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

Have you ever wondered how to pick out the best battery(s) for your solar panel system (or off-grid energy system)? Or have you wondered what makes one deep cycle battery greater than another?  If so, this report will answer these questions and give you specific things to check on before purchasing your new battery (to make certain you get the most bang for the buck)!

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

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

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

By the conclusion of this article you will know just how to pick the ideal battery for your own 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

They’re also one of the longest-used and most reliable batteries in existence.  Compared to 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 lower price, or whether you are simply making the transfer to a solar panel system, lead acid batteries might be an excellent option.  They’re the sort 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.  Unlike lead acid batteries, saltwater batteries are basically brand new to the industry and stay both somewhat untested and more difficult to come across.  Of the three kinds of batteries, saltwater has the greatest depth of discharge, which means you’ll find the most output per fee before needing to recharge.

Lithium Batteries

Lithium batteries are the most expensive and the longest lasting of the three kinds 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 options, the lithium ion battery may be the highest rated, but also the most expensive.  A good example of a lithium battery is the Tesla Powerwall.

Part 2) Compare the elements of batteries.  Once you’ve chosen the best battery type for your own solar panel or off-grid system (that meets your system’s needs), there are elements to research to find the ideal battery to 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.  In some instances though, certain batteries could be overkill for your system so the most expensive battery might not be the ideal choice always.

Battery Life and Warranty

For most systems, a battery will cycle daily, meaning it is going to charge and drain regularly.  With each cycle, the battery’s ability to maintain the same charge lessens slightly.  So 1 component to consider is the guarantee on the battery which 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 at 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 before needing to recharge the battery without harming its life.  Certain solar batteries may be depleted further than others, allowing for more use between charging.  Basically, 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

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

Efficiency

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

Manufacturer

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