Trustworthy or not? 7 questions to ask your next Renewable Energy (RE) Battery Supplier

Posted by Crown Battery on Nov 23, 2018 11:40:00 AM

 

 Energy

Marketing brochures and sales pitches can only tell us so much about a battery company.

But a few simple questions can eliminate costly mistakes – and help you discover which battery companies are worth trusting your business to.

1. “How long has your battery technology been tested and proven in the field?”   

Ideal laboratory testing conditions won’t reveal how a battery is going to perform in the real world – or in your system.
Real-world testing and customer installations take many years. So if a battery manufacturer claims a 10- or 15-year lifespan but hasn’t even been around for that long – that’s a big red flag.
(Lead-acid batteries have been in field use for more than 100 years – and we’re continuously improving them technologies, tools, and materials that didn’t even exist 50 years ago... robotic welding and assembly, ultra-durable materials, and computer-assisted field testing and data mining.)

2. “How long has your company been in business?”

The battery industry is littered with new companies that went belly up – and left their customers holding the bag. Or that continue to file for bankruptcy and do the same.
Now, we’ll be the first to admit that age doesn’t always correlate with stability and knowledge. But if a company has a good reputation and history, you can bet they’ll be there to support you if you have questions or need help. (Crown Battery has been in business since 1926.)

3. "Have you filed for bankruptcy recently?”

Of course, you’ll want to google this, too.
Battery manufacturing has high up-front costs for R&D and production- and recurring costs for excellent technical support, customer service, and warranty protection.
Bankruptcy could indicate poor products or service, and it’s a guarantee of financial instability. The biggest problem for you? Bankrupt battery companies are often obligated to pay their investors and debtors first, leaving you and your warranty in the lurch.

4. Did my distributor/salesperson/installer account for a maximum 50% Depth of Discharge?

Depth of Discharge is like gas in your car’s tank; always have enough reserves to avoid getting stranded.
Some companies deliberately undersize customers’ battery banks, so they can be “cheaper.” Don’t be fooled - it’s the equivalent of getting a half tank of gas... and paying 90% of the full tank price.

5. Are their website, spec sheets, warranty documentation, and install guides in-depth and professionally written?

Quality materials and support mean you’ll have an easier time using, selling, and/or installing batteries. They’re also an indicator of the technical support you can expect.

6. “Do I need to buy a standalone Battery Management System (BMS) just to use your batteries?”

BMS can be great. But some battery technologies cannot operate safely without it -- and that’s an out-of-pocket cost that might not be listed when you sign on the dotted line.

7. “Can you share case studies – or introduce me to a few customers who are happy with your batteries and service?”

Asking for recommendations is an easy way to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Have more questions about your next battery company?

We’re happy to help you. Just contact our friendly Fremont, Ohio customer support team online:

contact us

Tags: Solar Power International, Renewable Energy Systems