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 better than another? If so, this report will answer these questions and provide you specific things to check on before buying your new battery (to ensure you get the most bang for the buck)!
When choosing a battery (or batteries) for your solar panel system, there are three categories of batteries which work best. We’ll do this in two parts:
Part 1) Instantly compare the three main types 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 manufacturer.
By the end of the article you will know just how to pick the best battery to 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
Lead acid batteries are the most commonly used rechargeable battery in the world. 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 trade price for some battery life and depth of discharge. But for homeowners needing lots of storage for a lower cost, or if you are simply making the transfer to a solar panel system, lead acid batteries may be a very good option. They’re the type of battery we use in the majority of the battery banks in 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 market and stay both somewhat untested and harder to come across. Of the three kinds of batteries, saltwater has the best depth of discharge, which means you’ll get the most output per charge before needing to recharge.
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. An example of a lithium battery is the Tesla Powerwall.
Part 2) Compare the elements of batteries. As soon as you’ve picked 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 perfect battery to your system.
Cost is probably one of the more obvious components. But the old saying,”you get what you pay for” holds true when buying batteries as well. 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 every day, meaning it will drain and charge regularly. With each cycle, the battery’s ability to hold the same 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 keep 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.
Length 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 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 than 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 store. Power is how much energy that a battery can provide at a given moment. A battery with a high capacity and high power can run a massive system for several hours; a battery with low capacity and higher power can operate a large system but only for a brief time.
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 efficiency compares the energy taken to charge a battery with the amount of energy that the charged battery generates.
This may not be a component most would consider, but it is something to focus on. As with other technologies, there are both trusted brands and start-up brands. A trusted brand comes with known flaws and benefits; a start-up brand can perhaps have better technology, but can also have yet unknown technological issues. Based upon your system needs, you might decide to go for a well-reviewed firm or one that is brand new to the market.