Li-Ion UPSs Promise to Create New Opportunities for IT Solution Providers

Probably you’ve been hearing about lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries of late, and the benefits they bring to uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs). Chief among those benefits is they last twice as long as traditional batteries and require less maintenance. When you hear of such benefits your first thought maybe that Li-ion will cost you revenue; if they last so long, that means fewer replacements. But in reality, Li-ion means more revenue opportunities two key reasons that we’ll explore more here.



Li-ion Offers Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) vs. VRLA

The first reason is that Li-ion carries a higher up-front cost than traditional valve regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries. That means when you sell a UPS outfitted with a Li-ion battery, you’re compensated at a greater rate than for a UPS with a VRLA battery – enough to make up for the fact that the Li-ion battery lasts longer.

While the higher price tag may make Li-ion seem like a tough sell to customers, it shouldn’t be because the technology actually carries a lower total cost of ownership over its lifetime. In part that’s because it lasts longer and requires less maintenance, but also because Li-ion batteries can operate at higher temperatures than VRLA batteries without degrading performance – up to 40° C (104° F). In many cases, that means customers can reduce their cooling costs – a significant contributor to operational costs, especially for locations such as data centers.

Taking these factors into account Li-ion technology delivers a lower total cost of ownership over the course of their expected life as compared to equivalent VRLA battery UPS solutions. For example, APC by Schneider Electric estimates its Li-ion offerings provide a TCO savings of up to 35%.

Li-ion makes more UPS use cases possible

The other reason Li-ion UPS won’t cut into partner revenue is that you should be able to sell more of them, for more use cases than with previous VRLA UPSs.

Li-ion batteries can withstand higher temperatures without impacting the battery performance. They also carry about three times less weight for the same amount of energy as compared to VRLA batteries, making them easier to install, and they are significantly smaller. In short, they can store more energy in the same space; or the same energy in a smaller space. So it’s now possible to make UPSs that are just as powerful as previous generations but have a smaller overall footprint, opening the UPS market to all sorts of new applications.

As explained in this previous post, a few examples are:

  • Point-of-sale and back-office systems: UPSs can help retailers, restaurants and the like avoid outages in their POS systems due to utility power issues, including brownouts, voltage spikes, and outages, providing peace of mind.
  • Healthcare: UPSs are vital for healthcare facilities that depend on keeping their critical devices and diagnostic equipment up and running to ensure patient satisfaction and safety.
  • Embedded products: In the Internet-of-things world that we live in, just about anything may have a sensor in it that’s sending valuable information – so long as it has power. Li-ion can extend protection to something as simple as a vending machine – again, a vast potential market.

These are just a few examples that showcase the expanded revenue opportunities Li-ion UPSs present. My advice to you is to talk with your customers and identify potential points of risk that a UPS can address, then let Li-ion do the rest. Educate them on how Li-ion builds in additional Certainty in a Connected World.

Learn more about Li-ion-based UPSs on this resource page, which includes questions to ask to identify Li-ion opportunities, and check out our complimentary white paper, “Battery Technology for Single Phase UPS Systems – VRLA vs. Li-ion.”

For those who know how to find it, there’s a big opportunity in Li-ion.

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