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Or have you wondered what makes one deep cycle battery better 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 your buck)!

When picking a battery (or batteries) for your solar panel system, there are three categories of batteries which work best.    We’ll do this in 2 parts:

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

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

By the end of the article you will know exactly how to pick 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.

Lead Acid Batteries

Lead acid batteries are the most commonly used rechargeable battery in the world. They are also among the longest-used and most dependable batteries in existence.  When compared with the other batteries we’ll discuss in this report; they are 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 cost, or if you are simply making the transfer to a solar panel system, lead acid batteries may be an excellent option.  They’re the sort of battery we use in the majority of the battery banks within our solar panel systems.

Saltwater Batteries

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 industry and remain both somewhat untested and more difficult to come across.  Of the 3 types of batteries, saltwater has the greatest depth of discharge, so you’ll find the most output per charge before needing to recharge.

Lithium Batteries

Lithium batteries are the most expensive and the longest lasting of the three kinds of solar batteries.  Comparing all three choices, the lithium ion battery may be the highest rated, but also the most expensive.  A good example of a lithium battery is the Tesla Powerwall.

Part 2) Assess the components of batteries.  As soon as 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 research to find the ideal battery for 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 also.  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 will charge and drain regularly.  With each cycle, the battery’s ability to hold 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 bear 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

Length of release is how much you can drain the battery 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 will provide more battery power per charge compared to a battery with less.

Ability and Power

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 higher power can run a large system for many 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 quantity of energy it took to save energy.  Batteries require power to control and efficacy compares the energy taken to control a battery with the amount of energy that the charged battery produces. 

Manufacturer

This might not be a part most would consider, but it is something to focus on.  Like other technologies, there are both trusted brands and start-up 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.  Based upon your system needs, you may decide to go for a well-reviewed firm or one that is brand new to the market.