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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 buying your new battery (to make certain you get the most bang for your buck)!

When choosing a battery (or batteries) for your solar panel system, there are three categories of batteries which work best.    We’ll do this in two parts:

Part 1)   Instantly compare the three chief types of solar batteries (lead acid, saltwater, and lithium).   And,

Part 2)   Assess the components of batteries, such as: depth of discharge, power and capacity, efficiency, battery life, and manufacturer.

By the conclusion of this article you will know exactly how to pick the best battery for your solar panel system!

So let’s get started…

So the first decision to make is the sort of battery that will fit your system.

Lead Acid Batteries

Lead acid batteries are the most commonly used rechargeable battery in the world. They are also one of the longest-used and most reliable batteries in existence.  When compared with the other batteries we’ll discuss in this report; they are the cheapest option but you exchange price for some battery life and depth of discharge.  But for homeowners needing lots of storage for a lesser cost, or whether you are simply 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 most of the battery banks in our solar panel systems.

Saltwater batteries are more expensive than lead acid batteries, but also have a greater lifespan.  Contrary to lead acid batteries, saltwater batteries are essentially brand new to the industry and remain both somewhat untested and more difficult to come across.  Of the three kinds of batteries, saltwater has the best depth of discharge, which means you’ll get the most output per charge before needing to recharge.

Lithium Batteries

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 ion battery is probably the highest rated, but also the most expensive.  An example of a lithium ion battery is the Tesla Powerwall.

Part 2) Compare the elements of batteries.  As soon as you’ve picked the best battery type for your solar panel or off-grid system (that meets your system’s needs), there are components to explore to find the ideal battery for your system.  

Cost

Cost is probably one of the more obvious elements.  But the old saying,”you get what you pay for” holds true when purchasing batteries also.  Sometimes though, certain batteries could be overkill for your system so the most expensive battery may not be the ideal choice always.

For most systems, a battery will cycle every day, meaning it is going to drain and charge regularly.  With each cycle, the battery’s ability to hold the same charge lessens slightly.  So one component to consider is the guarantee on the battery which guarantees a specific number of cycles of useful life.  But keep in mind that when you use the maintenance and reconditioning methods we teach you in the EZ Battery Reconditioning program, you can extend the life of your batteries.

Length of Discharge

Depth of discharge is how much you can drain the battery before needing to recharge the battery without damaging its life.  Certain solar batteries can 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 than a battery with less.

Ability and Power

The more capacity a battery has, the more power it can save.   Power is how much energy a battery can provide at a certain moment.  A battery with a high capacity and higher power can run a large system for many hours; a battery with low capacity and higher power can operate a large system but just for a short time.

Efficiency

Efficiency is the amount of energy used compared to the quantity of energy it took to save said energy.  Batteries require power to charge and efficacy compares the energy taken to charge a battery with the amount of energy that the charged battery produces.  The higher the efficiency, the more cost-effective the battery.

Manufacturer

This might not be a part most would consider, but it’s something to focus on.  Like other technologies, there are both reputable brands and start-up brands.  A trusted brand comes with known defects and advantages; a start-up brand can perhaps have better technology, but can also have unknown technological difficulties.  Depending upon your system demands, you might decide to go for a well-reviewed firm or one that is brand new to the market.