Why Should I Consider Using Lead Carbon Batteries? May 05 2016

Lead-Carbon batteries are different from other types of batteries because they combine the high energy density of a battery and the high specific power of a super-capacitor in a single lower-cost device (also known as Pb-C).

Our Hitek Lead-Carbon batteries feature industry leading and proven technology, achieving maximum cycle life in a compact package.

The primary goals of lead-carbon battery research has been to extend the cycle life of existing AGM lead-acid batteries and also increase their storage capacity / power.  The Activated Nano-Carbon Enhanced negative electrode provides proven results and unmatched cycle life, even in a partial state of charge (PsoC) operation.  This is very beneficial in solar power systems, communication sites, Caravan, Marine, Motorhome / RV installations and many more applications.

We have pre-made battery racks available for our lead-carbon batteries to make installation quick and easy.  Our lead-carbon batteries are fully sealed Valve-Regulated and can operate on their front, side or standing upright to give you maximum installation options in any installation scenario.

Advantages of Lead Carbon compared with Lithium batteries and Lead-Acid:

* No BMS (Battery Management System) is needed to prevent over-charging and under-charging on a per cell basis, as lithium battery sets need.

* No thermal run-away risk of individual cells over heating, exploding and catching on fire as lithium batteries can have.

* Much better and greater kW storage capacity per dollar compared with lithium (approximately twice the storage capacity from lead-carbon compared with lithium, or about half the price for the same kW capacity).

* A nice easy to carry modular system where each battery can be carried and put in place 1 at a time, without needing any forklifts, jacks etc like you need to install the Tesla Powerwall battery and Panasonic Lithium Home Storage Battery.

* Suitable for On-Grid Hybrid and Off-Grid systems due to high discharge amperage capacity.  A set of our 14.4kW lead-carbon batteries is capable of 5kW discharge capacity without any problems or issues, yet lithium batteries such as the Panasonic Home Storage Battery + the Tesla Power Wall battery are limited to 2 - 3.3kW constant power output which in turn makes them un-suitable for off-grid installations.

* No Cooling fans / system is needed for lead-carbon batteries, yet lithium batteries such as the Panasonic Home Storage Battery + the Tesla Power Wall battery need active fan cooling to constantly regulate and keep the lithium battery temperature cool otherwise over-heating and risk of fire / explosion may result if they had a cooling system failure.

* Can easily retrofit / retro-fit onto ANY / ALL existing systems running existing lead-acid batteries, where as lithium batteries can't easily be added onto existing older systems that are running older lead-acid batteries.  In turn our lead carbon batteries can work on older systems that may be running Outback Power, Midnite Solar, SMA Sunny Boy / Sunny Island setups, Enasolar, Enphase, APS, Solax, Goodwe, EP Solar Tracer, Xantrex, Schneider, and many other existing older system types.

* Much higher energy density and longer life in the same size (or smaller) package compared with existing AGM / GEL and Flooded Lead Acid Batteries.  Eg a typical 6v Crown / Trojan 430Ah L16 style Flooded Lead Acid Battery only gives 1200 cycles at 50% DOD while our lead-carbon batteries offer 3500+ cycles at 50% DOD while also giving MORE usable Ah / kW storage capacity at the same time.

* No need to run lots of seperate 2v batteries as was the norm with older lead-acid solar storage setups, as our 6v 300Ah battery sets offer much better value for money per kW than existing traditional 2v setups offer, however yes we can also offer our lead-carbon batteries as 2v battery versions also (via pre-order only).  This not only saves you money but also means our battery storage system offers a much faster and easier installation in comparison.

* High Amperage Charge & Discharge capacity compared with Solar GEL batteries which have low charge / discharge amp input and output current restrictions.

* No harmful and toxic gases coming off our lead-carbon batteries (as they're sealed), so you don't have to worry about terminals and wiring corrosion, or spillage of liquid acid, checking fluid levels, hydrometer checking and all the safety risks / hazzards that you have with existing flooded lead acid batteries.  Our lead-carbon batteries don't need external outdoor ventilation as normal lead-acid batteries do.

