Standards Australia likely to dump proposed ‘battery bunker’ requirement

A controversial battery storage installation guideline that threatened to ban lithium-ion battery systems from being put in Australian homes or garages, looks likely to be dumped by Standards Australia, after a round-table meeting on the matter last week.

The meeting comes after an extended period of uncertainty for Australia’s residential battery storage industry, following the introduction of a draft guideline, known as AS/NZS 5139, that suggested lithium-ion battery storage could only be installed in free-standing “kiosks”, due to safety risks.

In a media release on Monday, 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 is 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.”

That new path appears to involve shifting the responsibility for product safety from installers to battery manufacturers, as is the standard adhered to in most relevant international markets.

The Clean Energy Council, which attended the meeting, said it was right step towards a sensible standard that adhered to appropriate international standards.

“While consumer safety is paramount for the industry, such requirements are unnecessary if battery units meet appropriate international product standards and are installed by an accredited installer,” said CEC executive general manager of installation integrity, Sandy Atkins.

“The pathway outlined by Standards Australia will shift the primary responsibility for product safety on to the product manufacturers instead of installers. This is a positive change as the alternative would ultimately result in higher costs to consumers.”

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