Revised battery standards again risk “banning” home installs

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Latest Draft Standard for residential battery installations threatens same impact as scrapped “battery bunker” rule – blocking battery installations in, or on, homes.

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One Step Off The Grid

Trouble is brewing for Australia’s growing battery storage industry, with insiders saying that the latest version of residential battery installation guidelines propose excessive fire safety measures that – again – stand to make it almost impossible for households to install.

The Draft Standard for battery installation rules and safety guidelines, which is due to to be published at the end of August, is the latest iteration of a protracted – and not always harmonious – process, led by Standards Australia.

It follows the late 2017 scrapping of a previous draft that contained a controversial clause that threatened to effectively ban the installation of lithium-ion battery systems inside Australian homes and garages.

As we reported at the time, the offending Draft Standard, known as AS/NZS 5139, had suggested residential lithium-ion battery storage could only be installed in free-standing purpose-built “kiosks,” due to potential fire risk.

But it was scrapped after a major backlash from industry, which argued the rule was a major over-reach – particularly for li-ion batteries, which had a solid safety track record in established markets like Germany, in Europe.

This view eventually won the day, and the much-needed Draft Standard – which already lags well behind the pace of current uptake in the Australian market – went back to the drawing board.

At the time, Standards Australia said it had gathered together a group of senior industry and government leaders to get the introduction of residential on-site battery storage standards back on track, at what was a crucial time of growth for the industry.

“There was unanimous agreement in the room of the need to both encourage the uptake of new technology and manage community safety expectations,” said SA CEO Bronwyn Evans.

“The clear path forward set today will see us working hard and working together to get the relevant standards in place as soon as we can.”

But that path appears to have come to a cross-roads, with industry sources telling One Step this week that certain clauses in the new Draft Standard will have virtually the same impact as the scrapped “battery bunker” rule.

To read the full story on RenewEconomy’s sister site, One Step Off The Grid, click here…

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