* Up to 20 Year Design Life for our lead-carbon batteries (when running in best case with perfect environment conditions), compared with standard lead-acid batteries that have a 3-5 year design life and lithium that has up to 10 year design life.

We have now suppiled and deployed more than 250 sets of our lead-carbon batteries to clients around NZ and around the world, and we've not had a single client who has not been happy with how nicely our lead acid batteries are running for them on their systems.  Many of these clients previously had existing lead-acid batteries that had failed on them much sooner than they had expected and they wanted a more reliable long-term solution.  Our lead carbon batteries are the answer and today here in New Zealand we've not found another single solar / energy storage battery that is "Better Value for Money" than our lead-carbon batteries when usable battery life and usable energy storage are part of the calculation.

Note: We can offer wholesale / trade supply to other companies who may wish to offer our lead-carbon battery storage options to their own clients.  Please contact us for more information.

Solar Power + Storage - Why every Solar PV system owner should consider adding this for better returns. April 06 2016

We recently supplied one of our new "SOLAR HYBRID STORAGE SYSTEMS" to Gavin over in Sydney Australia to get better returns and more savings from his existing Solar PV system.

He was already running 16 x 260w Trina Honey Solar Panels (4.16kW) with Enphase Micro Inverters. He was wasting around HALF his Solar Power produced each day by giving it back to the grid for peanuts (basically giving it to them almost for free at around 6c per kW), and yet facing paying 51cents per per kW worth of power later in the evening (on that same day). So instead he now has 14.4kW worth of latest technology Lead Carbon Battery storage and our Hybrid Storage system manages everything automatically for him to get BEST advantage to use ALL of his solar power each day (without wasting any of it back to the grid) and he also gets to top up his battery storage cheaply from the grid at the lowest cost of 11c per kW unit in the middle of the night to cover his morning loads also. This solution would give an average solar power home a benefit of around $110 - $160 per month MORE compared with just having the solar power system alone, and a net benefit of around $260 per month compared to before he had any solar power system or storage at all.

Gavin had looked into the options of getting the new Enphase AC battery, and also the Tesla Powerwall battery and Panasonic Home Storage Lithium battery as options, however with a high cost per kW and low storage options (the Enphase only 1kW usable storage, the Tesla Powerwall only 6.4kw usable storage per day and the Panasonic only 8kW storage per day) he really wanted a better solution that offered MORE storage so he wasn't having to waste all his solar production each day sending most of it back to the grid as it had been until our system was installed.  This system also allows him to easily expand (and DOUBLE) his storage capacity to 28.8kW anytime he would like to in the future with minimal extra cost per kW worth of storage, as it's only the extra batteries that would be needed, no inverter, charger or other system upgrades would be required.

This is a perfect example of how Solar Power + Storage (in the right setup) is a game changer today and WHY every home with Solar Power in NZ and Australia should consider adding on this option.

You would have thought that between Enphase, Tesla and Panasonic they could have came up with a solution which would have achieved the same result for Gavin, but in this case their solutions were not up to the task or readily available to retro-fit onto his existing system easily or at an affordable price.
Talk to us if you'd like to know more about how to get the BEST efficiency and payback from your existing solar power system, or even if you don't have a solar power system and are interested in getting one and care about the actual savings and returns that the system will give you (not just having it on your roof to look pretty and give you poor paybacks as many systems are currently doing today).

The pictures and graph should best explain and show the savings that our system was giving him over that 24 hour period.
PS: Gavins existing Solar PV system was installed only a year earlier by a highly reputable solar power company in Sydney, they did a good job on the physical installation and used high quality items, but sadly the detail was lacking in giving a "FULL SOLUTION" which actually provided a good "REAL WORLD PAYBACK RETURN" which is what our add on system finally gave him.  His existing solar power company that originally suppliled his Enphase system did not have a solution like this to be able to offer (which is often the case with many solar companies to be honest).

