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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) for 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 provide you specific things to check on before buying 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 three categories of batteries that work best.    We will do this in 2 parts:

Part 1)   Instantly compare the three main kinds of solar batteries (lead acid, saltwater, and lithium).   And,

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

By the end of the article you will know exactly how to pick out the ideal battery for your own solar panel system!

So let’s begin…

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.

They are also one of the longest-used and most dependable batteries in existence.  When compared with the other batteries we will 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 price, 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

Saltwater batteries are more expensive than lead acid batteries, but also have a better 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, 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 kinds of solar batteries.  Comparing all three options, the lithium ion battery is probably 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 solar panel or off-grid system (that meets your system’s needs), there are elements to research to find the ideal battery for 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 also.  In some instances though, certain batteries could be overkill for your system so the most expensive battery may not be the best choice always.

Battery Life and Warranty

For many systems, a battery will cycle every day, meaning it will charge and drain regularly.  With every cycle, the battery’s ability to maintain the identical charge lessens slightly.  So 1 component to consider is the guarantee on the battery that guarantees a specific 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 application, 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 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.

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 save.   Power is how much energy that a battery can provide at a given moment.  A battery with both a high capacity and higher power can run a large system for many hours; a battery with low capacity and high power can operate 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 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.  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.  Like other technology, there are both reputable brands and startup brands.  A trusted brand comes with known flaws and advantages; a startup brand can perhaps have better technology, but could also have unknown technological difficulties.  Based upon your system demands, you might decide to go with a well-reviewed firm or one that is brand new to the market.