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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 make certain 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 2 parts:

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

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

By the conclusion of this article you will know just how to pick the best 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 be dependent on what you’re looking for. So the first decision to make is the type of battery that will fit your system.

They’re also one of the longest-used and most dependable batteries in existence.  When compared with the other batteries we’ll discuss in this report; they are the cheapest option but you exchange cost for some battery life and depth of discharge.  But for homeowners needing a great deal of storage for a lower cost, or if you are simply 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 the majority of the battery banks in our solar panel systems.

Saltwater batteries are more expensive than lead acid batteries, but also have a better 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 greatest depth of discharge, which means you’ll get the most output per fee 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 choices, 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 picked the best battery type for your solar panel or off-grid system (that meets your system’s needs), there are components to research to find the perfect battery for 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 purchasing batteries as well.  In some instances though, certain batteries may be overkill for your system so the most expensive battery may not be the ideal choice always.

For most systems, a battery will cycle every day, meaning it is going to charge and drain regularly.  With every cycle, the battery’s ability to hold the same charge lessens slightly.  So 1 component to consider is the guarantee on the battery that guarantees a certain 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.  Particular solar batteries can 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

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 higher power can run a large system for several hours; a battery with low capacity and high power can run a large system but just for a short time.

Efficiency

Efficiency is the amount of energy used compared to the amount of energy it took to store 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’s something to focus on.  Like other technology, there are both reputable brands and start-up brands.  A trusted brand includes known defects and benefits; a startup brand can perhaps have better technology, but can also have yet unknown technological difficulties.  Based on your system demands, you may decide to go with a well-reviewed company or one that is brand new to the market.