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Batteries

Batteries are big, heavy, costly, often highly toxic and will not last forever – all the things you do not want to hear.

We no longer retail batteries as they are not part of our core business strategy any longer. There are many companies in NZ that can sell you a battery bank and you can also import them yourself - depending on your motivation and skills.

Be warned that buying a battery can be like buying a 2nd hand car, there is often lots of hype about life expectation and lots of misinformation. Every salesperson is saying that their battery is the best solution for you. Good questions to ask are, “tell me how long you have lived off-grid on such a battery?” and/or “I would like to talk with one of your clients who has a similar sized power system and power usage profile and who has lived off-grid for >3 years”.

As the battery is the most expensive and important part of any off-grid power system be very diligent, get written life expectations for your application, get the warranty terms in writing. Check to make sure that the company you buy off is a registered NZ company and that they have been in business for at least the length of the warranty term they are offering you. Ask the question of the company you buy from “if the battery manufacture goes bankrupt, do you as the NZ importer still honour the warranty terms?

Check if the warranty is full replacement or a pro-rata credit against a new battery? Many warranties are a pro-rata credit after the 1st few years. Some battery warranty terms require the %SOC and upper/lower voltage to be recorded to a system log file, but then the system sold to you does not then collect this data so you end up with no battery warranty!

Get an entire system warranty if you can from the same supplier who has a service technician within 1-2 hours travel of your site. Ask if the system warranty covers the cost of a technician to visit the site or if it is limited to “return to base” only. Very remote locations will only ever get a “return to base” warranty.

These are your main options:

Lithium. Can work very well on off-grid sites with small hydro turbines. Some Chinese brands are cost competitive with lead and a 10+ year life is typical. Read more here.

Wet lead (lowest cost). Can work very well on off-grid sites with small hydro turbines. Low cost but if you want a 7-10 life you have to ensure shallow cycles of only 10-20% of battery capacity. Top up water is needed every few months. Life is typically 3-5 years when used off-grid on solar PV homes. Both U.S. battery and Trojan 6V L16 type cells are a good option and available in NZ. Warranty typically 1-2 years.
Sealed lead (higher cost). Best suited to large off-grid solar PV systems. Sonnenschein Gel would be a good brand to choose. Lives up to 10 years are possible. Warranty typically 2-6 years.
Advance lead (highest cost) - often called VRLA Nano Carbon (higher cost). Best suited to grid-tied solar PV home or off-grid with hydro. They can be deeply cycled but like all lead batteries must not be left in a low state of charge for any significant length of time or they will suffer capacity loss due to sulphating. Century Yuasa would be a good brand to choose. Lives >10 years are possible. There are a number of less reputable brands claiming 20-year life with short and onerous warranty procedures - avoid these brands. Warranty typically 3 years.
Super capacitor storage (highest cost). This storage option is still relatively new. KiloWatt Labs marketing by Green Fox in NZ may be a good option to consider. They claim of up to 45 year life but only a shelf life of 10 years. Warranty is also 10-years and conditions are difficult to fully understand. Their warranty document does not clearly tell you what the limited warranty actually covers - mainly what it does not cover.
 

If you are intending to live off-grid, batteries are essential unless you have a large 5kW+ hydro resource. If you have adequate intermittent all year generation from opposite renewable energy sources (such as solar PV and hydro) then you can often manage with a smaller battery bank (provided you are frugal during times that are overcast and dry and/or are prepared to use a fuel generator).

Remember most battery sales representatives do not live off-grid through a NZ winter (where the sun may not shine for days). Their advice is often based on a sales blurb and margins and not always on a solid customer experience.

There are many battery types on the market, if you intend to live off-grid and want the perfect battery experience and no limits on your power consumption (and no 2nd mortgage to go with it), then we suggest you do not live off-grid. If you want the freedom to use plenty of power whenever you like you will need the grid to support your system automatically. If you are prepared to be careful at times, invest in a renewable energy generation system large enough to power your home all year, then existing battery technology can work well from a battery cost of about $1000-2000 NZ per year. This cost can be much higher for larger off-grid home that are mainly solar PV powered.

