Best Practice Guide: Battery Storage Equipment

The Best Practice Guide: Battery Storage Equipment – Electrical Safety Requirements (the guide) and the associated Battery Storage Equipment – Risk Matrix have been developed by industry, for industry. This best practice guide has been developed by industry associations involved in renewable energy battery storage equipment, with input from energy network operators, private certification bodies, and other independent stakeholder groups and individuals, as well as consumer and electrical safety regulators.

Best Practice Guide: Battery Storage Equipment Electrical Safety Requirements

The latest version of the guide – Version Final 1.0 Published 06/07/2018 is available here.

Download Guide

The latest version of the Battery Storage Equipment Risk Matrix is available here.

Download Risk Matrix

The guide is intended to provide a minimum level of electrical safety criteria that could be applied to lithium-based battery energy storage equipment and is the result of extensive collaboration from system manufacturers, certifiers, safety regulators and industry bodies.

Products that meet this guide show a consistent level of safety and should give customers confidence that these products can be safely installed and operated in or outside their house. Devices that comply with this guide will have protection against many hazards that may occur during normal or abnormal operation of this equipment.

The guide applies to lithium-based battery storage equipment and includes suggested safety requirements for:

  • Battery module (BM) is one or more cells linked together. May also have incorporated electronics for monitoring, charge management and/or protection. Battery modules are installed within pre-assembled battery system equipment or pre-assembled integrated battery energy storage system equipment or as part of a master/slave configuration of such equipment.

  • Pre-assembled battery system (BS) is a system comprising one or more cells, modules or battery system, and auxiliary supporting equipment such as a battery management system and protective devices and any other required components as determined by the equipment manufacturer. A BS system does not include a Power Conditioning Equipment (PCE). Pre-assembled battery system equipment comes in a dedicated enclosure. The equipment is a complete package for connection to a dc bus or dc input of a PCE.

  • Pre-assembled integrated battery energy storage system (BESS) is a battery energy storage system manufactured as a complete integrated package with the PCE, one or more cells, modules or battery system, protection devices, power conditioning equipment and any other required components as determined by the equipment manufacturer. Pre-assembled integrated battery energy storage system equipment is supplied in a dedicated enclosure. Integrated battery energy storage system equipment is a complete package that has ac output for connection to the electrical installation.

This guide covers battery storage equipment with a rated capacity of equal to or greater than 1kWh and up to and including 200kWh of energy storage capacity when measured at 0.1C.

Products can comply with this guide by one of four mandatory methods that are detailed in the guide. Each method has different primary and secondary safety standards as well as additional requirements that equipment must meet to be compliant.

Optional criteria for manufacturers and importers to show that they have processes and procedures in place that are over and above the current minimum requirements are also provided. This will help manufacturers and importers differentiate themselves from the competition and continue to improve the safety standards within the industry.

The guide will be reviewed on a regular basis to determine on-going suitability and relevance.

Users of the guide should ensure they have the latest version of the guide to reference.

If you have questions about the guide, contact your industry association.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the guide mandatory?

No, the Guide is voluntary, for use by anyone in the supply chain of battery storage equipment. It is not referred to in any legislation as a mandatory requirement however, both electrical safety legislation and Australian Consumer Law requires electrical equipment to be safe and fit for purpose. The Guide will assist those designing, manufacturing, importing, supplying or installing battery storage equipment in meeting Australian legislative requirements.

The Guide lists a minimum level of electrical safety that industry experts accept as suitable with the known risks and issues addressed at this point in time. It aims to provide a consistent approach to applying safety criteria to ensure confidence in comparing the safety of different battery products.

Who can use the guide?

The guide may be used by various industry programs for supply or listings on association sites. It may be used by purchasers to specify a minimum requirement for the battery storage systems they wish to purchase.

The guide could be used as a reference or referred to by:

  • manufacturers
  • importers
  • test facilities
  • certifiers
  • wholesalers
  • retailers
  • installers
  • organisations listing battery systems
  • end consumers
  • government agencies.

Users of the guide that claim compliance with the guide are expected to have enough technical understanding and competence to apply the criteria of the guide or have access to suitably competent persons to do so.

Does the guide cost anything?

No. The guide is free to download and can be used by anyone.

Any costs to comply with the guide requirements are the responsibility of the user claiming compliance with the guide.

Certifiers, test facilities, independent suitably competent persons and listing bodies may charge a fee for their services in assessing battery storage equipment as compliant to the guide.

How will the guide be policed?

The guide will be policed under Australian Consumer Law if false or misleading claims of compliance to the Guide are made. Any claims of compliance that are found to be false may result in action by regulatory agencies due to misleading claims or issues of non-compliance to electrical safety legislative requirements or non-conforming goods legislative requirements.

Actions may also be taken by certifiers, test facilities or listing bodies if the battery storage equipment does not comply with the requirements they certified/tested/listed the equipment to.

There may also be commercial or civil action taken if a person makes a false claim and that is relied upon in the decision making or has been specified in contracts.

How often is the guide updated?

The guide will be updated as needed, based on feedback, changes in technology and other criteria. It is expected the guide will be reviewed and updates considered every 12 months.

Can I use safety standards not listed in the guide?

The guide specifies four methods. Three methods reference safety standards reviewed to fit the criteria of the risk matrix. Method four of the guide allows for use of safety standards other than those listed in the first three methods, therefore this method can be used for other safety standards.

The preferred safety standards to use are those listed in the first three methods, noting that updated versions of those standards as listed in the Guide can also be used (and it is preferred to use the latest version or amendments of any listed standard in the guide).

Why does the guide only cover lithium batteries?

It was identified lithium-based technology was the predominant technology being used for household battery storage equipment, and had specific risks to be addressed. At the time of development of the guide there were many standards and risk assessment processes that could have been applied to the technology. 

Will it cover other storage technology?

The guide and risk matrix have been developed based on assessment of lithium technology. Both may be used as tools to get an indication of general risks any battery storage equipment could face. However, the person/company applying the content of the risk matrix should conduct appropriate risk assessment processes to ensure risks associated with their equipment are adequately addressed.

Does the guide cover installation of battery storage equipment?

No, the guide only covers electrical safety criteria for the battery storage equipment. The guide does not cover the installation of the battery storage equipment. Installation safety issues need to be considered separately and reference relevant installation safety standards (such as AS/NZS 3000 and AS/NZS 5139 when published), industry codes and manufacturers’ instructions.

Can the guide be used for batteries outside the scope? (i.e. not household type or larger capacity than that listed in the scope)

The guide has been specifically developed to address household battery storage equipment to be used in conjunction with the development of an Australian safety standard for installation of battery storage equipment (AS/NZS 5139 when published).

The guide and the risk matrix may be used as an indication of requirements for battery storage equipment used outside household situations or for equipment with higher storage capacities. However, the person/company conducting such assessment should conduct appropriate risk assessment processes to ensure risks associated with their equipment are adequately addressed.

What do I do if I have an issue with the guide?

Contact your industry association to discuss the issue. They may then submit the question to the industry working group, who developed the guide, for clarification.