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

When picking a battery (or batteries) for your solar panel system, there are 3 categories of batteries which 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, power and capacity, efficiency, battery life, and maker.

By the conclusion of the article you will know just how to pick out the best battery for your own solar panel system!

So let’s get started…

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 type of battery that will fit your system.

Lead Acid Batteries

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.  Compared to 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 lesser cost, or whether you are just making the transfer to a solar panel system, lead acid batteries may 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 harder to come across.  Of the three types of batteries, saltwater has the greatest depth of discharge, so you’ll get the most output per fee before needing to recharge.

Lithium Batteries

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 options, the lithium ion battery may be the highest rated, but also the most expensive.  A good example of a lithium battery is the Tesla Powerwall.

Part 2) Compare the components of batteries.  Once you’ve chosen the best battery type for your 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

Price is probably one of the more obvious elements.  But the old saying,”you get what you pay for” holds true when buying batteries as well.  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 daily, meaning it is going to drain and charge 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 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.

Depth 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 provides more battery power per charge than a battery with less.

Capacity and Power

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 massive system for several hours; a battery with low capacity and higher power can operate 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 save said energy.  Batteries require power to charge and efficiency compares the energy taken to control a battery together with the amount of energy that the charged battery produces.  The higher the efficiency, the more cost-effective the battery.

Manufacturer

This may not be a component most would consider, but it’s something to pay attention to.  As with other technology, there are both reputable brands and startup brands.  A trusted brand includes known flaws and advantages; a startup brand can perhaps have better technology, but could also have yet unknown technological difficulties.  Based on your system needs, you might decide to go for a well-reviewed firm or one that is brand new to the market.