If the grid exists already at your home we do not advise you go off-grid. You can consider grid-tied or grid-assisted systems which may require no battery or only require a very small battery.

BLDC Motor Applications

A Smart Drive PMA (Permanent Magnet Alternator) can be configured as a BLDC (Brushless DC) electric motor.

We offer motor applications for 60-72V DC input and PV applications up to 80V DC. We may offer lower voltage applications in the future.

Each BLDC includes:

  • A tested 1.5kW 60-72V BLDC driver
  • Stator and magnetic rotor
  • Shaft and retaining nut
  • Bearing block, bearings and fixings

These Smart Drive BLDC motors can develop up to 28 Nm of torque making them suitable for a large range of applications.

Some DIY applications include:

  • Electric vehicles
  • Concrete mixer drive
  • Potter’s wheel drive
  • Long line hauling winch
  • Automation drives
  • Electric lawn mower
  • Boat electric drive
  • Solar powered pump
  • Large solar powered dynamic art works

You are only limited by your imagination. The same BLDC can also be wired directly (via a large capacitor) to two solar PV panels in series. The maximum voltage of each panel needs to be in the 35-40V range.  You can then configure your invention to work only when the sun shines.

All DIY’ers are different, some are motivated by the challenge and learning experience, and some by the perceived financial benefit. If you are a DIY’er we admire you, we have done what we can to provide you with a free comprehensive documentation resource, and we can provide you with professional advice for a fee. Good advice based on 1st class engineering and 20 years’ renewable energy experience is never free, unless you are prepared to do some reading and learning yourself. Our Smart Drive BLDC Motor Applications for DIY projects guide is a great place to start.

Breakers, Fuses, Enclosures & Meters

Charge Controllers

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There are two main types of charge controllers (also called regulators):

  • MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking)
  • PWM (Pulse Width Modulation)

10 years ago a MPPT controller was costly compared to a PWM controller. Now very few people choose to use PWM.

Some MPPT controllers can divert surplus power to hot water. As Solar PV is very cheap these days we advise large solar PV (>5kW) with surplus diverted to your hot water tank.

Read our published guide on charge controllers

Read our published guide on surplus power diversion

We only list premium brand charge controllers which have a proven track record and have been tested with our hydro turbines. If you wish to source your own controller online for use with one of our hydro turbines please check with us first.

If you are after quality controllers with an NZ warranty and compliant in NZ then we can assist you.

MPPT regulators

The world is awash with low cost solar MPPT regulators. Not all will work with our hydro turbines. The MPPT regulators we offer below are high quality regulators for both solar PV or hydro use with long NZ warranties. If you are looking for a lower cost solution then try your luck on aliexpress at your own risk.

Fangpusun also offer Victron and Outback MPPT copies at a lower cost which should also work fine on our hydro turbines (as the genuine products worked fine). Buy direct off Fangpusun at your own risk. This guide may help you.

We can only assist you (via your dealer), if you purchase an MPPT regulator (purchased from us or via our dealer) that we have tested and it has been approved for hydro use by the manufacturer and has manufactures support & warranty. If you have not purchased such a regulator you are doing R&D work and we cannot help you.

For Solar PV homes, we advise the Midnite Classic 150, Outback FM80 or the Victron SSV 150/100A-TR. All these regulators are large and can be installed with ELV PV arrays (<120 VDC). For larger homes with PV arrays >5-6kW several regulators may be needed (normally 1 per 21 x 270W 5.67kW 7-string ELV array). All these regulators are capable of diverting surplus solar PV power to your homes hot water tank.

In general we advise these products with our hydro turbines:

Operating voltage up to 40V (PLT40, TRG40 and LH150 turbines)

 Operating voltage up to 80V (PLT80, TRG80 and LH250 turbines)

 Operating with PowerClamps

PowerClamps can be used to limit voltages so that lower voltage MPPT regulators can be used. In general you should avoid using a PowerClamp (buy a higher voltage MPPT) where possible. PowerClamps are often used to fix issues on sites, for example where very long and thin cables have been put in and the site is being upgraded for more power down the same cable. Seek gold dealer advice before buying a PowerClamp.

