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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 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 ensure you get the most bang for the 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 2 parts:

Part 1)   Instantly compare the three main kinds 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 the article you will know just how to pick the best battery for your own 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

They are also among 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 trade price for some battery life and depth of discharge.  But for homeowners needing lots of storage for a lesser price, or if you are simply making the move to a solar panel system, lead acid batteries might be a very good 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.  Contrary to lead acid batteries, saltwater batteries are basically brand new to the market and remain both somewhat untested and more difficult 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

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.  A good example of a lithium battery is the Tesla Powerwall.

Part 2) Compare 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 buying batteries as well.  Sometimes though, certain batteries may be overkill for your system so the most expensive battery might not be the ideal choice always.

Battery Life and Warranty

For many systems, a battery will cycle daily, meaning it will drain and charge regularly.  With each cycle, the battery’s ability to maintain the identical charge lessens slightly.  So one component to consider is the warranty on the battery which guarantees a specific 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.

Length 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 can be depleted farther than others, allowing for more use between charging.  Essentially, a battery with a 90% depth of discharge per cycle provides more battery power per charge compared to a battery with less.

Ability and Power

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 higher power can run a massive system for many hours; a battery with low capacity and higher power can operate a large system but only for a brief 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 control and efficacy compares the energy taken to charge a battery with the amount of energy that the charged battery generates.  The higher the efficiency, the more cost-effective the battery.

Manufacturer

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