Battery consumers are bombarded with terminology and announcements of new batteries that are said to offer very high energy densities, light weight, or perhaps high charge/discharge cycles (cycle life). So how do we make sense out of it all, and ultimately make use the most appropriate battery?

Fundamentally all batteries consist of 2 electrodes (the anode and cathode) and an electrolyte that allows current flow between the anode and cathode. Additional to these elements separators are used to keep the electrodes apart. Two commonly used designs are flat plates, and tubular positive plates.

Batteries are typically named after the materials used for the electrodes and electrolyte, such as:

  • Lead Acid
  • Li-Ion (Lithium Ion)
  • NiCad (Nickel Cadmium)
  • NiMHD (Nickel Metal Hidride)/li>

The only 2 types commonly used for backup, UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply), and solar is Lead-Acid (Wet cell, gel, AGM) and Li-Ion.

Lead Acid — The most economical for larger power applications where weight is of little concern. The lead acid battery is the most popular choice for solar solutions, emergency lighting and UPS systems.

  • Deep Cycle Flooded– Also referred to as wet cell. Standard sulphuric acid electrolyte. Plate, or tubular design. Thicker plates than crank batteries typically used in cars.
  • Gel– Gel Cell has a silica additive that turns the sulfuric acid electrolyte into a jelly like substance, hence referred to as gel batteries
  • AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) – An AGM battery uses a separator consisting of fiberglass between the plate and wrappers to hold the electrolyte in its place with capillary action.

Li-Ion (Lithium Ion) — The fastest growing battery system. The technology is fragile and a protection circuit is required to assure safety. Lithium is the lightest metal and has the highest electrochemical potential. Due to its light weight and high energy density, Lithium-Ion batteries are ideal for portable devices, such as notebook computers. Despite its high price Lithium-Ion entered the large storage domain due to its long expected cycle life and accommodated DOD (Depth of Discharge).

For most investors price and associated ROI are key criteria when choosing batteries. Consequently at this point in time we recommend Lead Acid batteries for solar backup & storage:

Deep cycle flooded

  • Regular DOD relative low: < 25%
  • Ultra-long life is the most important criteria, and
  • The user does not mind performing some maintenance, i.e. topping up electrolyte levels.


  • Regular deep discharge >50% is required
  • Long life is an important criteria, and
  • The user requires maintenance free operation.


  • Regular deep discharge >50% is required
  • Fast charge times
  • Tolerance to cold temperature & vibration

Lumax distributes the following batteries:</>

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Specifically Designed for Solar Applications: OPS Battery 12V | 60Ah to 260Ah

OmniPower Fully-Sealed Deep Cycle AGM+Gel VRLA Maintenance Free Solar Batteries.>

10 year design life in standby use or up to 4200 cycles at 20% DoD
Highly efficient and cost effective solar battery.
[Link] Datasheet



First National Battery offers a wide range of batteries and sizes to fit individual customer needs. Refer to the following product datasheets to choose the most appropriate product.

  • Trojan (flooded, serviceable)
  • OPZV power gel (Gel)
  • Tubular (Tubular plate, flooded, serviceable)
  • M-Solar (Tubular plate, flooded, serviceable)

FNB Batteries

FNB M-Solar-Brochure: Tech-Current

Download PDF

FNB OPzV PowerGel Whole Range

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FNB RCT Raylite Tubular

Download PDF

FNB Trojan RE Product Specification Guide

Download PDF

Omnipower Batteries by Lumax

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