Solar battery market has existed in the mainstream since 2010. However, it started picking up traction from late 2016 due to the tumbling prices and higher grid costs. Battery-ready solar PV systems are already prevalent to cater to the homeowners who wish to future proof their investments. In addition, competitive pricings of brands like LG, GCL etc. are also beginning to resonate positively in the PV market. Most noteworthy, in the utility- and commercial grade projects, battery packs have already become synonymous with PV panels. Currently, another concept that is gaining widespread popularity is shared energy storage. A suburb in western Australia is all set to try such a community battery scheme.
Shared Energy Storage in Mandurah
The city council of Mandurah agreed to have test run of a community shared battery system that enables all households in the suburb to store and utilize energy from the shared battery. The battery is scheduled to be installed on a council approved land. The stakeholders can store their excess energy in the battery during day, and utilize it during night times. This trial also helps to study the community behavior and usage patterns associated with active energy sharing technologies. In WA, about 1.2GW of small-scale systems were installed last year – overtaking SA in the second phase of the year. Mandurah is a suburb with one of the highest solar uptakes in WA.
Energy Storage Standards
With increased product varieties, standardization and quality assurance also become increasingly significant. These will vary depending on the type of battery manufacture. Battery systems can be mainly classified into installer-assembled; pre-assembled (LG Chem, BYD etc) and; pre-assembled with inverter (Tesla Powerwall – 2, Enphase etc). Currently, CEC’s Battery Installation Guidelines for Accredited Installers (BIGAI) is used for the installer-assembled types. The IEC 62619:2017 has been adopted by Australia for the remaining two categories. Further refinements in battery standardization and best practices are on the horizon as we slowly transition to an increasing battery sales surge.