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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 article 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 choosing a battery (or batteries) to your solar panel system, there are 3 categories of batteries which work best.    We will do this in 2 parts:

Part 1)   Quickly compare the three chief types 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 maker.

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

So let’s begin…

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

They are also among the longest-used and most dependable batteries in existence.  Compared to the other batteries we will discuss in this report; they’re 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 price, or whether you are simply making the move to a solar panel system, lead acid batteries may 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 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 harder 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 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 choices, the lithium 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.  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 explore to find the perfect battery to 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 purchasing batteries also.  In some instances though, certain batteries could be overkill for your system so the most expensive battery might not be the best choice always.

Battery Life and Warranty

For most systems, a battery will cycle daily, meaning it is going to drain and charge 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 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 program, you can extend the life of your batteries.

Length of Discharge

Depth of discharge is how much you can drain the battery down before needing to recharge the battery without damaging its life.  Certain solar batteries may be depleted farther 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.

Capacity 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 certain moment.  A battery with a high capacity and high power can run a massive system for many 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 quantity of energy it took to save energy.  Batteries require power to charge and efficacy compares the energy taken to control a battery together with the amount of energy which the charged battery generates.  The higher the efficiency, the more cost-effective the battery.

Manufacturer

This might not be a part most would consider, but it is something to pay attention to.  As with other technologies, there are both trusted brands and startup brands.  A trusted brand includes known flaws and benefits; a startup brand can perhaps have better technology, but could also have 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.