Reports Show Solar Market And Energy Storage Will Increase

According to the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight Report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association, the U.S. solar market added 2.5GW of PV during the first quarter of 2018. According to the report, that is a 13 percent year-over-year growth that is expected to continue to increase.

The SEIA reported that Solar PV accounted for 55 percent of all U.S. electricity capacity during the first quarter of 2018, accounting for more than two gigawatts of energy. “The solar industry had a strong showing in the first quarter,” said SEIA President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper. “This data shows that solar has become a common-sense option for much of the U.S. and is too strong to be set back for long, even in light of the tariffs. States from California to Florida have stepped up with smart policies that will drive investment for years to come.” 

usb_re_all3_med_xc2logo-webThe increase in Solar PV systems has also lead to questions regarding energy storage. In a recent article in Alternate Energy Magazine, the use of Solar is a big challenge for businesses where Lithium Ion battery systems are extremely expensive and “loose storage capacity over time equating to roughly 20 percent after 1000 charge cycles. According to Fred Wehmeyer, Senior Vice President of Engineering at U.S. Battery Manufacturing, “Flooded Lead-Acid batteries remain as the best overall solution for storing energy and have the longest track record for safety and reliability. In addition, FLA batteries are completely recyclable so it also adds to a company’s efforts on reducing their carbon footprint. So when you combine this with the highest recycling rates on the planet, it stands to reason that this 150-year-old technology has definitely evolved into an energy source that’s hard to beat.”  For more information on energy storage solutions, visit

Battery Manufacturers Warn About Tossing Lithium-Ion Batteries In The Trash

According to an article in USA Today, lithium-ion battery manufacturers are pleading consumers to not throw used batteries in the trash or recycling bin. According to USA Today, 65-percent of waste facility fires were a direct result of lithium-ion batteries that were thrown away in the garbage.

Call2Recycle, a national recycling program funded by battery manufacturers, reported that there’s also a possibility of explosions in waste facilities when lithium-ion batteries from electronic devices are included in the garbage. As an example, USA Today reported that lithium-ion batteries were the cause of a five-alarm fire in a recycling facility in Queens, NY that burned for two days.  it was also reported that a recycling plant in Indianapolis was shut down after a fire from batteries, and a garbage truck in New York City exploded when workers compacted waste that ignited a lithium battery.

The problem in California alone has reached a point where the state is launching an awareness campaign to get consumers to keep these batteries out of the garbage and out of lead-acid battery recycling centers too. In an effort to curb improper disposal of used lithium batteries, some areas are encouraging consumers to put the batteries in a plastic bag and set them on top of the trash cans for pickup. In addition, some retailers such as Home Depot, Lowes, and Best Buy, according to USA Today, have recycling centers for used lithium batteries.

Your Batterty Powered Golf Car May Be Great For The Environment

The Flooded Lead-Acid Batteries In Your Golf Car Provide Renewable “Green” Energy

For several decades, golf cars have extended beyond the golf course and have been the main mode of daily transportation in resort and retirement communities to ease traffic congestion and reduce noise. With an increasing global interest focused on reducing emissions, utilizing renewable energy sources, and protecting the environment, various industries are taking a second look at the old battery-powered golf car.

The advantages of the electric golf car stem from those that use flooded lead-acid batteries. At first, this seems contrary to the purpose, but a closer look at what is happening with this segment of the battery industry reveals a much greener and sustainable method of power.

Cost Effectiveness

According to Fred Wehmeyer, U.S. Battery Vice President/Engineering, in most cases, flooded lead-acid batteries remain as the most cost-effective method for powering golf cars and small electric vehicles over the long-term. Some would argue that Lithium-ion batteries provide a better solution. Although Lithium battery packs may provide longer cycle life, comparing actual amp-hour capacity and battery pack energy (kilowatt-hours) often shows that the flooded lead-acid battery pack provides the most cost-effective solution at an overall purchase cost and operational cost per kilowatt-hours.

Renewable And Sustainable Advantages

One of the biggest benefits to utilizing golf cars with flooded lead-acid batteries is that the batteries are recycled at a rate of 97 to 99 percent, with the recycled lead going back into new golf car batteries in a closed-loop system. According to the Battery Council International, lead recyclers undergo some of the most restrictive emissions regulations. The process of recycling lead combined with tough emissions standards has produced new methods of recycling with reduced emissions that are far below EPA regulations. The BCI reports that contamination in the air has dropped by 99 percent since 1980. In addition, a recent study released by the BCI suggests that the U.S. lead battery industry enables more than 95,000 jobs for American workers and contributed more than $28 billion in total economic output to the national economy in 2016.*

It’s easy to see why many industries have continued to utilize flooded lead-acid batteries to power everything from fleets of golf cars, aerial lifts, cleaning machines and more. In addition to reducing annual operating costs, industries and individuals embracing battery power are also doing their part to help the economy and the environment.

