Best batteries to protect against load-shedding in South Africa

Load-shedding is here to stay, and as rotational power cuts are expected to persist for the foreseeable future, South Africans are increasingly installing backup batteries to keep their essential appliances up and running.

Several prominent brands produce long-lasting lithium-ion battery systems available in South Africa. These include Revov, Sunsynk, Freedom Won, Huawei, and Tesla.

MyBroadband compared the battery systems on price and cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of capacity. We selected batteries with a minimum capacity of 10kWh.

The most expensive battery systems listed are Tesla’s Powerwall 2 and Huawei’s iSitePower-M, priced at R225,999 and R209,000, respectively.

However, it should be noted that the Powerwall 2 and iSitePower-M 15kWh systems have integrated inverters, increasing their prices — and cost per kWh — significantly.

The Tesla Powerwall 2 and Huawei iSitePower-M work out to R16,741 and R13,933 per kWh, respectively.

The other five battery systems compared require a separate inverter to charge and switch between mains and battery power.

Revov’s R9 250Ah battery with a 12.8kWh capacity worked out cheapest overall at the cost of R4,133 per kWh. The price of the battery is R52,899.

It was the cheapest by some margin, with the next-most affordable per kWh being Cyclone’s 15kWh LiFE system for R94,999, or R6,333 per kWh.

The middle of the field is closely contested, with prices per kWh ranging from R6,333 to R7,048.

The Sunsyk 10.65kWh battery system is available locally for R70,000, which works out to R6,573 per kWh.

Hubble’s AM-10 battery has the smallest capacity of the lot at 10kWh. However, with a price of R69,495, this works out to R6,950 per kWh.

Lastly, the Freedom Won LiTE Home 15/12 system has a capacity of 15kWh and costs R105,720. Buyers of the battery system pay R7,048 per kWh of energy storage.

Lithium-ion vs lead-acid batteries

While South Africans can buy lead-acid or gel batteries for a fraction of the cost of their lithium-ion counterparts, this comes with significant drawbacks to consider.

Unlike lithium-ion variants, lead-acid and gel batteries have a significantly lower depth of discharge, below which the battery’s capacity can be damaged.

For reference, lead-acid battery manufacturers advise that units aren’t discharged below 50% of their capacity. You must buy double the calculated capacity to keep your devices powered without damaging the battery.

Lead-acid and gel batteries are also limited to significantly fewer cycles than lithium-ion variants.

According to GeeWiz, lithium-ion batteries are good for more than 2,000 cycles, while lead-acid batteries last only 150–200 cycles.

While lead-acid batteries are suitable for stage 2 load-shedding and lower, their capacities will be depleted within a few months during more frequent rotational power cuts.

Several lithium-ion batteries from prominent brands are compared in the table below.

Battery price per kWh comparison
Battery Capacity (kWh) Price Price per kWh
Revov R9 250Ah 12.80 R52,899 R4,133
Cyclone LiFE battery 15kWh 15.00 R94,999 R6,333
Sunsyk 10.65kWh Li battery 10.65 R70,000 R6,573
Hubble AM-10 10.00 R69,495 R6,950
Freedom Won LiTE Home 15/12 15.00 R105,720 R7,048
Huawei iSitePower-M 15.00 R209,000 R13,933
Tesla Powerwall 2 13.50 R225,999 R16,741

Revov R9 250Ah — R52,899


Cyclone LiFE 15kWh — R94,999

Sunsynk Lithium-Ion 10.65kWh — R70,000

Hubble AM-10 — R69,495

Freedom Won LiTE Home 15/12 — R105,720

Huawei iSitePower-M 15kWh — R209,000

Tesla Powerwall 2 — R225,999

Now read: Eskom must hike prices or die — André de Ruyter

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Best batteries to protect against load-shedding in South Africa