Coanda Intakes

Dealer addons

Dealer Portal

Dealer Quoted Products

Dealer Turbines

Dealer Twin Pack

Diversion Loads & Aux Relays

If your battery is full or the grid is not available, there may not be sufficient load on your hydro turbine, and it will over-speed (run away).  This may cause excessive noise and wear, and it is a wasted opportunity to use the energy.  We offer diversion load heaters and solid state relays (SSRs) to utilise or remove this surplus energy.  Normally the SSR will be triggered by the "Auxiliary relay" or "Aux port" in your battery charge controller, which produces a 12V signal..

Overspeed will not be a problem on low head sites (PLT under 25m, TRG under 5m, LH under 2.4m) but you may still want to harvest your excess to heat water.
Occasional overspeed is acceptable at higher heads (PLT up to 60m, TRG to 12m, LH to 5m) but this should not be an everyday routine. At higher head sites you should never allow overspeed apart from voltage open circuit testing at no load for a brief duration, long running unloaded or partially loaded this will shorten bearing life.

There are 3 ways to divert surplus energy:

  • AC heating element via your inverter 
  • DC heating element at your battery voltage
  • DC heating element at your turbine generation voltage

If you do not have a hot water tank or do not need hot water then you can use an air diversion heater.  Bear in mind also that the water may overheat unless you make contingency plans.

Please note: We only offer equipment for DC power diversion (DC SSRs). For AC diversion the equipment required is widely available elsewhere.

For SSR applications above 100 VDC and for 120/240 VAC phase angle SSR applications Hugh Piggott (via a consultation) can assist/advise you.  

We recommend that you read our "PS MPPT Diversion Loads Guide".

DIY Free Shipping Offers

These DIY kits are high quality, great value and include free worldwide shipping! 

When building your own hydro turbine there are many parts which you can find, make or construct yourself. However the rotor and jet assemblies are difficult to make well. Here we offer you the same parts we use in our PowerSpout turbines for your DIY project.

All of the products in this category receive free worldwide shipping. If you add additional products to your cart you will only be charged shipping on those products.

DIY Hydro

Find a Dealer

Here at PowerSpout we tailor make products to match each clients unique resources and requirements. This process could not work without our experienced dealers who help facilitate this process.

We do sell direct to customers who are keen D.I.Y.er's but you need to pay for system design/installation support and only dealers qualify for free shipping. It is often cheaper to buy through a dealer and they are invaluable in helping you create a successful system. 

To have an efficient and productive conversation with a dealer please ensure you have collected your site data and assessed your energy needs. What site data is required is detailed in section 8 of our Getting Started Guide which also explains how to measure and asses your site and lifestyle. Ideally also complete a calculation

You can filter dealers by language spoken. As most dealers provide support by email this is much more important than geographical location.

Gold dealers are our most experienced dealers and have proven themselves experts in renewable energy installations

Silver dealers are experienced and knowledgeable dealers

Freight Insurance & Warranty Upgrade

 

Insurance has to be purchased on all orders >2kg or the goods freight at your own risk. Orders below 2kg freight by NZ Post and this service includes insurance up to $250NZD ($180USD approx). For a detailed explanation please see our terms and conditions and freight tips.

Warranty terms vary and are fully detailed in the warranty documents and the terms and conditions.

 

PowerSpout turbines have 1-3 warranty depending on model and output power.

Warranty upgrades add 1, 2 or 3 years to our standard product warranty and can only be purchased at the time of the PowerSpout turbine sale to be valid.

Service and installation conditions apply, so please carefully read all documentation relating to our turbines prior to purchase.

Inverters

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If you are after a robust inverter/charger then we believe that Victron have the best range of sizes, best prices and 5-year warranty...........but read on there are many other options.  

There are a number of off-grid inverter/systems you should consider depending on your requirements, budget, support, compliance and warranty needs. For our guide on how to build a powershed click here.

If you are after a stand alone inverter above 3kW please contact us as we can source many brands available in NZ.

