UL Solutions Launches New Testing Protocol for Residential Battery Energy Storage Systems

UL Solutions recently announced a new testing protocol that addresses fire service organizations’ demand for improved evaluations of battery energy storage systems for residential use.

Residential battery energy storage systems (BESS), typically paired with rooftop solar installations and, in some cases, wind turbines, allow homeowners to store excess solar or wind energy for use at any time, even when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. A residential BESS system can protect users from power outages and grid fluctuations that can impact power supplies. A BESS system can also save costs by allowing users to harness energy that is already generated and stored.

Battery storage is a key enabler of the energy transition, and home battery storage is a key part of it. Rising energy prices, increased risk of power outages, and government incentives are driving interest in home energy storage systems. The home energy storage market is expected to witness significant growth, valued at an estimated USD 898 million in 2023 and forecasted to exceed USD 2 billion by 20281.

The recently published UL 9540B Investigation Framework for Large-Scale Fire Testing of Residential Battery Energy Storage Systems includes a test protocol with a robust ignition scenario and improved acceptance criteria for battery energy storage systems in residential environments. The latest test method addresses the behavior of fire propagation in battery energy storage systems if a thermal propagation event leading to an internal fire occurs during the life of the system.

Since battery energy storage systems were first deployed a decade ago, UL Solutions has been at the forefront of addressing the associated fire safety concerns by working with fire protection and battery experts, OEMs, code authorities, and other key stakeholders to improve test methods for assessing the spread of thermally runaway fires in BESSs. UL 9540, Standard for Energy Storage Systems and Equipment, and UL 9540A, Standard for Test Method for Evaluating the Spread of Thermally Runaway Fires in Battery Energy Storage Systems, were developed to address the safety and evaluation of the behavior of thermally runaway fires in energy storage systems. UL 9540B evaluates the behavior of fire spread in residential BESSs and works in concert with UL 9540 and UL 9540A to provide a comprehensive approach to safety and fire behavior.

The UL 9540B test is not intended to be used in lieu of the UL 9540A fire propagation test to determine compliance with BESS installation codes and standards such as IFC and NFPA 855. Instead, this test sequence can generate extensive fire data for fire officials to assist them in evaluating residential BESS installations.

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