Battery Standards on their way

The Smart Energy Council is partnering with DNV GL, CSIRO and Deakin University on a major project to develop a draft national standard for the performance of batteries installed with solar PV systems. The outcome will enable homeowners to make an informed decision on different batteries and determine what’s best for their needs.

The Smart Energy Council will Chair the Stakeholder Reference Group and during the 24-month project will work closely with the battery storage industry.

The project will cover battery systems ranging from residential to small commercial systems, with a maximum size of 100 kW power capacity and 200 kWh energy capacity connected to a solar PV system.

The process will include a comprehensive ‘gap analysis’ of existing local and international battery storage performance standards; performance testing of batteries; and the development of a proposed Standard for battery performance.

A Guideline based on the proposed Standard will also be developed for use by industry stakeholders in the interim prior to a Standard being finalised through Standards Australia.

Smart Energy Council chief executive John Grimes said the project will help residential and small business consumers make more informed buying decisions and drive confidence in the battery storage market.

“This is a timely as well as a positive step forward for the industry and for consumers. Home storage is proving more popular by the day and greater certainly will be reflected in a greater take up of smart energy technologies that bring all-round benefits. It’s good for households, industry and the environment. 

“The Smart Energy Council is pleased to be playing a role in the development of standards that benefit homeowners and the solar and storage sector.”

DNV GL Vice-President Technology & Innovation for Energy Lucy Craig said  “Energy storage is a vital component in the transition to a greener energy future, and through efforts of providing the industry with performance standards, we are supporting the safe and sustainable development of the energy storage sector. We look forward to building on these efforts to create a vibrant and lasting energy storage market for Australia.”

The $3.12 million project is being part funded by ARENA which is injecting $1.4 million with the Victorian Government contributing $500,000.

ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht commented the difficulty for consumers to make a well-informed choice presented a barrier to uptake of battery storage, but this project will give consumers a more informed choice and increased confidence in deciding to invest in home batteries and rooftop solar.

He said it would also give people easy to access information on how reliable the batteries are and how well they perform over their lifetime in Australian conditions.

The project will analyse Australian and international battery performance testing and consult with stakeholders in order to come up with a proposed Australian Battery Performance Standard. This will initiate the formal standard development process with Standards Australia.

Australia is widely touted to be a global leader in battery storage. Already two million homes and businesses have installed rooftop solar, and although the ACCC threatens to axe the small-scale incentive system by 2021, in the foreseeable future more homeowners will choose to install rooftop PV paired with battery storage, driven by economic and environmental motives.

Estimates vary but last year it is believed around 17,000 storage systems were installed and the industry is on a trajectory that could reach one million by early 2020.