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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 report 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 picking a battery (or batteries) to your solar panel system, there are 3 categories of batteries that work best.    We will do this in two parts:

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

Part 2)   Compare the elements 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 out the best battery for your own solar panel system!

So let’s begin…

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

Lead Acid Batteries

They’re also among the longest-used and most dependable batteries in existence.  Compared to the other batteries we’ll discuss in this report; they are the cheapest option but you exchange price 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 simply making the transfer 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

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 remain both somewhat untested and more difficult to come across.  Of the 3 kinds of batteries, saltwater has the greatest depth of discharge, so 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 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 ion battery may be the highest rated, but also the most expensive.  An example of a lithium battery is the Tesla Powerwall.

Part 2) Assess the components 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 research 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 could be overkill for your system so the most expensive battery might not be the best choice always.

For most systems, a battery will cycle every day, meaning it is going to drain and charge regularly.  With each cycle, the battery’s ability to hold the same charge lessens slightly.  So 1 component to consider is the warranty 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 at the EZ Battery Reconditioning application, 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.  Essentially, 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

The more capacity a battery has, the more power it can save.   Power is how much energy a battery can provide at a certain moment.  A battery with both 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 just for a short time.

Efficiency

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 efficacy compares the energy taken to control a battery with the amount of energy that the charged battery produces. 

Manufacturer

This might not be a component most would consider, but it is something to pay attention to.  As with other technologies, there are both reputable brands and startup brands.  A trusted brand includes known defects and benefits; a start-up brand can perhaps have better technology, but can also have yet unknown technological issues.  Depending upon your system demands, you might decide to go with a well-reviewed firm or one that is brand new to the market.