a temperature range of 15 - 50 degrees, with the RESU having 0 - 40 degrees.
However, it is industry best practice for the batteries to be installed in a well-ventilated area out of the weather, protected from the elements, so the discrepancy in temperature ranges if installed correctly should be fairly irrelevant.
The main difference between the 2 units and their lesser-known counterparts is the companies, one a leading automotive company the other the highest grossing electronics company in the world.
The battery component used in the Tesla is not actually a Tesla. The battery component of the Tesla power wall is a Panasonic. Panasonic is not a poor quality product, however, it is not Tesla. The LG Chem RESU batteries use the LG flat pouch lithium-ion packs in their storage units.
All good solar PV batteries have a high capital expenditure meaning the return on investment on the battery is a long term one usually around the 6-8 years to recoup that investment.
Has the LG Chem won you over? Inspire Energy consultants can tailor a battery system to suit the needs of any household. Be sure to hit the contact menu on the bar above or call us on (02) 4623 2134.