Lithium ferro-phosphate battery for off-grid solar and tiny homes unveiled


pv magazine met with Discover Battery at Intersolar North America in Long Beach, California to view the unveiling of Helios ESS, a lithium ferro-phosphate (LFP) battery with use cases in off-grid solar, tiny homes, and RVs.

The Vancouver-designed battery comes in a 24 V or 48 V design, with 60 Ah and 30 Ah rated capacity, respectively. The 30 lb unit is sized at 10.2 x 7.1 x 10.8 in and has a nominal energy rating of 1.54 kWh.

Up to 20 Helios batteries can be linked in series, which are controlled by Discover’s Lynk II Gateway, a battery management system (BMS) that can dynamically manage charges and perform remote troubleshooting when connected with the internet. The Lynk II can be integrated with major inverters from Schneider, Victron, Sol-Ark, SMA, Studer, and more. The BMS is located in a cabin at the top of the battery unit for ease-of-access. When charged in a closed-loop managed by proprietary BMS, the batteries can be charged 25% faster, said Discover.

Discover said the battery case is designed in-house and fit directly for Discover’s battery cells, making the device stable, especially when used in mobile applications. In remote, cold climates, the Helios battery employs its integrated self-heating layer for optimal performance. The battery also has an on/off switch for flexibility and energy conservation. The device is available now globally, with shipments starting in February.

LFP batteries have a significantly lessened risk of thermal runway compared to conventional lithium counterparts, as they remove the key culprit, cobalt, from the battery chemistry. Helios is UL 1971 certified.

Discover has been making batteries since 1949, and primarily works in the lead-acid space. The team brings 100+ years of combined solar industry experience, using that expertise to create a product that is sensitive to the needs of solar installers and service teams. Remote management via BMS means less truck rolls, and a removable BMS that does not require moving cells prevents the need for shipping lithium when repairs are needed.

From left to right, AES, Helios, and Element.
image: pv magazine

Coming down the line for Discover this summer is its Element battery, a 5 kW LFP battery that can also be placed in a series of 20 and managed by Lynk II. This device joins Discover’s workhorse, the AES battery, a 3.0 kWh and 7.4 kWh 48 V unit.

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