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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 give you specific things to check on before buying 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 three categories of batteries which 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 maker.

By the end of this article you will know just how to pick out the ideal battery to your own 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

They are also among the longest-used and most dependable batteries in existence.  Compared to the other batteries we’ll discuss in this report; they are 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 cost, 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 essentially brand new to the market 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 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 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) Compare 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 perfect 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 may be overkill for your system so the most expensive battery might not be the best choice always.

For many systems, a battery will cycle every day, meaning it is going to drain and charge regularly.  With every cycle, the battery’s ability to maintain 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 in the EZ Battery Reconditioning application, you can extend the life of your batteries.

Depth of Discharge

Depth of discharge is how much you can drain the battery down before needing to recharge the battery without damaging its life.  Certain 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

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 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 amount of energy it took to store 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. 

Manufacturer

This may not be a component most would consider, but it’s something to focus on.  As with other technology, there are both reputable brands and startup brands.  A trusted brand comes with known flaws and benefits; a startup brand can perhaps have better technology, but could also have yet unknown technological issues.  Based on your system demands, you may decide to go with a well-reviewed firm or one that is brand new to the market.