Have you ever wondered how to pick out the best battery(s) to 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 provide you specific things to check on before purchasing your new battery (to ensure you get the most bang for the buck)!
When choosing a battery (or batteries) to your solar panel system, there are 3 categories of batteries that work best. We’ll do this in two parts:
Part 1) Quickly compare the three chief types of solar batteries (lead acid, saltwater, and lithium). And,
Part 2) Compare the elements of batteries, such as: depth of discharge, power and capacity, efficiency, battery life, and maker.
By the end of this article you will know exactly how to pick out the best battery to your solar panel system!
So let’s get started…
Part 1) The Three Best Types Of Batteries For Solar Panel Systems: The best type of battery for your solar panel system will depend on what you’re looking for. 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 sort of battery that will fit your system.
Lead acid batteries are the most commonly used rechargeable battery in the world. They are also one of the longest-used and most reliable batteries in existence. When compared with the other batteries we will discuss in this report; they’re the cheapest option but you trade cost for some battery life and depth of discharge. But for homeowners needing lots of storage for a lower cost, or if you are just making the transfer to a solar panel system, lead acid batteries might be an excellent option. They’re the sort of battery we use in most of the battery banks in our solar panel systems.
Saltwater batteries are more expensive than lead acid batteries, but also have a greater lifespan. Contrary to lead acid batteries, saltwater batteries are basically brand new to the market and remain both somewhat untested and harder to come across. Of the three types of batteries, saltwater has the greatest depth of discharge, so 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 types of solar batteries. Comparing all three choices, the lithium 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. 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 perfect battery for your system.
Cost is probably one of the more obvious components. But the old saying,”you get what you pay for” holds true when buying batteries also. Sometimes though, certain batteries may be overkill for your system so the most expensive battery may not be the best choice always.
For most systems, a battery will cycle every day, meaning it will charge and drain regularly. With every cycle, the battery’s ability to maintain the same charge lessens slightly. So 1 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 at 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. Particular solar batteries can be depleted further than others, allowing for more use between charging. Essentially, 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 save. Power is how much energy a battery can provide at a given 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 operate a large system but just for a brief time.
Efficiency is the amount of energy used compared to the amount of energy it took to save said energy. Batteries require power to charge and efficiency 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.
This may not be a component most would consider, but it’s something to pay attention to. Like other technologies, there are both trusted brands and start-up brands. A trusted brand comes with known defects and advantages; a startup brand can perhaps have better technology, but can also have yet unknown technological issues. Depending on your system needs, you may decide to go with a well-reviewed firm or one that is brand new to the market.