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 article 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 your buck)!
When choosing a battery (or batteries) to your solar panel system, there are 3 categories of batteries that work best. We’ll do this in 2 parts:
Part 1) Instantly compare the three chief types of solar batteries (lead acid, saltwater, and lithium). And,
Part 2) Compare the elements of batteries, such as: depth of discharge, power and capacity, efficiency, battery life, and manufacturer.
By the end of the article you will know just how to pick the ideal battery to your own solar panel system!
So let’s begin…
Part 1) The Three Best Types Of Batteries For Solar Panel Systems: The best type of battery for your solar panel system will depend on what you’re looking for. So the first decision to make is the type of battery that will fit your system.
Lead acid batteries are the most commonly used rechargeable battery in the world. They’re also among the longest-used and most reliable batteries in existence. When compared with 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 just making the move to a solar panel system, lead acid batteries may be a very good option. They’re the type of battery we use in most of the battery banks within 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 market and stay both somewhat untested and more difficult to come across. Of the three types of batteries, saltwater has the best depth of discharge, so you’ll find the most output per fee before needing to recharge.
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 is probably the highest rated, but also the most expensive. An example of a lithium battery is the Tesla Powerwall.
Part 2) Assess the elements 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 elements to explore to find the ideal battery for your system.
Price is probably one of the more obvious elements. But the old saying,”you get what you pay for” holds true when purchasing 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 most 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 guarantee on the battery that 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 at 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 harming 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 provides more battery power per charge compared to 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 given moment. A battery with both a high capacity and high power can run a large system for many hours; a battery with low capacity and higher power can run a large system but only for a brief time.
Efficiency is the amount of energy used compared to the amount of energy it took to save energy. Batteries require power to charge and efficacy compares the energy taken to control a battery with the amount of energy that the charged battery produces.
This may not be a part most would consider, but it’s 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 difficulties. Depending on your system needs, you may decide to go for a well-reviewed company or one that is brand new to the market.