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Red tape risks killing off home storage industry

The Clean Energy Council is working hard to change proposed new standards for home energy storage, which could stop the promising industry in its tracks before it gets going.

Standards Australia has released a draft standard that would require some home storage units to be installed outside homes, which would add additional expense to install them for no benefit.

The Clean Energy Council believes significant progress has been made on international standards since the Australian Standard was drafted and that there is a strong case for change.

The organisation has been actively working with electrical safety regulators, emergency services, government, industry and Standards Australia. At a recent Clean Energy Council workshop, safety regulators and industry representatives agreed to work together to develop an ‘industry guide’ on battery product safety standards.

Sandy Atkins, Clean Energy Council Executive General Manager of Installation Integrity, said housing home battery units outside is unnecessary and that the draft standard should be amended.

“As long as home energy storage units meet strong international standards and are installed by an accredited professional to clear guidelines, requiring units to be installed outside of a house is unnecessarily restrictive,” Mr Atkins said.

“The introduction of a mandatory accreditation scheme, such as the one which covers the solar power industry, will ensure consumers are protected. 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,” he said.

German storage company Sonnen told The Australian newspaper recently it has installed more than 30,000 units around the world without a single major incident.

Sonnen’s Technical Business Manager for Australian and New Zealand, James Sturch, described provisions in the draft standard as an “overreaction” and said Standards Australia was imposing restrictions based on experience with unrelated products such as hoverboards and power tools.

The Clean Energy Council has made a submission to Standards Australia on AS 5139, the draft standard for the installation of battery systems. It is available on our website.

Noted economist and Zen Energy Chair Ross Garnaut will present the keynote address at an upcoming event in Perth as part of the Energy Storage Leadership Series on Thursday 31 August. The event will explore engaging and protecting consumers, investing in storage, and the interaction of storage with the grid.