One often overlooked cost of an installation is the installer/electrician's time. It is worth considering a pre-wired solution as it will normally have a lower overall cost. We have detailed some of the pre-wired solutions available below:

Premium prewired and 5-year warranty

  • Outback FP1, FP2, FP3, FP4 – USA design made in India (highest cost)
  • Victron EasySolar 5kW – European design made in Malaysia (medium cost)

You can read our Easysolar guide here.  

Good quality economy Steca 5kW 2-year warranty

This is a Steca branded 5kW product (likely made in China). There is no doubt that Steca have added some features and are selling a quality product  that is compliant with accepted international standards.

Chinese direct economy 5kW 1-year warranty in China (very low cost)

We do not sell these Chinese units but they are becoming popular with financially constrained clients. If you want to buy one try Malik in China at this email malik@sunrayups.com 

We have tested some, and some have worked very well, some have not. Many sell in range $350-450US + freight. Freight accounts for about 1/3 of the cost, as any warranty offered (normally 1-year) is return to base in China at buyers expense both ways, the warranty is in effect worthless, so you may want to consider the Steca Solarix PLI5000-48 from a distributor in your own country. Yes is will cost more than Chinese direct equivalent but you will have a warranty that is worth something, you may even get some free support from a local agent.

This is a case of buyer beware. For financially constrained DIY clients globally  these could be a very good solution, but we cannot help you if you have an issue. We cannot sell you one as not all compliance certificates from China are genuine and product variations change constantly which makes retailing them in the small NZ market not practical. Most clients who want one are already buying them online at the lowest possible cost so the remaining market is minuscule. We spend many hours every month talking to clients who are interested in these low cost inverters. We do not sell them. We can help if you are in the market for a quality 5-year warranty (NZ supported) inverter or pre-wired system. 

Solis and Soltaro (grid-tied inverter) GTI

Ginlong inverters are sold under a number of brand names, the main two are Solis and Soltaro. These 600V inverters work well with PowerSpout hydro turbines (such as the PLT200, TRG200 and LH450 turbine) in grid-tied or AC coupled off-grid systems.

Ginlong inverters are available in most global markets and are good quality and cost effective. Ginlong make inverters from the small 700W Solis mini to large 125kW 3-phase models. We can offer a limited range of sizes for NZ clients.

LH

LH Parts & Accessories

Low head (LH)

PowerSpout is a brand of premium domestic scale hydro products for generating electricity. PowerSpout turbines are efficient, cost effective, durable and Standards compliant.

PowerSpout turbines are tailor made products to match your unique resources and requirements. This process could not work without our experienced dealers who help facilitate this process.

We do sell direct to customers who are keen D.I.Y.er's but you will need to pay for system design/installation support and only dealers qualify for free shipping. It is often cheaper to buy through a dealer and they are invaluable in helping you create a successful system. 

To have an efficient and productive conversation with a dealer please ensure you have collected your site data and assessed your energy needs. Ideally complete a calculation.  If in doubt, ask your dealer to help you survey the site and run the calculation.  All turbine orders must include a valid site calculation reference number.

Refer to PowerSpout Document Index Links for a complete index of documents.

Off-Grid Supplies

EcoInnovation have been in the off-grid renewable energy business for almost 20 years. In this time many things have changed:

  • Solar PV has fallen by almost 2000% in real terms mainly thanks to Chinese mass production.
  • Electronics have got better and are lower cost due to higher global volumes, Chinese production or offshore outsourced manufacturing.
  • Global web platforms have allowed many NZ based clients to buy from off-shore (often avoiding GST). This GST loophole in NZ is ending soon, it has made it uneconomic to sell many off-grid renewable energy products in this small and cost sensitive NZ market.
  • Electric cars are sparking an interest in home generation to a wider audience.
  • The holy grail of cost effective batteries seems one step closer every day.
  • Pollution and global warming are accepted (by all but a small vocal minority). Nobody can fix these problems alone, but we can all lead by example; reduce, reuse, recycle, electric cars and the uptake of renewable energy. These are thing we can do – so what are you waiting for?

While these changes were occurring EcoInnovation (under the PowerSpout brand) has been working hard developing a range of hydro turbines that sell well globally. With this development work coming to an end, we have decided to re-join the NZ market for internet based sales for off-grid products with a focus on ELV systems.

