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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 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 will do this in 2 parts:

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

Part 2)   Compare the components of batteries, such as: depth of discharge, power and capacity, efficiency, battery life, and manufacturer.

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

So let’s begin…

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

They’re also one of the longest-used and most reliable batteries in existence.  Compared to the other batteries we will discuss in this report; they’re the cheapest option but you trade cost for some battery life and depth of discharge.  But for homeowners needing a great deal of storage for a lesser price, or whether you are just 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 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 industry and remain both somewhat untested and harder to come across.  Of the three kinds of batteries, saltwater has the best depth of discharge, which means 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 is probably 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 components to research to find the perfect 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 as well.  Sometimes though, certain batteries could be overkill for your system so the most expensive battery might not be the ideal choice always.

Battery Life and Warranty

For most systems, a battery will cycle every day, meaning it is going to charge and drain 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 that 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 application, you can extend the life of your batteries.

Depth of Discharge

Length of release is how much you can drain the battery down before needing to recharge the battery without harming its life.  Certain solar batteries can 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.

Ability 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 certain moment.  A battery with both a high capacity and higher power can run a large 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 save said energy.  Batteries require power to charge and efficacy compares the energy taken to charge a battery together with the amount of energy which the charged battery generates.  The higher the efficiency, the more cost-effective the battery.

Manufacturer

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