The Tesla Victorian big battery fire at Moorabool near Geelong in Victoria is another example of why smaller community-based neighbourhood batteries are a preferable way forward for making the energy supply more renewable. With smaller installations that are more spread out and serve the community in which they are based there is less likelihood of larger electricity supply interruptions when a large power supplier has issues and has to be taken off line for safety reasons.
The 300MW/450MWH capacity big battery comprised of Tesla batteries in multiple shipping containers was registered with AEMO on 28th July 2021. During testing on 30th July 2021 one cell failed and caught fire and quickly engulfed the container in which the batteries were housed. This then spread to another container which was also destroyed. Luckily fire fighters were able to keep other containers cool enough so that they didn’t also catch fire. The blaze was finally extinguished 4 days later. 150 firefighters and 30 fire trucks and support vehicles attended the fire along with many other multi-agency specialists.
It’s great to see the newest installation of the #SoNick batteries in Switzerland by Innovenergy.
This installation is a 540 kWh salt battery storage system and now stands in the basement of MIGROS Schlieren/ZH. The molten salt batteries are 620V SoNick batteries supplied by FZSoNick and inverters by Indrivetec.
The SoNick batteries are charged with a large 806 KW solar PV system.
The purpose of the large-scale project is to save energy costs by optimising self-consumption. The other benefit is to maximise peak shaving which ensures the supermarket doesn’t have a lot of intermittent high energy draws which would increase energy bills substantially.
With many households already having solar PV installations many people are now looking at energy storage systems to upgrade their home energy supply.
One of the most common questions is what battery is best for my needs. There is a lack of knowledge and a great amount of misinformation in the battery storage industry. It is critical to do your own homework and not just believe what salesman / installers are telling you as they are often restrained in their knowledge by the battery brand they are trying to sell.
In an effort to compare battery technologies a company called ITP renewables, in Canberra, set up a battery test site, https://batterytestcentre.com.au/ to conduct longitudinal performance testing of conventional and emerging battery technologies. This is an Arena funded testing facility set up to independently test and compare different battery technologies under Australian conditions for both performance and longevity for a 3 year period. This testing centre was first set up with Phase 1 in 2016 then phase 2 started in 2017. Originally it was for lithium-ion batteries only but now includes other technologies.
The SoNick battery is included in round 3 which started in 2019 and to date showing excellent results. 10 Previous 6 monthly reports are available from the test centre and can be download.at http://batterytestcentre.com.au/reports/
Windy winter weather tends to bring trees down on power lines, cutting off your power supply as many people in Victoria have discovered recently. Many people in Gippsland and the Dandenongs are still without power a week after the storm that raged across Victoria on 9th June.
For many people the need to protect themselves from power outages is becoming a more and more common occurrence and it is not unusual for it to take days for the power to be reconnected, particularly if you are not on a main line and other lines take priority.
With the installation of energy
storage systems most people look at the battery and concentrate on that but in
reality the battery inverter is an integral part of any energy storage system
and will dictate much of the energy storage systems operations.
Often when an energy storage
system isn’t working properly the fault lies with the inverter and not the
Inverter power is measured in kVA or volt amps.
The battery inverter takes power
from the solar PV array (solar inverter or MPPT) and battery which can be of
different voltages and converts it to 240V for household of business use.
Solar inverters are designed to
work with solar PV arrays and battery inverters are designed to work with
energy storage batteries. Hybrid inverters are also coming onto the market that
combine both solar PV and battery conversions.
More and more people are recognising that one of the major
issues with energy storage batteries are the dangers with fires and explosions
particularly associated with thermal runaway (self-sustaining fires). This has
become particularly relevant as people are considering installing the many
lithium ion battery technologies in their houses or businesses and are becoming
aware of the possibility of the dangers associated with this.
Standards Australia has been working on new installation
standards “AS-NZ 5139_2019” which will try and address this issue but there is
still a lot of discussion around whether the new installation restrictions are
too strict or are really looking at individual battery characteristics
correctly and fairly.
International Standard “UL9540A” has been developed to independently examine Fire Risk with Battery Cells and Evaluate Thermal Runaway Fire Propagation in Battery Energy Storage Systems.
Most people that are looking at installing an energy storage system (battery and battery inverter) don’t realise that every installation is different and there is no one size fits all. Installations are very dependent on whether there is already solar PV in place and the current electrical wiring situation at the premises.
With solar PV installations as long as you have suitable
roof space you can install a system and the questions that need deciding are
finding a reliable supplier / installer, working out the size of the PV system
needed according to electricity usage and roof space and the size of the
With an energy storage system it is much more complicated. Among the considerations are;
The medical centre was to be refurbished and part of the upgrade was to install a PV system with battery storage. The difficulty was allocating the space for battery storage that was safe for patients as well as staff. As is usual in a medical centre space is a premium and is used for medical related purposes as a priority.