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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 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 ensure you get the most bang for your buck)!

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

Part 1)   Quickly compare the three main types 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 the ideal battery to your 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 sort of battery that will fit your system.

Lead Acid Batteries

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’re the cheapest option but you exchange price for some battery life and depth of discharge.  But for homeowners needing lots of storage for a lesser price, 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 type 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 better 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 three types 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 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 is probably the highest rated, but also the most expensive.  An example of a lithium ion battery is the Tesla Powerwall.

Part 2) Compare the components of batteries.  Once you’ve picked the best battery type for your solar panel or off-grid system (that meets your system’s needs), there are elements to explore 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.  In some instances though, certain batteries may be overkill for your system so the most expensive battery may not be the ideal choice always.

Battery Life and Warranty

For many systems, a battery will cycle daily, meaning it will charge and drain regularly.  With every cycle, the battery’s ability to hold 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 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 damaging its life.  Certain solar batteries may be depleted further than others, allowing for more use between charging.  Basically, a battery with a 90% depth of discharge per cycle provides 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 store.   Power is how much energy that a battery can provide at a given moment.  A battery with a high capacity and higher power can run a massive system for several hours; a battery with low capacity and higher 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 energy.  Batteries require power to charge and efficiency compares the energy taken to charge a battery together with the amount of energy that the charged battery generates. 

Manufacturer

This might not be a part most would consider, but it’s something to focus on.  Like other technologies, there are both trusted brands and startup brands.  A trusted brand comes with known flaws and benefits; a start-up brand can perhaps have better technology, but can also have yet unknown technological difficulties.  Depending on your system demands, you may decide to go for a well-reviewed firm or one that is brand new to the market.