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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 greater than another?  If so, this article 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) to 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 main kinds of solar batteries (lead acid, saltwater, and lithium).   And,

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

By the conclusion of this article you will know just how to pick the ideal battery to your own solar panel system!

So let’s get started…

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’re also among the longest-used and most dependable batteries in existence.  Compared to the other batteries we will discuss in this report; they’re the cheapest option but you exchange cost for some battery life and depth of discharge.  But for homeowners needing lots of storage for a lower price, or if 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 most of the battery banks within 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 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 fee before needing to recharge.

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.  An example of a lithium ion battery is the Tesla Powerwall.

Part 2) Compare the components of batteries.  As soon as 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 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 purchasing batteries also.  In some instances though, certain batteries may be overkill for your system so the most expensive battery may not be the best choice always.

For many 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 identical charge lessens slightly.  So one component to consider is the guarantee on the battery which 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 in the EZ Battery Reconditioning program, 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.  Particular solar batteries may be depleted farther 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

The more capacity a battery has, the more power it can save.   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 massive 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 amount of energy it took to save said energy.  Batteries require power to control and efficacy compares the energy taken to control a battery with the amount of energy which the charged battery produces.  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.  As with other technologies, there are both reputable brands and startup brands.  A trusted brand includes known flaws and benefits; a start-up brand can perhaps have better technology, but can also have yet unknown technological issues.  Depending upon your system needs, you might decide to go for a well-reviewed firm or one that is brand new to the market.