For more information and maintenance tips on batteries for your electric vehicle, visit

*Lead Battery Industry Provides Billions in Economic Benefit, Provides Gateway to Middle Class – Battery Council International February 1, 2018

Electric Vehicle’s Effects On The Demand For Cobalt

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal showcased the race to control the battery industry, focused on cobalt mining. According to the authors Scott Patterson and Russell Gold, there’s a worldwide race to get as much cobalt as possible, and it’s located in the Congo.

The article points out how freelance miners in the Congo are doing whatever they can to mine cobalt for Chinese buyers, who are selling to Chinese companies, that process the cobalt into rechargeable, lithium-ion batteries used in laptops, smartphones, and electric vehicles.

Their research indicates that the Congo’s natural supply of cobalt for electric vehicles can be compared to what Saudi Arabia’s oil is to internal combustion engines.  So far, their research shows that China is the world’s largest electric-car market, and companies from China are in the process of dominating lithium-ion battery production.

In the process, freelance miners with no masks or safety equipment are caught in a process and industry that is in high demand. According to the article, it’s attracting human rights groups such as Amnesty International to look into these supply chains and ensure companies are not using these freelance miners and child labor to mine cobalt.

The article points out the staggering numbers, with global cobalt production quadrupling to 123,000 metric tons in 2000, and is expecting to reach more than 200,000 tons by 2025. Using cobalt in lithium-ion batteries, however, is not widespread, according to the article. In the article, the authors spoke with some battery experts who say that the technological shifts to make rechargeable batteries with less cobalt, or none at all, might make this mineral less important in future battery production.

With new tariffs on solar panels imposed by the U.S. President Donald Trump, the article points out that some technology experts worry what can happen if China gains a competitive hold in the battery industry.

U.S. Battery Launches New Dealer Locator Page Designed To Drive Traffic And Increase Online Branding For The Company’s Top Dealers

U.S. Battery Manufacturing is adding branding power for its dealers by implementing a new Dealer Locator system within the website. The new Dealer Locator page is faster, easier to use, and designed to drive potential customers to a Dealer Branded “mini-site” where additional images, current marketing promotions, featured U.S. Battery products, and direct contact information to expedite sales are all available. “Our new dealer branded mini-sites are a free service we’re offering our top dealers and will give them extra marketing power, placing their business at the forefront of localized online searches,” says Mike Wallace, U.S. Battery Creative Manager. “It’s designed to provide potential customers with information on U.S. Battery Products, and generate leads to drive-up sales from a simple-to-use mobile optimized location.” The program is initially being rolled out in the United States and Canada, with expansion to U.S. Battery’s global network of distributors in the coming months.

U.S. Battery’s new Dealer Locator and branded Dealer Sites, also allow customers to peruse through products by application, and quickly find and view specifications and sizes for U.S. Battery products. The Dealer Sites are maintained by U.S. Battery, to ensure customers have access to the most up-to-date product information.  Dealers are also able to personalize their site’s pages by adding more information about their company, including images of managers and staff, customer testimonials, and much more.

For more information on U.S. Battery’s new Dealer Locator, contact U.S. Battery at (800) 695-0945, or visit them online at

Access Lift And Telehandler Manufacturers Trending Towards Battery Power

Many industries are understanding the benefits of electric powered vehicles and machinery to reduce their annual operating costs in the areas of both power and maintenance. According to Access, Lift & Handlers Magazine, (Jan-Feb 2018 issue), an interview by editor Lindsey Anderson with Don Ahern of Xtreme Manufacturing, one of the leading North American manufacturers of telehandlers, Ahern believes most of these vehicles will move to electric power for various reasons. “There’s going to be a giant shift towards electric,” said Ahern. “Whether it be a 5 hp engine to a 300 hp engine, it will all go electric.”

In the interview, Ahern says he believes the electric powered vehicles will also be more reliable. “The reliability for electric drive is probably 10-times better than an internal combustion engine,” said Ahern. “Electric motors will last thousands and thousands of hours and an internal combustion engine — the best of the best— will last a thousand hours.”

The market for electric scissor lifts is undergoing the same trend change, according to Lindsey Anderson, editor at Access, Lift & Handlers, “Electric scissor lifts have long been the bread and butter of the industry,” says Anderson.  “But there’s been an influx of new uses for the venerable lifters, as many companies report.”

In response, manufacturers of electric scissor lifts such a Genie, project an increased demand for its electric products and that there’s an increase in demand for low-level and lightweight scissor lifts.

Lead Acid Batteries Offer Better/Safer Energy Storage Solution According to Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium

During a seminar by the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC) held in London, England last November, the lead battery industry was encouraged by the positive response from end-users in the utility and renewable energy storage markets made at the seminar.

