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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) 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 your buck)!

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

Part 1)   Instantly compare the three main kinds 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 maker.

By the end of the article you will know exactly how to pick the ideal battery for your own solar panel system!

So let’s get started…

So the first decision to make is the sort of battery that will fit your system.

Lead Acid Batteries

They’re also one of the longest-used and most reliable batteries in existence.  Compared to 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 lots of storage for a lesser price, or if you are simply making the move to a solar panel system, lead acid batteries may be an excellent option.  They’re the type of battery we use in most of the battery banks in 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 remain both somewhat untested and harder to come across.  Of the three types of batteries, saltwater has the greatest depth of discharge, which means you’ll find 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 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) Assess the components 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 research to find the ideal battery to 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 could be overkill for your system so the most expensive battery might not be the ideal choice always.

For most systems, a battery will cycle every day, meaning it will drain and charge regularly.  With each cycle, the battery’s ability to maintain the identical charge lessens slightly.  So one component to consider is the warranty on the battery that guarantees a specific number of cycles of useful life.  But bear 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

Length of release 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.  Essentially, a battery with a 90% depth of discharge per cycle provides more battery power per charge than a battery with less.

Ability and Power

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 both a high capacity and high power can run a large system for many 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 said energy.  Batteries require power to charge and efficiency compares the energy taken to charge a battery with the amount of energy that the charged battery generates.  The higher the efficiency, the more cost-effective the battery.

Manufacturer

This might not be a part most would consider, but it is something to focus on.  As with other technology, there are both trusted 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 difficulties.  Depending upon your system demands, you may decide to go with a well-reviewed firm or one that is brand new to the market.