Have you ever wondered how to pick out the best battery(s) to your solar panel system (or off-grid energy system)? Or have you wondered what makes one deep cycle battery better than another? If so, this article will answer these questions and give you specific things to check on before purchasing your new battery (to ensure you get the most bang for your buck)!
When picking a battery (or batteries) for your solar panel system, there are three categories of batteries which work best. We will do this in two parts:
Part 1) Instantly compare the three main kinds of solar batteries (lead acid, saltwater, and lithium). And,
Part 2) Compare the elements of batteries, such as: depth of discharge, power and capacity, efficiency, battery life, and maker.
By the end of this article you will know exactly how to pick out the ideal battery to your own solar panel system!
So let’s begin…
There are three battery types that work exceptionally well; however, each battery type has pros and cons. So the first decision to make is the sort of battery that will fit your system.
Lead acid batteries are the most commonly used rechargeable battery in the world. They are also among the longest-used and most reliable batteries in existence. When compared with the other batteries we will discuss in this report; they are the cheapest option but you trade price for some battery life and depth of discharge. But for homeowners needing a great deal of storage for a lower price, or if you are just making the move to a solar panel system, lead acid batteries may be an excellent option. They’re the type of battery we use in the majority of the battery banks within our solar panel systems.
Saltwater batteries are more expensive than lead acid batteries, but also have a greater lifespan. Unlike lead acid batteries, saltwater batteries are essentially brand new to the industry and stay both somewhat untested and harder to come across. Of the 3 types of batteries, saltwater has the greatest depth of discharge, which means you’ll find the most output per charge before needing to recharge.
Lithium batteries are the most expensive and the longest lasting of the three types of solar batteries. Their depth of discharge is less than that of a saltwater battery, but more than that of a lead acid battery. Comparing all three choices, the lithium battery may be the highest rated, but also the most expensive. An example of a lithium battery is the Tesla Powerwall.
Part 2) Compare the components of batteries. As soon as you’ve picked the best battery type for your own solar panel or off-grid system (that meets your system’s needs), there are components to explore to find the perfect battery to your system.
Cost is probably one of the more obvious elements. But the old saying,”you get what you pay for” holds true when buying batteries as well. Sometimes though, certain batteries could be overkill for your system so the most expensive battery might not be the best choice always.
Battery Life and Warranty
For most systems, a battery will cycle daily, meaning it is going to drain and charge regularly. With every cycle, the battery’s ability to maintain the same charge lessens slightly. So 1 component to consider is the warranty on the battery that guarantees a specific number of cycles of useful life. But bear in mind that when you use the maintenance and reconditioning methods we teach you at the EZ Battery Reconditioning application, you can extend the life of your batteries.
Depth of Discharge
Depth of discharge is how much you can drain the battery before needing to recharge the battery without harming its life. Particular solar batteries may be depleted farther than others, allowing for more use between charging. Basically, a battery with a 90% depth of discharge per cycle provides more battery power per charge compared to a battery with less.
Capacity and Power
Measured in kilowatt hours (kWh), capacity is the amount of energy a battery can store over time. The more capacity a battery has, the more power it can store. Power is how much energy that a battery can provide at a given moment. A battery with both a high capacity and high power can run a massive system for many hours; a battery with low capacity and high power can run a large system but just for a short time.
Efficiency is the amount of energy used compared to the quantity of energy it took to save energy. Batteries require power to control and efficiency compares the energy taken to control a battery together with the amount of energy that the charged battery generates.
This might not be a component most would consider, but it’s something to focus on. As with other technologies, there are both trusted brands and startup brands. A trusted brand comes with known defects and benefits; a startup brand can perhaps have better technology, but can also have unknown technological difficulties. Based on your system needs, you might decide to go with a well-reviewed company or one that is brand new to the market.