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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 report will answer these questions and give you specific things to check on before purchasing 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’ll do this in two parts:

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

Part 2)   Compare 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 for your 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 sort of battery that will fit your system.

They’re also one of 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 price for some battery life and depth of discharge.  But for homeowners needing lots of storage for a lesser price, or whether you are just making the move to a solar panel system, lead acid batteries might 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 better lifespan.  Unlike lead acid batteries, saltwater batteries are essentially brand new to the industry and stay 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 get the most output per fee before needing to recharge.

Lithium Batteries

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 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.  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 ideal battery for your system.  

Cost

Cost is probably one of the more obvious components.  But the old saying,”you get what you pay for” holds true when purchasing batteries as well.  Sometimes though, certain batteries could 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 1 component to consider is the warranty on the battery which guarantees a specific number of cycles of useful life.  But keep in mind that when 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 before needing to recharge the battery without harming its life.  Certain 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 will provide 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 save.   Power is how much energy 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 run a large system but just for a short time.

Efficiency

Efficiency is the amount of energy used compared to the amount 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 produces. 

Manufacturer

This might not be a part most would consider, but it is something to focus on.  As with other technology, there are both reputable brands and start-up brands.  A trusted brand includes known defects and benefits; a start-up brand can perhaps have better technology, but could also have unknown technological issues.  Depending upon your system needs, you may decide to go with a well-reviewed company or one that is brand new to the market.