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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 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 choosing a battery (or batteries) for your solar panel system, there are three categories of batteries that work best.    We’ll do this in 2 parts:

Part 1)   Quickly compare the three chief types 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 end of the article you will know just how to pick the best battery for 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 be dependent on what you’re looking for. So the first decision to make is the sort 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’ll discuss in this report; they are 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 just making the transfer to a solar panel system, lead acid batteries might be a very good option.  They’re the type of battery we use in the majority of the battery banks within our solar panel systems.

Saltwater batteries are more expensive than lead acid batteries, but also have a better lifespan.  Contrary to lead acid batteries, saltwater batteries are essentially brand new to the market and stay both somewhat untested and more difficult to come across.  Of the 3 kinds of batteries, saltwater has the best depth of discharge, which means you’ll find the most output per charge before needing to recharge.

Lithium Batteries

Lithium batteries are the most expensive and the longest lasting of the three kinds of solar batteries.  Comparing all three options, the lithium 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 elements of batteries.  Once you’ve chosen 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 ideal battery to your system.  

Cost

Cost is probably one of the more obvious elements.  But the old saying,”you get what you pay for” holds true when buying batteries also.  Sometimes though, certain batteries could 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 will drain and charge regularly.  With every cycle, the battery’s ability to maintain the same 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 when you use the maintenance and reconditioning methods we teach you in 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 damaging its life.  Certain 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 than a battery with less.

Ability and Power

The more capacity a battery has, the more power it can store.   Power is how much energy that a battery can provide at a certain moment.  A battery with both a high capacity and higher power can run a massive system for many hours; a battery with low capacity and high power can run a large system but only for a brief time.

Efficiency

Efficiency is the amount of energy used compared to the amount of energy it took to store said energy.  Batteries require power to control and efficiency compares the energy taken to control a battery together with the amount of energy which the charged battery produces.  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.  Like other technology, there are both reputable brands and start-up brands.  A trusted brand comes with known defects and advantages; a startup brand can perhaps have better technology, but could also have unknown technological issues.  Depending upon your system needs, you may decide to go with a well-reviewed company or one that is brand new to the market.