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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 greater than another?  If so, this report 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)   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 maker.

By the end of the article you will know just how to pick out the ideal battery to 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 type of battery that will fit your system.

Lead acid batteries are the most commonly used rechargeable battery in the world. They are also among the longest-used and most dependable batteries in existence.  When compared with the other batteries we’ll discuss in this report; they’re the cheapest option but you trade price for some battery life and depth of discharge.  But for homeowners needing lots of storage for a lesser price, or whether you are simply 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 most 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.  Contrary to lead acid batteries, saltwater batteries are essentially brand new to the market and stay both somewhat untested and more difficult to come across.  Of the 3 kinds of batteries, saltwater has the best depth of discharge, which means you’ll find the most output per charge before needing to recharge.

Lithium Batteries

Lithium batteries are the most expensive and the longest lasting of the three types 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 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 components to research to find the ideal battery to 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 as well.  In some instances 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 many systems, a battery will cycle every day, meaning it will drain and charge 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 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 application, you can extend the life of your batteries.

Length 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.  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 given moment.  A battery with both a high capacity and high power can run a large system for many 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 quantity of energy it took to save energy.  Batteries require power to charge and efficiency compares the energy taken to control a battery together with the amount of energy that the charged battery generates. 

Manufacturer

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