Up until recently, Lithium-ion (li-ion) batteries have not been commercially adopted as batteries for single-phase UPSs. While used in various other applications, they didn’t provide the necessary balance of price, energy density, power, safety, and reliability to be suitable for UPSs. However, as battery technology has advanced for the purposes of electric vehicles, this has all changed. Offering twice the battery life and up to half the total cost of ownership (TCO) compared to valve regulated lead acid (VRLA) batteries, Schneider Electric has announced the launch of the APC Smart-UPS Lithium-Ion UPS Battery to South Africa.

“We are very excited about bringing this technology to South Africa, where return-on-investment is a crucial decision-making factor,” says George Senzere, Pre-Sales Manager at Schneider Electric South Africa. “When it comes to return-on-investment, it is important to look beyond the initial spend and assess the TCO so that you can more accurately project the costs and benefits involved. The move from traditional VRLA batteries to li-ion batteries offers several advantages that ultimately lower TCO.”

One of the biggest contributors to this lowered TCO is the low operational expenses (opex) of li-ion batteries. While the capital expenditure (capex) on a VRLA battery UPS may be less than a li-ion battery UPS, VLRA batteries become very expensive due to the costs of refreshing and replacing them, which is necessary for lead acid UPSs. On the other hand, a li-ion battery will typically match the life expectancy of the UPS itself, about 10 years (compared to 3-5 years of VRLA batteries). That effectively means never having to change the UPS battery, which means you save not only on the cost of the battery, but also on the labour involved in replacing it.