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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 better 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’ll do this in two parts:

Part 1)   Quickly compare the three main 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 out the best battery to your 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. 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 will discuss in this report; they are the cheapest option but you trade cost for some battery life and depth of discharge.  But for homeowners needing a great deal of storage for a lesser cost, or whether you are just making the move to a solar panel system, lead acid batteries might be an excellent option.  They’re the sort of battery we use in the majority of the battery banks in our solar panel systems.

Saltwater Batteries

Saltwater batteries are more expensive than lead acid batteries, but also have a better lifespan.  Unlike lead acid batteries, saltwater batteries are essentially brand new to the industry and remain both somewhat untested and more difficult to come across.  Of the three kinds of batteries, saltwater has the best depth of discharge, which means 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.  Comparing all three choices, the lithium ion 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.  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 elements to explore to find the perfect battery to your system.  

Cost

Price 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 may 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 charge and drain regularly.  With every cycle, the battery’s ability to hold the identical charge lessens slightly.  So one component to consider is the guarantee on the battery which 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 program, you can extend the life of your batteries.

Length of Discharge

Length of release is how much you can drain the battery down before needing to recharge the battery without harming its life.  Particular solar batteries may 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 save.   Power is how much energy that a battery can provide at a given moment.  A battery with both a high capacity and high power can run a large system for several hours; a battery with low capacity and higher power can operate a large system but just for a short time.

Efficiency

Efficiency is the amount of energy used compared to the quantity of energy it took to store said energy.  Batteries require power to charge and efficiency compares the energy taken to control a battery with the amount of energy that 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 focus on.  As with other technology, there are both reputable brands and start-up brands.  A trusted brand comes with known defects and benefits; a start-up brand can perhaps have better technology, but can also have unknown technological difficulties.  Based on your system demands, you might decide to go with a well-reviewed company or one that is brand new to the market.