CEC Challenges Home Battery Storage Standards Overkill

Home solar battery standards in Australia

Separate, external battery enclosures not needed : CEC | Image: samfabersf

Australia’s Clean Energy Council has lodged a submission with Standards Australia in an effort to change draft home battery standards it views as overkill and that will threaten residential energy storage uptake.

Earlier this year, Standards Australia published a draft standard for home battery storage that will require certain types battery systems, including those based on lithium-ion chemistry, to be installed outside and in a separate enclosure.

Already a hefty investment, such a requirement would put solar batteries out of the reach of many more Australian households.

“The draft AS 5139 standard would shift too much of the cost burden for safety to consumers and installers. The responsibility for demonstrating that products are safe to use should lie with the manufacturer,” says the CEC’s submission.

The CEC notes international standards and other aspects have progressed since AS 5139 was first drafted and says AS 5139 should be rewritten to reflect recent developments.

In February this year, an international standard specifying requirements and tests for the safe operation of secondary lithium cells and batteries in stationary applications was published – IEC 62619:2017.

The CEC says it has been encouraging members who supply batteries to the Australian market to ensure compliance with the standard, with view to direct adoption of  IEC 62619:2017 as an Australian standard along with elements of other international standards where appropriate.

Next year, the Council will enforce the agreed battery safety standards designed to address the risks considered in the draft AS 5139 as a requirement for integrated inverter-battery energy storage system (BESS) equipment included on the CEC Approved Product List.

The CEC has also developed an accreditation scheme for battery system designers and installers that it says will ensure high levels of technical competency. Additionally, it has published battery storage installation guidelines that must be observed by accredited solar installers with an accompanying Battery Endorsement. Revised guidelines that came into effect on Tuesday will be mandatory from November 1.

“If battery units meet an agreed set of appropriate international product safety standards and are installed by an accredited installer to clear guidelines, there should be no need for them to be installed in a separate external enclosure,” says the CEC.

Sandy Atkins, Clean Energy Council Executive General Manager of Installation Integrity, says the introduction of a mandatory accreditation scheme such as the one covering Australia’s solar power installation industry will help ensure battery safety and quality.

“Close to 1.7 million solar power systems have been installed across the country, and these products have a low rate of incidents compared to the broader electrical industry,” stated Mr. Atkins.

The Clean Energy Council’s submission to Standards Australia can be viewed here (PDF).

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. Michael, do you know whether households who’ve already installed a battery would then need to comply with this AS 5139 standard if it did come into effect?

  2. Michael Bloch says

    Generally these changes aren’t retroactive and I remember reading somewhere that it would not apply to existing installations – I’ll try to track down the source.

  3. Hi I am having trouble finding specifications for solar battery storage container. I am installing an off grid small solar system with only one storage battery the size of a car battery and need the Australian standard specifications on the size of the cabinet. This cabinet will be installed outside on the side of a building and be constructed of metal. Your information will be extremely valuable to me. Thank you.

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