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How To Pick Out The Best Battery For a Solar Panel System, Battery Bank, or Off-Grid System

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 better 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 your buck)!

When picking a battery (or batteries) to your solar panel system, there are 3 categories of batteries that work best.    We will do this in two parts:

Part 1)   Instantly compare the three main kinds 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 maker.

By the conclusion of this article you will know just how to pick 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. 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’re also one of the longest-used and most reliable batteries in existence.  Compared to the other batteries we will discuss in this report; they are the cheapest option but you exchange cost for some battery life and depth of discharge.  But for homeowners needing lots of storage for a lower cost, or if you are simply making the transfer to a solar panel system, lead acid batteries may be a very good option.  They’re the type of battery we use in most of the battery banks within our solar panel systems.

Saltwater batteries are more expensive than lead acid batteries, but also have a better lifespan.  Contrary to 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 three kinds 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.  An example of a lithium ion battery is the Tesla Powerwall.

Part 2) Compare the elements of batteries.  Once you’ve picked the best battery type for your own solar panel or off-grid system (that meets your system’s needs), there are elements 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 purchasing 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 every day, meaning it is going to charge and drain regularly.  With each cycle, the battery’s ability to hold the same charge lessens slightly.  So 1 component to consider is the guarantee on the battery that guarantees a certain 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 program, 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 can be depleted further 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 than a battery with less.

Capacity 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 massive system for several hours; a battery with low capacity and higher power can operate a large system but only for a short 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 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 might not be a component most would consider, but it is something to pay attention to.  As with other technologies, there are both reputable brands and start-up brands.  A trusted brand comes with known defects and benefits; a start-up brand can perhaps have better technology, but could also have unknown technological issues.  Based on your system demands, you may decide to go for a well-reviewed company or one that is brand new to the market.