Speakers during the event stressed that lead battery technology solutions meet all the requirements for energy storage installations while providing the most affordable option. “There are five essential reasons for utility operators to consider lead batteries in new energy storage systems they commission,” said Dr Geoffrey May of ALABC, “The new generation of this technology meets all the technical requirements of energy storage applications, it is the most cost-effective, safest, most reliable and most recycled, sustainable technology available today.”

Discussions during the seminar pointed out that lead battery systems better rival technologies in lifetime and operational costs, and are not subject to the same inherent safety issues with other systems. In addition, speakers during the seminar pointed out that 99 percent of lead batteries are collected and recycled at their end of life in Europe and North America, higher than any other battery technology.

Dr. May explained during the seminar, that lead batteries are available which will provide up to 5000 deep cycles. This has a major impact on the total cost of ownership of a lead battery for energy storage and is more than a match for other battery energy storage technologies. In addition, research work carried out by ALABC has improved lead battery performance in the special conditions that are seen with renewable energy sources, particularly solar photovoltaic sources, where the battery is not fully charged at all times. This has focussed on the addition of special carbons to the battery electrodes and has now been widely adopted by many major battery suppliers. For more information on the seminar visit Additional information on U.S. Battery’s RE batteries for energy storage can be found on the company’s website,

Retail Stores Now Testing Autonomous Battery Operated Sweeper Scrubbers

According to a FOXBusiness report, Walmart is in the process of testing autonomous floor scrubbers. These electric vehicles are built by Brain Corp and utilize four six-volt flooded lead-acid batteries. Brain Corp reports that these vehicles feature multi-layer sensors that control navigation and their internal systems also learn from users to replicate multiple scrubbing routes.

A Walmart spokesperson in the FOXBusiness report says this is a pilot program that is currently being tested in some of the company’s Arkansas retail stores. According to Brain Corp, these vehicles are currently working in approximately 50 malls and big-box retailers across the U.S.

Industry Investment And Closed-Loop Collection Increases Battery Recycling Rate

The Battery Council International released its National Recycling Rate Study which shows that lead batteries have a recycling rate of 99.3 percent. The industry’s state-of-the-art closed-loop collection and recycling system, along with industry investment, helped create the nearly perfect recycling rate for flooded lead-acid batteries.

The study points out that in addition to keeping 1.7 million tons of batteries out of landfills (annually), lead batteries sustainability reduce CO2 emissions in vehicles through start-stop battery technology, hybrid/electric vehicles, and smart grid technology that improves the reliability of wind and solar farms.  “Our goal is to recycle and reuse as many batteries as possible as part of our commitment to provide an environmentally-friendly source of energy storage,” said Mark Thorsby, executive vice president of BCI. “On average, a new lead battery is comprised of more than 80 percent recycled lead battery material. Every component of the battery, from lead and plastic to sulfuric acid, is recyclable which reduces waste, ensures that they are properly disposed of and decreases the need for virgin ore mining.”

The state-of-the-art closed-loop process that ensures lead batteries’ high rate of recycling is recognized by the World Economic Forum and MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics as the world’s most successful example of a circular economy-featuring the design, production, transportation, recycling and recovery of vehicle batteries. For more information on battery recycling and batteries used in a variety of industries, visit

Fire Safety Concerns Around Lithium Battery Powered Golf Cars

Concerns over fire safety around lithium batteries used in vehicles such as golf cars, particularly when used on public streets (LSV’s and NEV’s), are prompting firefighters to share information on extinguishing fires involving lithium batteries. While there have been no reported cases of fires from lithium powered golf cars, examples of automobile fires have given rise to this concern.

In an article published on MSN Autos, firefighters in Germany issued a press release to other firefighters about an accident on a highway in Austria where an electric vehicle equipped with lithium-ion batteries crashed and the batteries caught fire. The German firefighters reported that while they were extinguishing the fire, they had to wear extreme respiratory control equipment because of the toxic fumes emitted from the lithium batteries.  Also, the vehicle fire repeatedly re-ignited after apparently being extinguished and had to be extinguished repeatedly. They indicated that it was only after cutting the power to the lithium-ion batteries, that it was possible to finally put out the fire*.

Vehicle manufacturers utilizing lithium-ion batteries caution firefighters that lithium-ion battery fires can take up to 24-hours to fully extinguish. They also advise firefighters to inform second responders (law-enforcement, tow personnel) that there is a risk of the battery re-igniting

This concern has crossed over into golf cars, as some manufacturers are now utilizing lithium-ion battery systems. Any battery powered golf car that is not operated properly or charged in a closed environment (without proper ventilation), runs the risk of a potential fire. Although it is not very likely that lithium-ion powered golf cars will catch fire, it is important for consumers to be aware of the differences among battery types and the hazards that can occur in order to provide the highest level of safety possible.

*-MSN Autos – Here’s What Firefighters Do To Extinguish A Battery Fire On A Tesla Model S