Whether it be a part, a complete system design/supply/install or just some professional advice we are here to help.

 

Pelton (PLT)

PowerSpout is a brand of premium domestic scale hydro products for generating electricity. PowerSpout turbines are efficient, cost effective, durable and Standards compliant.

PowerSpout turbines are tailor made products to match your unique resources and requirements. This process could not work without our experienced dealers who help facilitate this process.

We do sell direct to customers who are keen D.I.Y.er's but you will need to pay for system design/installation support and only dealers qualify for free shipping. It is often cheaper to buy through a dealer and they are invaluable in helping you create a successful system. 

To have an efficient and productive conversation with a dealer please ensure you have collected your site data and assessed your energy needs. Ideally complete a calculation.  If in doubt, ask your dealer to help you survey the site and run the calculation.  All turbine orders must include a valid site calculation reference number.

Refer to PowerSpout Document Index Links for a complete index of documents.

PLT

PLT Cube

PLT Parts & Accessories

PowerClamps (voltage protection)

The PowerClamp is a device for limiting the maximum output voltage of a PowerSpout hydro turbine. This may be necessary to protect the equipment connected to the turbine. 

PowerSpout PLT Cube

PowerSpout Turbines

PowerSpout is a brand of premium domestic scale hydro products for power generation and water pumping applications.
 
These products are:
  • Efficient
  • Cost effective
  • Durable
  • Standards compliant

PowerSpout turbines are tailor made products to match your unique resources and requirements. This process could not work without our experienced dealers who help facilitate this process.

We do sell direct to customers who are keen D.I.Y.er's but you will need to pay for system design/installation support and only dealers qualify for free shipping. It is often cheaper to buy through a dealer and they are invaluable in helping you create a successful system. 

To have an efficient and productive conversation with a dealer please ensure you have collected your site data (refer to section 8) and assessed your energy needs. Ideally complete a calculation. If in doubt, ask your dealer to help you survey the site and run the calculation. All turbine orders must include a valid site calculation reference number.

Refer to PowerSpout Document Index Links for a complete index of documents.

Pre-Wired PCE

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Pre-wired power conversion equipment is an easy and fast solution for both professional installers and DIY clients. There are several ways to go with an off-grid system:

  • DC coupled
  • AC coupled
  • DC and AC coupled

Equipment designed for the large grid-tied market when used off-grid tends to be AC coupled (solar panels make DC, via micro or string inverter to AC, to central battery inverter).

Equipment designed for the much smaller off-grid market tends to be DC coupled (solar panels make DC, via DC MPPT regulator to battery, then via inverter to AC). Power from GTI’s (grid-tied inverters) can often also be injected on the AC side of the system as well.

The homeowner can often work on the DC side of the system if it is ELV (<120VDC). AC coupled systems are normally LV (>120VDC) on the DC side which in NZ requires the work to be done by an electrician, COC documentation, it is also classed as high risk needing an ROI documentation.

It is our view that for domestic scale solar/hydro jobs of moderate size that DC coupled systems are preferable with these advantages:

  • Homes use most power outside sunlight hours, so DC coupled can be more efficient.
  • You can do some or all of the DC work yourself if ELV in NZ – we have some guides to help you
  • Lower and safer DC voltages.
  • In remote locations where most off-grid jobs are installed, electricians skilled in such systems may be rare and have to travel long distances which can be costly.

Yes there are also some disadvantages like more cables and fuses needed etc. For more discussion on this topic read these links: Victron, Clean Energy, Solar Builder Mag

Pre-wired systems have been common for well over 10 years with the Outback FP-1 being the benchmark. Times have moved on and the FP-1 is on the small side for a typical NZ home and rather costly compared to the competition. The larger Outback FP-2 (without FM80s or FPA22 with FM80s) is a good size but rather costly.

Outback have recently launched a lower cost (up to 500V) hybrid inverter and MPPT called the SPC III. It appears to be a branded Chinese (or Indian) unit very similar to this one but with a few improvements such a logging and monitoring and with a 2 year warranty.

