This report describes the process of procuring and installing the Phase 2 battery packs and outlines preliminary testing results and general observations or issues encountered thus far with the Phase 1 batteries.
ITP Renewables (ITP) are testing the performance of residential or small commercial-scale battery packs in a purpose-built climate-controlled enclosure at the Canberra Institute of Technology.
The aim of the testing is to independently verify battery performance against manufacturers’ claims. Specifically, ITP is investigating capacity fade and round-trip efficiency of fourteen lithiumion battery packs, one conventional lead-acid battery, one advanced lead-acid battery, one salt water battery and one zinc bromide flow battery.
Six lithium-ion, one conventional lead-acid, and one advanced lead-acid battery packs were installed during Phase 1 of the trial. The trial was subsequently expanded to include an additional eight lithium-ion packs, a zinc bromide flow battery, and a saltwater battery bank.
This report describes the process of procuring and installing the Phase 2 battery packs, and outlines preliminary testing results and general observations or issues encountered thus far with the Phase 1 batteries.
The key findings of the trial so far are predominantly related to the procurement, installation and technology performance as there is still limited conclusive evidence to detail battery capacity fade results.
Battery supply and installation issues continue to hamper the progress of the battery market as a whole. The battery market in Australia has been characterised by instability over the past year with a number of manufacturers either exiting the market or substantially changing their product offerings. This instability contributes to issues with supply as well as integration and commissioning problems. Technical support and system documentation has generally been poor with limited resources available in Australia for installers to troubleshoot problems. A number of products required firmware updates after deployment or a specialised service technician to attend site, which is unrealistic for large numbers of domestic or commercial installations, and generally indicative of a lack of product testing and development prior to release.
Integration of batteries with inverters continues to be problematic for battery products generally, with the communications interface being the most common challenge encountered. There is still no standardised approach to battery-inverter communications. ITP expects installation and commissioning issues to remain common until communications interface protocols are standardised.
Results from the Phase 1 testing indicate that capacity fade is continuing and that typically lithium ion batteries demonstrate both higher efficiency than the alternative technologies and (when they are correctly integrated with an inverter) more consistent performance.