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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 article 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 choosing a battery (or batteries) to your solar panel system, there are 3 categories of batteries that work best.    We will do this in 2 parts:

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

Part 2)   Compare the components of batteries, such as: depth of discharge, power and capacity, efficiency, battery life, and maker.

By the conclusion of the article you will know exactly 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’re also among the longest-used and most dependable batteries in existence.  Compared to the other batteries we’ll discuss in this report; they are the cheapest option but you trade price for some battery life and depth of discharge.  But for homeowners needing a great deal 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 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.  Unlike lead acid batteries, saltwater batteries are essentially brand new to the industry and remain both somewhat untested and harder to come across.  Of the 3 types of batteries, saltwater has the best 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 choices, the lithium battery is probably the highest rated, but also the most expensive.  An example of a lithium ion battery is the Tesla Powerwall.

Part 2) Assess the elements of batteries.  As soon as you’ve picked the best battery type for your own solar panel or off-grid system (that meets your system’s needs), there are components to explore to find the perfect battery to your system.  

Cost

Cost 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.  Sometimes though, certain batteries could 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 hold the identical charge lessens slightly.  So 1 component to consider is the warranty on the battery that guarantees a specific number of cycles of useful life.  But keep in mind that if 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 before needing to recharge the battery without damaging its life.  Particular solar batteries may be depleted farther than others, allowing for more use between charging.  Basically, a battery with a 90% depth of discharge per cycle provides more battery power per charge compared to 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 store.   Power is how much energy a battery can provide at a certain moment.  A battery with a high capacity and high power can run a massive system for many hours; a battery with low capacity and higher 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 that the charged battery produces.  The higher the efficiency, the more cost-effective the battery.

Manufacturer

This may 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 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.  Based on your system demands, you may decide to go for a well-reviewed firm or one that is brand new to the market.