Steca have recently launched a lower cost (up to 150V) hybrid inverter and MPPT called Solarix PLI that appears to be a branded Chinese unit very similar to this one.

Victron recently launched the 5KVA EasySolar which has a 25% larger inverter and MPPT than the FP-1. They have just launched the 3KVA Easysolar-II GX and will in due course release the 5KVA Easysolar-II GX. The main differences on the more recent version are:

  • AC breakers and the RCD have been removed
  • Colour display has been removed
  • Smaller form factor
  • MPPT has been upgraded from 150V to 250v version, so can be LV or ELV on the DC side
  • Price is the same

The main difference between that Outback FP-1 and EasySolar 5KVA range is that the FP-1 has a single interface for both the installer and the customer called the Mate 3s, settings can be adjusted remotely via cloud based monitoring. The Victron EasySolar has a nice colour display option (mainly for the customer) that can also be connected to the internet. EasySolar settings cannot be changed remotely and the installer requires a laptop, software and several special cables to set the system up correctly. You can read our Victron Easysolar guide here.

My experience with cloud based monitoring at remote sites in NZ has not been great, often due to unreliable internet connections. The setting up of cloud based monitoring is never as easy as the supporting documentation often implies. So you may need to engage an IT professional to help you with this aspect of the installation.

For those clients who cannot afford these quality pre-wired solutions then consider these low cost hybrid options that you can import yourself direct from China:

We only offer for sale quality DC coupled options - all have a 5-year (return to dealer in Auckland) warranty:

  • Victron Easysolar 24V 3KVA with colour display (70A Blue solar 150V MPPT fitted)
  • Victron Easysolar II 48V 3KVA with display (70A Blue solar 250V MPPT fitted)
  • Victron Easysolar 48V 5KVA with colour display (100A Smart solar 150V MPPT fitted)
  • Outback FP-1 (with Mate 3S and 80A-150V amp MPPT)

We also offer a range of inverters sized from 3-15 KVA. There are too many options to list them all, so contact us with the size you need and we can price a few options/makes for you. At the moment the Victron 3, 5, 8, 10 and 15 KVA 48V inverters are a very good & cost effective option for small, medium and large off-grid homes. Be warned that although Victron PCE’s are very good, the documentation supplied if often light if you need help with more advanced features.

Professional Advice

Here at PowerSpout we are more than just manufacturers of hydro turbines. We are experts in renewable energy systems. We have done what no other micro hydro company has done. We have created a comprehensive collection of documents which cover all aspects of our products and also how they integrate with a renewable energy system.

Chances are if you have a question the answer can be found for free here. Yes, there is a lot of information so it may take some reading to find the answer you seek, but each renewable system is different and there are so many variables that no one else has even attempted to provide such documentation.

However, if you require advice on system design, an existing renewable energy system or a DIY project then we have advisers who can help. All our advisers are Gold PowerSpout dealers with a proven track record in solar PV, wind and hydro systems. A consultation with an expert can put you on the right track quickly and help to avoid costly mistakes.

If you are considering a Renewable Energy System it is important that you get off to a good start. We highly recommend that you engage one of our experienced dealers as they have the knowledge to save you time and money and can guide you through this complex process. 

For DIY clients we do publish a free guide that you can read here.

Our advises are:

  • Hugh Piggott (35 years living off-grid)
  • Michael Lawley (25 years living off-grid, BEng Mechanical)
  • Derek Jackson (10 years Aurora Power & Design Inc)
  • Florin Fleseriu (over 15 years renewable energy experience)

Refer to PowerSpout Document Index Links for a complete index of documents.

React Pump

The PowerSpout SHP-TX has been rebranded the React pump. For more information about the pump please visit reactpump.com

Our NZ dealers can provide complete solutions including solar panels. Their experience and support are valuable tools in a successful installation.

React Pump Dealers

We highly recommend you purchase your React Pump from one of the following dealers. They can provide you with a complete solution, advice and support.

Both dealers operate nationwide in New Zealand. 

100A

Rectifier & Filter Options

Shafts, Bearing Holders & Seals

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