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How To Pick Out The Best Battery For a Solar Panel System, Battery Bank, or Off-Grid System

Or have you wondered what makes one deep cycle battery better than another?  If so, this report will answer these questions and provide you specific things to check on before buying your new battery (to make certain you get the most bang for the buck)!

When picking a battery (or batteries) to your solar panel system, there are 3 categories of batteries that work best.    We will do this in two parts:

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

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

By the end of this article you will know exactly how to pick out the ideal battery for your solar panel system!

So let’s get started…

So the first decision to make is the type 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 among the longest-used and most dependable batteries in existence.  When compared with the other batteries we will discuss in this report; they are the cheapest option but you exchange cost for some battery life and depth of discharge.  But for homeowners needing a great deal of storage for a lesser price, or whether you are just making the transfer to a solar panel system, lead acid batteries might be a very good option.  They’re the sort of battery we use in the majority of the battery banks within our solar panel systems.

Saltwater Batteries

Saltwater batteries are more expensive than lead acid batteries, but also have a greater lifespan.  Contrary to lead acid batteries, saltwater batteries are basically brand new to the industry and stay both somewhat untested and harder to come across.  Of the 3 kinds of batteries, saltwater has the greatest depth of discharge, which means you’ll get the most output per fee before needing to recharge.

Lithium batteries are the most expensive and the longest lasting of the three kinds of solar batteries.  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) Assess the components of batteries.  Once 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 research to find the ideal battery for your system.  

Cost

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

Battery Life and Warranty

For many systems, a battery will cycle daily, meaning it will charge and drain regularly.  With every cycle, the battery’s ability to hold the identical charge lessens slightly.  So one component to consider is the warranty on the battery that guarantees a certain number of cycles of useful life.  But bear in mind that if you use the maintenance and reconditioning methods we teach you in the EZ Battery Reconditioning application, you can extend the life of your batteries.

Depth of Discharge

Length of release is how much you can drain the battery down before needing to recharge the battery without harming its life.  Particular solar batteries may be depleted further than others, allowing for more use between charging.  Essentially, a battery with a 90% depth of discharge per cycle will provide more battery power per charge than a battery with less.

Ability 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 save.   Power is how much energy a battery can provide at a certain moment.  A battery with a high capacity and high power can run a massive system for several hours; a battery with low capacity and higher power can run a large system but only for a brief time.

Efficiency

Efficiency is the amount of energy used compared to the amount of energy it took to store said energy.  Batteries require power to charge and efficiency compares the energy taken to control a battery with the amount of energy that the charged battery produces. 

Manufacturer

This might not be a component most would consider, but it’s something to focus on.  As with other technology, there are both trusted brands and startup brands.  A trusted brand includes known defects and benefits; a startup brand can perhaps have better technology, but could also have yet unknown technological issues.  Based upon your system needs, you may decide to go with a well-reviewed firm or one that is brand new to the market.