Car Batteries vs. Solar Batteries: What Is the Difference?

Many homeowners wonder “can you use car batteries for solar?”. In order to answer this question, we have to understand the differences and similarities between solar batteries in San Diego and car batteries. 

Whether you wish to learn how to calculate battery capacity or learn the difference between car and solar batteries for your solar panels in you’ve come to the right place. As the leading San Diego solar installers in the area, we are here to provide you with all the information you need to make the most of your solar system. Keep on reading. 

What is the difference between solar battery and car battery?

solar installation in san diego

Most cars have lead-acid batteries, also referred to as SLI batteries. This is because car batteries have three primary functions: to Start, to Light, and to Ignite, thus SLI. This type of battery is designed to provide short electricity bursts in order to start the engine and power the car. 

An SLI lead-acid battery consists of two plates made from lead-dioxide submerged in sulfuric acid. The acid and lead-dioxide produce electrons by creating a chemical reaction. The electrons then move across the plates, generating electricity.  

In addition to SLI batteries, there are several other types of car batteries that belong in the following two categories: 

Wet cell 

Two types of batteries belong to this category: deep cell and the SLI batteries we’ve already mentioned. A deep cell battery, or a marine battery, is designed to produce long discharges of electricity instead of providing short bursts.


A VRLA or Sealed Lead Acid (SLA battery) is sealed in order to prevent the chemical reaction gases from escaping. There are two main VRLA batteries available on the market: AGM battery (absorbed glass mat battery) and the gel cell battery. 

Can you use car batteries for solar?

Although solar batteries in San Diego and car batteries have similarities, they are meant for different purposes. While car batteries need to be able to start a car’s engine by producing short bursts, they won’t necessarily be able to meet your solar needs. This is because solar batteries are typically deep cycle batteries, designed to produce long discharges of electricity instead of short bursts. 

Lithium-ion & lead-acid batteries for solar 

There are two main types of batteries suitable for residential solar systems in San Diego. These are lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries. While lead-acid batteries can be used with solar panels, they tend to have lower depth of discharge and shorter lifespans than lithium-ion batteries. What’s more, they tend to gradually lose some of their capacity over time as they go through their charge/discharge cycles. 

To sum up, car batteries are not suitable for use with solar panels. Instead, you should always use a battery specifically made for solar energy use, and consider choosing lithium-ion batteries over lead-acid if you want a battery that offers highly reliable performance. Modern lithium-ion batteries are ideal for solar use, as they feature great discharge depths, fantastic efficiency, and longer lifespans. 

Get cutting-edge battery storage for your solar panels in Mira Mesa, CA

Are you searching for to-quality lithium-ion batteries for your home anywhere in the San Diego area? Reaching out to Action Solar of San Diego is your best choice. We are experienced and knowledgeable solar installers dedicated to helping our neighbors go solar and make the most of their solar panels. 

In addition to our high-performance solar panels, we also offer highly efficient LG Chem RESU lithium ion batteries that can help you go completely off-grid. These batteries offer great DoD and boast a fantastic 10-year lifespan. Get in touch with us today to learn more! 



“Complete HVAC system install was done – very professional and clean workmanship. The techs were very communicative during the whole process. I am very pleased with the results . Thanks Action and your team for doing it right the 1st time.”

-John M., Google Review


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