Long Term Solar Power Lease Options - Are They Really Viable ?? February 01 2016

Recently there has been a lot of media attention around the proposition of long term solar power leasing agreements.  Solar Long term leasing is a term that is being talked about more commonly nowdays, but is it really actually viable in reality??

The concept is that you receive your solar panels and installation for ‘free’, and you in turn sign a long term lease agreement for 20 years (where they own the system on your roof top and will never own it).

To read more about the viability of long term solar leasing agreements, Frank and Muriel Newman from the Oily Rag have written an interesting article, featured in the Bay of Plenty Times.

We think it’s a good read, and raises some very interesting points, and compared to adding it onto your mortgage or buying the system outright, it's easy to see that the "TRUE REAL PAYBACK RETURN BENEFITS" of Solar Power Systems from the likes of what Solar City is offering with their Solar Zero system offerings don't compare against owning the system yourself.  Why pay to make somebody else rich, when you could be making ALL of the savings yourself instead of lining their pockets?


Original Article Published Below by Oily Rag:

Authors: Frank and Muriel Newman, authors of Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. To read more of their content and follow them online, please visit their website.

Featured: Bay Of Plenty Times, Thursday April 16th 2015. Original article source

Some say that solar power is the way of the future, but that the stumbling block has been the high upfront cost of solar panels. So there was a ripple of excitement within the oily rag community recently, caused by a media headline. “Free panels place solar power within reach for Kiwis,” it exclaimed.

However, on further reading, it is apparent that while there are lots of free things for the frugally minded, solar power is not yet one of them.

The story was about a company called solarcity, which recently went nationwide with a new solar power option called solarZero, whereby homeowners can get solar panels installed on their roof at no upfront cost — as long as they make a 20-year commitment to pay a fixed monthly fee. According to the company this is a first for New Zealand but is not uncommon overseas.

The “zero upfront” deal involves the householder entering into what is, in effect, a rental and servicing agreement. At no stage does ownership of the panels pass to the householder.

The monthly fee ranges from $55 to $280, depending on the number of panels that need to be installed, which in turn depends on the power consumption of the household.

The website has some handy calculators to show the potential savings. For example, a “normal” household (not that oily rag households are normal!) that pays $300 a month in power bills would save about $119, but out of that they would have to pay $110 a month to solarcity. Over the 20-year period of the contract, the payments would total $26,400.

The net savings to the householder would therefore be $9 a month ($119 less the $110 fee), or 3 per cent of their power bill. In other words, the energy cost savings of $119 are split $9 to the householder and $110 to the solar panel provider.

Since solar power is only generated during the day and storage cells are not included in the deal, customers would still have to buy power from their electricity company for night-time use.

Although solarcity has provided a new option for those wanting to make a switch to solar energy, committing to 240 monthly payments is a big, long-term financial undertaking that requires a good deal of serious thought.

What happens if you were to sell your house within the 20 years (quite likely given the frequency with which people move house)? In that case you would have a number of choices: convince the new owner to take over the remaining payments, pay to relocate the panels to your new home, or pay upfront the remaining payments due.
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For example, if someone 10 years into the 20-year commitment moves in to a rest home and is not able to convince the new homeowner to take over their contract, they would be left, in our example, with a bill of $13,200.

Some may say solar panels add to the resale value of a home …we doubt that and take the view that the rate of innovation is such that the units may be of little or no value.

It is also questionable whether it is wise to make a 20-year commitment to a solar power system, when the solar industry is undergoing rapid improvements in technology. The cost of solar power units has fallen significantly over the years and we don’t see any reason why this will not continue.

Solar energy may be the way of the future, given the vast roof areas that could be used to capture the sun’s energy. However, having done some number crunching, we are not convinced that a very long-term rental agreement with its inherent uncertainties is as attractive as it might sound. Householders should consider the upfront capital payments and assess the saving in energy costs as a return on their investment.

You can send in your ideas and join the Oily Rag mailing list, by emailing us at or by writing to us at: Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.
Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. Read our wealth of tips at Oily Rag.