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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 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 the buck)!

When picking a battery (or batteries) to your solar panel system, there are 3 categories of batteries which 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)   Assess the components of batteries, such as: depth of discharge, capacity and power, efficiency, battery life, and manufacturer.

By the end of the article you will know just how to pick the best battery to your own 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 be dependent on what you’re looking for. So the first decision to make is the sort of battery that will fit your system.

They are also one of 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 cost for some battery life and depth of discharge.  But for homeowners needing a great deal of storage for a lower price, or if you are simply making the move to a solar panel system, lead acid batteries may 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.  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 3 kinds of batteries, saltwater has the greatest depth of discharge, so you’ll find the most output per fee 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 options, the lithium battery is probably the highest rated, but also the most expensive.  A good 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 explore to find the perfect battery for your system.  

Cost

Price is probably one of the more obvious elements.  But the old saying,”you get what you pay for” holds true when buying batteries as well.  In some instances though, certain batteries may be overkill for your system so the most expensive battery might not be the best choice always.

Battery Life and Warranty

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 same charge lessens slightly.  So one component to consider is the warranty on the battery which guarantees a certain 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 program, you can extend the life of your batteries.

Length of Discharge

Depth of discharge is how much you can drain the battery before needing to recharge the battery without damaging its life.  Certain solar batteries may 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 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 that a battery can provide at a given moment.  A battery with a high capacity and higher power can run a massive 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 store said 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 is something to pay attention to.  As with other technology, there are both trusted brands and startup brands.  A trusted brand includes known defects and benefits; a start-up brand can perhaps have better technology, but could also have yet unknown technological issues.  Depending on your system demands, you might decide to go with a well-reviewed firm or one that is brand new to the market.