As residential energy storage systems using lithium-ion batteries have begun to proliferate, it’s natural that people would seek to better understand the safety features built into these systems. With this increasing focus on safety and recent headlines around the issue, it’s important for both users and regulators to have the information necessary to put individual reports into context.
Safety is something that manufactures like Sunverge have considered since the beginning. In fact, Sunverge was born out of decades long experience supplying into the North American utility industry. Our products are designed as “network grade” with safety and reliability at their core. As residential and commercial battery storage becomes widespread, Sunverge fully supports the definition and evolution of a set of safety standards to guide existing players and new entrants in this important energy market.
At the same time, safety standards should be based on data and testing, which is what we believe should be the case for guidelines being drafted by Standards Australia.
As proposed, storage units in Australia would be permitted only in separate external enclosures, not in homes or garages. In spite of the fact that there are no current proposed rules concerning the parking of Electric Vehicles powered by lithium-ion batteries in garages.
We understand the concerns and that customers demand and deserve assurances of safety. That’s why Sunverge engaged in extensive fire safety testing last September, conducted as part of the effort by the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) to develop standards for storage installations indoors in homes in the city.
The results showed that our systems excelled when exposed to the most extreme conditions – in fact, the report concluded the overall design of the Sunverge One (formerly the Sunverge Solar Integration System) “appears to contain or isolate” the potential hazards of advanced lithium batteries. In addition, the report indicated the Sunverge One “demonstrated that a properly designed system may be highly manageable and does not pose additional undue risk to first responders or surrounding properties during extreme fire conditions”.
At the same time, we’ve designed our systems to be installed and operated safely both inside and outside buildings, securely mounted typically mounted on a seismic pad and in a robust containment system, so consumers can choose what’s best for them, whether for convenience of location or any other reason.
Similar concerns were raised in the past concerning, for example, the installation of diesel generators by homeowners. As standards bodies looked at the data from tests and the efforts of manufacturers to put safety at the forefront, they were able to create fact-based guidelines that have served consumers well.
Finally, as Australia looks for guidance, we are ready to help. The Sunverge One meets or exceeds all applicable industry and independent standards (including AS, IEC, UL, ANSI, IEEE, NFPA, ACMA and FCC). Our systems analyze more than 800 data points every 15 seconds and automatically adjusts to ideal parameters. The batteries we use in our hardware have an outstanding track record for safety having been originally developed foe marine and defense applications. So we stand behind the safety of our products. In fact, several Sunverge employees and partners have Sunverge units installed at their homes. We are pleased to share our knowledge and experience with Standards Australia.
Phil Keogan, General Manager, Sunverge Energy APAC