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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) to 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 your buck)!

When picking a battery (or batteries) to your solar panel system, there are three categories of batteries which work best.    We’ll do this in 2 parts:

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

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

By the conclusion of the 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.

They’re 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 trade price for some battery life and depth of discharge.  But for homeowners needing a great deal of storage for a lesser cost, or if you are just making the move to a solar panel system, lead acid batteries might be a very good option.  They’re the sort of battery we use in most of the battery banks in 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 essentially brand new to the market and remain both somewhat untested and harder to come across.  Of the 3 kinds of batteries, saltwater has the best 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 options, the lithium battery may be the highest rated, but also the most expensive.  A good example of a lithium battery is the Tesla Powerwall.

Part 2) Assess the components of batteries.  As soon as you’ve chosen 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 components.  But the old saying,”you get what you pay for” holds true when buying batteries also.  In some instances 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 daily, meaning it is going to drain and charge regularly.  With every cycle, the battery’s ability to hold the identical charge lessens slightly.  So 1 component to consider is the warranty on the battery which 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 in 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 damaging its life.  Certain solar batteries can 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 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 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 brief time.

Efficiency

Efficiency is the amount of energy used compared to the amount of energy it took to save said 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 produces. 

Manufacturer

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