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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 article will answer these questions and give you specific things to check on before buying your new battery (to make certain 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 will do this in two 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 best battery to 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.

Lead Acid Batteries

They’re also one of 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 a great deal of storage for a lower 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 most 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 stay both somewhat untested and more difficult to come across.  Of the three kinds of batteries, saltwater has the best depth of discharge, so 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.  Their depth of discharge is less than that of a saltwater battery, but more than that of a lead acid battery. Comparing all three choices, 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) Assess the elements of batteries.  As soon as you’ve chosen the best battery type for your own solar panel or off-grid system (that meets your system’s needs), there are components to explore to find the ideal battery for your system.  

Cost

Price is probably one of the more obvious components.  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 daily, meaning it is going to charge and drain regularly.  With every cycle, the battery’s ability to hold the same charge lessens slightly.  So one component to consider is the warranty on the battery which guarantees a specific number of cycles of useful life.  But bear in mind that when you use the maintenance and reconditioning methods we teach you at the EZ Battery Reconditioning program, you can extend the life of your batteries.

Length of Discharge

Length of release is how much you can drain the battery before needing to recharge the battery without harming its life.  Particular solar batteries can be depleted farther 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.

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 a battery can provide at a certain moment.  A battery with a high capacity and high power can run a large system for many 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 store said energy.  Batteries require power to charge and efficacy compares the energy taken to control 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 focus on.  Like 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 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.