Positive change has arrived for the battery storage sector with the recent publication of a new electrical installations standard AS/NZS 5139:2019 Electrical installations – Safety of battery systems for use with power conversion equipment.
In recognition of the need for an installation standard for battery storage devices in Australia, Standards Australia worked with industry, government and the broader community, to develop a standard to support the home battery storage industry and safety of the consumer.
“A project of this complexity would not have been possible without the support of industry representatives, government and regulators, consumer representatives and technical experts,” said Standards Australia’s Head of Stakeholder Engagement, Daniel Chidgey.
“Given there has never been an Australian standard for this new technology, developing this guidance has been a huge task and is a testament to the dedication of those involved.”
Energetic collaboration and comment
Ensuring the views of the general public and those affected by standards are considered and heard is an important part of the standard development process.
The public comment stage in the drafting of the battery storage standard allowed the broader community to review the content and direction of the draft standard prior to its completion.
In 2017, when the draft standard was released for public comment, Standards Australia received around 3000 submissions. Many of the submissions were related to how systems should be installed in a residential context.
Standards Australia worked with the committee responsible for the standard, EL-042, Renewable Energy Power Supply Systems and Equipment, to ensure all comments were considered in detail and, where necessary, further drafting was undertaken.
Due to the extent of the change and complexity of the work, the standard was issued for a second-round of public comment.
Charged for change
AS/NZS 5139:2019 went to ballot and reached consensus in July of this year. While consensus was reached by the committee, differing views were put forward and considered along the way.
“Although there were alternate technical positions raised throughout the process, this is a normal step in any consensus project,” said Sandy Atkins, from Standards Australia’s EL-042 Technical Committee.
The standard was published in mid-October and has been developed for use by manufacturers, system integrators, designers and installers of battery energy storage systems.
The publication is an important step for the industry with a consistent set of guidelines now available.
It intends to set out the requirements for the safety and installation of battery systems connected to power conversion equipment for the supply of AC and DC power.
“The standard now makes it easier for the installer to know what requirements are necessary for the type of system they are installing,” said Mr Atkins. “Throughout the process the aim of the committee was to reach an effective and coordinated approach.
“This standard achieves a lot for the sector by applying a risk-based process to ensure appropriate installation methods are applied depending on the hazards that are identified.”
It is important that installers of battery storage technologies can do so in a safe, repeatable and certifiable manner, making this publication a critical addition to the industry.
“Standards are detailed, technical documents which address safety and efficiency challenges in heavily regulated sectors,” said Mr Chidgey.
“This standard aims to ensure battery systems are safe, consistent, and reliable for the benefit of the Australian community.
“The development process called for consideration of available information, safety objectives and the growth of new technology in complex areas. We are proud to have helped drive this key improvement for the sector.”
The publication of this standard is the beginning of continued work across the sector. Standards Australia is committed to working with stakeholders and industry to provide guidelines to help ensure the safety of communities across Australia.
“The work on battery storage standards in Australia will continue, and with this being a new standard, it is expected there will be future refinement as the industry evolves,” said Mr Chidgey.
Proposals for new standards or changes to standards can be submitted at any time.
For further information, please contact Standards Australia by email at [email protected]