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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 article will answer these questions and provide you specific things to check on before purchasing your new battery (to ensure you get the most bang for your buck)!

When picking a battery (or batteries) for your solar panel system, there are 3 categories of batteries that 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)   Compare 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 out the ideal battery to your 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 are the most commonly used rechargeable battery in the world. They are also among the longest-used and most dependable batteries in existence.  When compared with the other batteries we’ll 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 a great deal of storage for a lower cost, or whether you are just making the transfer to a solar panel system, lead acid batteries may be an excellent 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.  Unlike lead acid batteries, saltwater batteries are essentially brand new to the market and remain both somewhat untested and more difficult to come across.  Of the three types of batteries, saltwater has the greatest depth of discharge, so you’ll get the most output per charge before needing to recharge.

Lithium Batteries

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 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 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 explore to find the ideal 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 purchasing batteries as well.  Sometimes though, certain batteries may be overkill for your system so the most expensive battery may not be the best choice always.

Battery Life and Warranty

For most systems, a battery will cycle every day, meaning it will charge and drain regularly.  With each cycle, the battery’s ability to maintain the identical charge lessens slightly.  So 1 component to consider is the guarantee on the battery which guarantees a certain number of cycles of useful life.  But keep in mind that if 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

Depth of discharge is how much you can drain the battery before needing to recharge the battery without harming 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 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 a high capacity and high power can run a massive system for several 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 quantity of energy it took to store said energy.  Batteries require power to control and efficacy compares the energy taken to charge 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 component most would consider, but it’s something to pay attention to.  As with other technologies, there are both reputable brands and start-up brands.  A trusted brand includes known defects and advantages; 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 with a well-reviewed company or one that is brand new to the market.